Things to Do in Martinez

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Martinez, once home to Joe DiMaggio, Tug McGraw and Norv Turner, is nestled on the south side of the Carquinez Strait in the San Francisco Bay Area.

John Muir, a Martinez resident, devoted his life to the preservation of land. Built in 1882, Muir’s home is part of the Martinez Historical Society Home Tour. Constructed of mostly redwood, the Victorian 17-room home features 12-foot-high ceilings, a black walnut staircase and Douglas fir floors. The rooms feature furnishings from that time period. The home retains its original charm and beauty, making it a focal point for all travelers.

Renowned for the many preserved historical buildings, the rustic scenery of downtown Martinez provides enjoyment for travelers. Antique stores, curbside dining and the Mediterranean weather add to the ambiance of the city.

The Martinez Waterfront Park is located within the Martinez Regional Shoreline Park. It features play areas, picnic areas, four softball fields, a soccer field and a skate park. For the naturalist, there are several trails to enjoy while taking in the beauty of the shoreline.

Martinez is also home to America’s largest bocce ball organization. The Martinez Bocce Ball Federation has 1,800 members playing OPEN and VOLO Bocce at night at the Waterfront Park. There are 190 teams in the league, playing on 15 courts. Currently, there are two major bocce events annually, with more scheduled in the coming years.

Drawn to California in the early 1800s in search of gold, many pioneers remained in Martinez, and were subsequently buried in the Martinez Cemetery. Tours of the popular historical cemetery are offered through the Martinez Historical Society.

Within walking distance of Amtrak and the County Connections bus hub, Martinez also has a thriving Main Street with many restaurants, shops and antique stores. Main Street Martinez hosts a variety of events, which include farmers markets, car shows, craft beer festivals and vintage fairs, to name a few. For a schedule of events, visit Main Street Martinez, www.mainstreetmartinez.org.

Also located in downtown Martinez is Amtrak. Forty-two trains and 12 Amtrak buses pass through the city daily, en route to various vacation destinations. The County Connection is easily accessible to transport all travelers to surrounding cities such as, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Concord, with immediate access to Bay Area Rapid Transit.

Martinez, a city rife with lush land, beautiful scenery, historical dwellings and quaint restaurants should be a key destination and noteworthy experience.

Visitors to the area often stay at the Best Western PLUS Heritage Inn at 1955 E. 2nd St., Benicia.martinez museumThe Martinez Museum is located in the 1890 Borland House at the corner of Court and Escobar Streets. The Museum is operated by the Martinez Historical Society, a volunteer organization. The Society operates three activities in the Borland House:

  • A museum which focuses on the history of the city of Martinez.
  • A local history library where research can be done on the history of the community, surrounding areas, local businesses, local families, the houses of Martinez and more.
  • An archival service which houses unbound and unpublished historical documents such as photographs, slides, film, letters, postcards, newspaper articles and the like.

The Museum is open during publicized hours and also by appointment. Docents are on hand to assist visitors. Regular hours are as follows:

  • Tuesdays11:30 to 3 p.m.
  • Thursdays11:30 to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday1 to 4 p.m.
  • Open on others days and times by advance arrangement.

Martinez has a long and rich history. It was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. It became the Contra Costa County seat the following year in 1850.

Where to Stay

Best Western PLUS Heritage Inn
1955 E. 2nd St., Benicia (707) 746-0401

Best Western PLUS John Muir Inn
445 Muir Station Rd. (925) 229-3762

Holiday Inn Express – Benicia
1375 E. 5th St., Benicia (707) 297-6873

Muir Lodge Hotel
3930 Alhambra Ave. (925) 228-3308

Quality Inn
3999 Alhambra Ave. (925) 228-7471

Renaissance Club Sport
2805 Jones Rd., Walnut Creek (925) 938-8700

Super 8 Motel
4015 Alhambra Ave. (925) 372-5500