Martinez



Hiking on Mount Wanda at John Muir National Historic Site

Martinez is in the outer East Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Martinez has easy access to nature, so it's no wonder the famed naturalist John Muir decided to settle here.

Get in

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By train

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See also: Rail travel in the United States

By bus/BART

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Martinez is connected by County Connection buses to the town of Concord, as well as the North Concord/Martinez BART Station, Pleasant Hill BART Station, and Walnut Creek BART Station. Bus 16 is free, and buses 16 and 98X both go by John Muir National Historic Site.

By car

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Accessible by Highway 4 and Interstate 680.

By plane

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The nearest airport is Buchanan Field in Concord (small aircraft). The closest major airport is Oakland International (OAK IATA). Note that San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA) is the terminus of the BART line that serves the North Concord/Martinez Station.

Get around

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Map
Map of Martinez (California)

Downtown Martinez is very walkable, and some other attractions, including the John Muir historic site, can be reached by County Connection bus service (+1 925 676-7500). Some of the nature in Martinez is easy to get to without a car, including Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline, and Mount Wanda.

See

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  • 1 Contra Costa County History Center, 724 Escobar St, +1 925-229-1042.
  • 2 John Muir National Historic Site, 4202 Alhambra Ave (Located just north of highway 4 on Alhambra Ave; take the free County Connection bus 16 from downtown, the Amtrak station, or Concord BART), +1 925 228-8860. 10AM–5PM daily. This site includes a mansion, woodland, and grassland once belonging to John Muir and his family. Muir was known as an early environmentalist who founded the Sierra Club. The house, which has three stories plus a cupola, is full of exhibits about the lives of Muir and his family. If you enjoy being in nature, it's hard not to appreciate Muir's passion for trees, glaciers, and mountains, as well as his seminal accomplishments in protecting American wilderness. The historic site presents a nuanced, warts-and-all picture of Muir as a person. The grounds include his orchards, and if you come at the right time of year you might be able to try fruit from them. There is also an interesting adobe structure on site. In the spirit of Muir's legacy, you can combine your visit to the historic site with nearby Mount Wanda, where he and his family used to hike. Free. John Muir National Historic Site (Q1701162) on Wikidata John Muir National Historic Site on Wikipedia
  • 3 Martinez Museum, 1005 Escobar St, +1 925 228-8160. Tu Th 11:30AM-3PM; First four Sundays 1PM-4PM. Includes exhibits on John Muir, Don Ignacio Martinez, Joe Di Maggio (another Martinez native), the Port Chicago disaster, and general history of the town, as well as a gift shop and information on tours, including a cemetery tour!
  • 4 Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, +1 925 228-8860 ext 6520 (reservations). Tours available Th-Sa at 12:45PM (allow 1.5 hours). Not all dates and times may be available. No public access Su-We. This memorial honors 320 people (including 200 young African American men) who were killed in a munitions accident during World War II while loading munitions and bombs onto ships bound for the Pacific Rim. Following the explosion many of the enlisted men refused to work, resulting in the Navy's largest mutiny trial and eventually helping to push the US Armed Forces to desegregate. The memorial is located on an active military base and as a result reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance and all visitors must be US citizens or permanent residents. Reservations can be made by calling or via an online reservation form. The memorial is actually located in Concord, but all visitors are shuttled to the memorial from John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez. Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial (Q7230541) on Wikidata Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial on Wikipedia

