With its spectacular location on the San Joaquin River, Antioch is one of Contra Costa County's most scenic cities. Located an easy one-hour drive from San Francisco, it's great for a day trip, a weekend, or even something longer. Packed with museums, parks, shops, galleries, great restaurants, and even better bars, it offers a little something for everyone. If you're planning a visit, be sure to check out these 20 best things to do in Antioch, CA.
20. Enjoy a cocktail at Mac’s Old House
Antioch isn't short on bars, but if you're looking to enjoy one of the best cocktails in town, head for Mac’s Old House. This old-school roadhouse is something of a local institution, having been serving customers for almost 100 years. On top of the great cocktails, it also dishes up some of the best food in town - although you can't really go wrong with anything on the menu, the prime ribs come particularly highly recommended.
19. Take a boat trip
Considering Antioch's waterside location, it'd be remiss to visit without taking at least one trip out on the water. Numerous companies offer boat trips from the port, but one of the best is Delta Discovery Cruises. Once you're safely onboard, you'll be treated to a trip around the harbor to enjoy lovely views over the marina and city. Cruises are offered year-round but be warned - even on sunny days it can get chilly on the water, so be sure to layer up.
18. Enjoy a game of golf at Lone Tree Golf Course
If you cant imagine a vacation without at least one round of golf, you're in luck. Antioch is served by several golf courses, including the excellent Lone Tree Golf Course. Established in 1934, the 18 hole, par-72 public course is ideal for all skills levels, from beginners to pros. The greens are immaculately maintained, while the range of facilities on offer (which includes a driving range, a golf pro shop, beverage cart services, and a grille restaurant) is hard to beat. The course also offers weekly events and programs to get involved with, including Couple Golf Night, Senior Men’s Group, and Ladies Group.
17. Enjoy a meal at Cocina Medina
If you're looking for one of the best places in the city to enjoy a meal, look no further than Cocina Medina, a Mexican hacienda-style restaurant that delivers some of the finest Mexican dishes this side of the border. All food is made to order using only the freshest local ingredients. The menu is crammed with tasty eats, from shredded chicken quesadilla and carnitas pork burrito to grilled steak and shrimp fajitas. Wash it all down with a glass or two of imported Mexican beer and you'll leave one very happy customer.
16. Tour the Antioch Historical Museum
According to its official website, the Antioch Historical Society’s goal is to preserve, protect, and showcase the history of Antioch. Considering just how fascinating the Antioch Historical Museum is, we'd say they'd achieved their mission pretty well. An intriguing place to visit for all ages, it's home to a huge collection of period memorabilia and antiques, photographs, documents, local stories, and other historic artifacts that chronicle the history and development of the city. The museum is housed in what was once the first high school in Contra Costa County - it's just as fascinating as the exhibits themselves, so be sure to check out the lovely architectural details while you're there.
15. Cool off at Prewett Water Park
As The Crazy Tourist says, on a hot day in Antioch, there's no better place to cool off than the Prewett Water Park. The park has been a firm favorite with Antioch residents since 1966, and promises hours of aquatic fun for visitors. As well as boasting five different pools, the park also houses a huge assortment of thrilling slides, inflatables, and climbing structures to enjoy. Once you're ready to hit dry land, cap off your day with a visit to the adjoining skate park.
14. Explore Antioch Dunes Wildlife Reserve
If you want to escape the city and enjoy a day in nature, head for Antioch Dunes Wildlife Reserve. Located just outside Antioch on the southern shore of the San Joaquin River, the reserve's sand dune habitat is home to hundreds of different varieties of flora and fauna, including numerous indigenous butterflies and three endangered species of plants and insects. Although it's generally closed to the public, tours can be arranged. It also holds regular special events and activities -check out their official website for details.
13. Shop for fresh produce at Somersville Towne Center Farmers Market
If you're in Antioch between spring and fall, don't miss the chance to shop at Somersville Towne Center Farmers Market. Located at the Somersville Towne Center shopping mall, it features dozens of vendors and some of the best local produce in the area. Contra Costa County is famous for its agriculture; here, you'll discover why. Stock up on fruits, veggies, breads, cheeses, meats, fresh flowers, or even pick up a few handmade crafts as a memento. All of the produce is certified and checked to ensure it's grown directly by local suppliers, so you can be sure that whatever you fill your shopping bag with, it'll be fresher and more delicious than anything you'll find elsewhere.
12. Take the kids to Antioch Kangazoom
If your kids are getting tired of being dragged around museums and art galleries, take the advice of Trip 101 and treat them to a day at Antioch Kangazoom. With a batting cage, bounce house, mini-golf, and a huge array of amusement rides, it's guaranteed to put a smile on their face. There's a concession stand to take care of all your snacking needs, and plenty of places to throw down a blanket and enjoy a picnic. For a special occasion, you can even book the entire place for a private party.