Do

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Mount Wanda, with Mount Diablo in the distance
Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline
  • Briones Regional Park, +1 510 562. A beautiful 5,756-acre park covered in grassy hills and shady Oak trees. The park is south of Highway 4 off Reliez Valley Rd. Briones is a hikers paradise in the heart of the busy San Francisco Bay Area. East Bay Regional Park District Headquarters-PARK, group picnic reservations +1 510 636-1684, group camping reservations +1 510 636-1684. The park is open 8AM-10PM $5 per vehicle when the kiosk is attended.
  • 1 Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline, toll-free: +1-888-327-2757. 5AM - 10PM. Located immediately to the northwest of the John Muir NHS and extending to the Carquinez Strait, the ridgelines of this park offer extensive views of Mt. Diablo and the cities at its base, the Sacramento River Delta, the Mothball Fleet, Mt. Tamalpais and Mt. St. Helena. On clear winter days the snow-capped Sierras may be seen. Wild turkeys, hawks, deer, and other wildlife call the park home. In the spring cows are allowed to graze on the grassy hills. The park hosts a segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Great for a short day hike (1 to 5 miles / 2 to 8 km). Free. Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline (Q5045949) on Wikidata Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline on Wikipedia
  • Hidden Lakes Park (Morello Ave at Chilpancingo Pkwy). This park has everything from rope swings to hills and even cool wildlife. There are also trails to Hidden Valley Park.
  • Martinez Skatepark, North Court Street. A free 10,000-foot skatepark for skateboarders and roller bladers.
  • Martinez Marina. Features trails, a marsh, a pond, two playgrounds and a fishing pier. Located in downtown Martinez near Ferry Street and the Amtrak station. Bicycling is allowed on the trails. Dogs are allowed in some areas of the park but not near the ducks and pond.
  • 2 Mount Wanda, Alhambra Ave and Franklin Canyon Rd (take County Connection bus 16). Sunrise to sunset. The hills behind John Muir's orchards, where the family used to take nature walks, are open for hiking. Two peaks were named after Muir's daughters, Wanda and Helen; Mount Wanda is the main one at 650 feet (200 meters). The fastest trail to the peak is almost all uphill with little tree cover, but the hard work is rewarded with lovely views of wild rolling hills, Benicia across the water, and Mount Diablo in the distance. A side route called the "nature trail" has more trees and variety in the landscape. Expect about 40 minutes to get to the peak if you're a strong hiker. The hills are managed by the National Park Service together with the John Muir historic site and make a fitting addition to a visit to the naturalist's house and orchards. You can reach the trailhead almost directly from the orchards: exit the historic site to the west, then turn left. Free.
  • 3 Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (close to downtown, just north of the train tracks). Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (RMRS) is a regional park on the shoreline of Carquinez Strait. This wetland area, inhabited by lots of birds and other wildlife, contains approximately three miles (5 km) of trails through marshland and along the shoreline. The park's eastern half is managed by the city of Martinez and offers group picnic areas, baseball fields, bocce ball courts and soccer fields. The western half contains open lawns, small family picnic areas, and ponds and creeks. Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (Q6777122) on Wikidata Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline on Wikipedia
  • 4 Walk Across the Martinez-Benicia Bridge. A 2.2-mile pedestrian and bicycle path across the bridge to Benicia, part of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Free. Benicia–Martinez Bridge (Q817292) on Wikidata Benicia–Martinez Bridge on Wikipedia
  • 5 Waterbird Regional Preserve. Waterbird Regional Preserve is a 192 acres (0.78 km2) regional park located in Contra Costa County adjacent to the city of Martinez. It is part of the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). It primarily consists of an area known as McNabney Marsh, which provides habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and shorebirds for resting and feeding. Activities in the park include birdwatching and hiking, although trails are mostly limited to upload areas. Dogs are not permitted in the preserve. Waterbird Regional Preserve (Q7973889) on Wikidata Waterbird Regional Preserve on Wikipedia

Events

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  • Martinez Beaver Festival: held annually in June. In the fall of 2006, two beavers made their way up Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez and decided to call it home, proceeding to produce 4 kits over the course of the summer. The beaver have transformed Alhambra Creek from a trickle into multiple dams and beaver ponds, which in turn, led to the return of steelhead trout and river otter in 2008, and mink in 2009. Rumor has it the beavers have since moved away, but their legacy remains in the form of Martinez's annual beaver festival.

Buy

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Eat

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American

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Chinese

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Italian

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  • Mangia Bene, 1170 Arnold Dr, +1 925 228-9123. In a strip mall off of Morello Ave. Advertised as "The Best Kept Secret in Martinez."

Japanese

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  • Hanabi Sushi, 1155 Arnold Dr, +1 925 957-0407. Sushi and other Japanese dishes.

Mexican

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Drink

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Bars

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  • Cue and Brew, 1029 Arnold Dr (in the Walmart shopping center). Great place for drinks and billiards.
  • Ray's Lounge, 709 Ferry St, +1 925 229-4755.

Cafes and coffeehouses

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  • Mountain Grounds, 3750 Alhambra Ave.

Sleep

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Stay safe

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Exercise caution in downtown during nighttime as it's dimly lit. It's the crime hotspot of the city, but just use smart judgement and you should be safe.

Go next

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Map
Neighboring destinations

  • 1 Benicia - Visible across the Carquinez Strait at the north end of the Martinez-Benicia Bridge.
  • 2 Pleasant Hill - This neighboring town is primarily a typical family suburb, but it does offer options for food and shopping.
  • 3 Concord - One of the largest cities in the East Bay, offering a variety of shopping and dining options.
  • 4 Vallejo
  • 5 Walnut Creek - The downtown Walnut Creek area offers shopping, bars, and restaurants.
  • 6 Mount Diablo State Park - This 20,000-acre park provides great hiking opportunities on a mountain that dominates the landscape for most of central and eastern Contra Costa County. It offers an incredible viewshed, with views on clear days stretching 181 miles (291 km) to Mount Lassen.
  • 7 Berkeley - Eclectic, political and always interesting, Berkeley is only a 20- to 25-minute drive away. Alternatively, using BART, either a) transfer at the MacArthur station and exit at Downtown Berkeley, or b) exit at Rockridge and walk ~2 miles (~3 km) to downtown.
  • 8 San Francisco - Although "the City" feels a world away, it's just a 46-minute BART ride (from North Concord/Martinez station) to the Embarcadero or a 35-90-minute-drive, depending on traffic.
Routes through Martinez
EmeryvilleRichmond  W  E  DavisSacramento
SacramentoFairfield  N  S  RichmondEmeryville
BakersfieldAntioch  E  S  RichmondEmeryville
Jct W EBenicia  N  S  ConcordSan Jose
Ends at Hercules  W  E  ConcordStockton


This city travel guide to Martinez is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.