11. Experience island living at Sherman Island
Despite its proximity to Antioch, Sherman Island feels like a different world. Laid back, deeply relaxing, and home to incredibly picturesque scenery, it's ideal for visitors who want to escape the city and enjoy a day in nature. As well as exploring the wetlands, you can try out some water sports on the lovely Sherman Lake. The island is easily accessed via the Antioch Bridge.
10. Meet the wildlife at Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve
With its scenic location on the San Joaquin River, the Dow Wetlands Wildlife Habitat Preserve makes a lovely destination for the whole family. Established in 1989, the 470-acre preserve provides a home to over 120 species of indigenous wildlife, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. On top of the wildlife spotting, it's also a lovely place to hike, with an extensive network of trails that's begging to be explored. While you're there, don't miss checking out the 30-acre beaver pond.
9. Watch a race at Antioch Speedway
If you're an adrenaline junky with a love for fast cars, don't miss the Antioch Speedway. Take a seat and watch the cars race around the oval dirt track in a bid to be the first past the finishing line. As the speedway runs under the All-Stars Racing Series, you'll get to see a huge range of limited editions, late models, A and B modified, and hobby stocks. Trip Advisor reviewers have named it as one of the best attractions in Antioch - if you love everything fast-paced and thrilling, you won't disagree.
8. Check out the exhibits at Lynn House Municipal Art Gallery
If you like art, don't miss the chance to visit the Lynn House Municipal Art Gallery. Conceived as a project to provide opportunities for local artists, it displays a vast range of art works from both up and coming and established local artists, spanning any number of different styles and periods. If you want to learn a little more about Antioch's creative side, this is the place to do it. The exhibits are changed regularly, so no matter how often you visit, there's always something new to discover.
7. Visit Contra Loma Regional Park
If you're in the mood for some outdoor recreation, the Contra Loma Regional Park has your name written all over it. Spanning over 780 acres, the park offers multiple opportunities for outdoor adventure. Along with the hiking, mountain biking, and camping opportunities, there's also the chance to splash around the swimming lagoon on its 80-acre reservoir. A hugely popular destination for visitors and locals alike, the lagoon offers numerous facilities, including a boat launch, swim lessons, active lifeguards, and a large sandy beach to relax on. If you're a keen fisher, bring your rod - the reservoir is teeming with catfish, trout, and bass.
6. Stroll along the San Joaquin River
You don't have to venture out of the city to enjoy a pleasant stroll. The San Joaquin River is not only the longest river in Central California, but it's also one of the prettiest. A stroll along its historic banks is almost guaranteed to lift your spirits. If it doesn't, jump on a boat tour along the river instead. You could even try a spot of fishing if you remembered to bring your rod.
5. Tour the Black Diamond Coal Mines
Named as one of the best places to visit in Antioch by Vacation Idea, the Black Diamond Coal Mines is a must-visit. Consisting of former coal and sand mines and the relics of three mining towns, visitors are invited to take a step into the past and gain an intriguing insight into the mining traditions of the city. As well as touring the ruins, you can enjoy the various outdoor activities on offer, including exploring the sixty miles of trails, swimming, wildlife spotting (just a few of the critters you can expect to see include golden eagles, mountain lions, and foxes), and picnicking.
4. Hike the Montezuma Hills
If you want to give your legs a workout and enjoy some great views while you do it, head for the Montezuma Hills. Located just a little to the north of Antioch across the Sacramento River, the hills offer dozens of excellent hiking trails, together with plenty of birding opportunities. While you're there, be sure to check out the Shiloh Wind Power Plant wind turbines, which make a great backdrop for a photograph. It's also worth making time to visit the tigers and lions at Wildlife Companions, a non-profit organization that provides a home to former zoo and show animals.
3. Put on your skates at Paradise Skate Roller Rink
If you're looking for a fun destination that all the family can enjoy, you'll struggle to find better than the Paradise Skate Roller Rink. There's disco lights, music, and the opportunity to enjoy some got old-fashioned fun on the ring. Even kids who normally have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from their screens are guaranteed to have a blast. As well as the ring, there's an arcade of classic and modern video games to enjoy, along with a snack bar for light bites and beverages.
2. Enjoy a show at Antioch El Campanil
If you take a stroll along Antioch’s downtown waterfront, you won't be able to miss El Campanil. The iconic theatre first opened its doors in 1928, and it's been entertaining generations of Antioch residents ever since. Back in the day, it attracted some of the biggest names in the business, including Debbie Reynolds and The Three Stooges. It's still drawing them now, guaranteeing that whatever day you visit, you'll be in for an evening of first-class entertainment. In addition to live theater, it also hosts concerts, ballet performances, comedy shows, film festivals, and more besides.
1. Visit the Mangini Museum Agricultural Museum
If you want to learn a little more about Antioch's agricultural past, Mangini Museum Agricultural Museum is the place to do it. One part museum and one part farm, it's been taking visitors back in time to discover Antioch's historic farming traditions since it opened in 1998. Take a class in the old schoolroom to discover more about food nutrition and the ancient philosophy of living off the land, enjoy a stroll through the lush grounds, say hello to the animals, check out the period agricultural equipment on display... the opportunities are endless.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn