Walnut Creek is a large, prototypical suburban city located at the easternmost fringe of the San Francisco Bay Area metropolis, that is home to thousands of commuters who daily clog the freeways and public transportation in their vain attempt to pay their stupefyingly high mortgages. As one would expect, Walnut Creek is located on the bank of Walnut Creek, which, for your safety and convenience, has been paved over and placed underground. Further, the acres of walnut orchards that the first settlers to the area planted immediately after running off (and/or killing) all the indigenous population have been razed and replaced with tract housing and fast food parlors.
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Commonly referred to as "The Creek" or "The Crik", Walnut Creek is the business hub of Central Contra Costa County. Located on the western edge of Mount Diablo, from which one can view most of the Central Valley (the worlds largest valley and home to some of the most futile land in the world) and the looming Sierra Nevada mountain range located to the far east. Walnut Creek has a business district that is the envy of places like Barrows, Alaska and Alice Springs, Australia.
One important thing to understand about Walnut Creek is that, while the citizens abhor racial stereotypes, visitors with a slightly darker hue then your average Swede are thought of, and treated as, either maids, gardeners, or escaped rapists. People of color visiting Walnut Creek should expect extra attention and will probably have the pleasure of discussing their destination with one of Walnut Creek's finest.
Walnut Creek is well served by both Interstate 680 and Highway 24, and the primary way of getting to Walnut Creek is by automobile. Walnut Creek also has a BART station, located several long blocks from downtown.
Local public transportation is laughable with poor service, inconvenient hours and a schedule and routing system that defies description. If you want to get around Walnut Creek, you need a car. Be forewarned: the local police have a very low tolerance for drunk driving (or any crime for that matter), so plan accordingly. In fact, Walnut Creek is a very law-and-order type of town, so not only do the City Fathers frown on any sort of entertainment that is actually fun, but many petty regulations are manicly enforced. So be careful not to jaywalk in front of a police officer.
The best thing to do in Walnut Creek when one is looking for entertainment is to leave. The next best thing is to go native, which involves purchasing several bottles of anti-depressants and prescription strength pain relief medication and a fifth of vodka. Consume these during the afternoon while you watch soap operas, and you really won't care about how horrible the evening news is or just how boring Walnut Creek is after 5pm. If you are unable to locate a physician willing to write you a prescription (this is only a problem if you are poor), and you aren't able to leave Walnut Creek because of some sort of parole issue or a weird ancient Egyptian curse, then you are basically screwed.
The "trendy" night spot is Locust Street, where numerous restaurants and several bars that now stay open until the recently unheard of time of 9pm. Naturally, this brazen attack on the peace and tranquility so long enjoyed by the residents of Walnut Creek has caused a minor public uproar and increased police patrols. Now anchored by a new 14-screen theater, this area is becoming even more popular, and a crackdown is soon expected.
Another interesting thing to do in Walnut Creek is to watch television. Picking up local broadcasts is difficult due to the surrounding hills, but there are several local cables providers that offer several hundred mind-numbing stations.
Finally, if you have a trust fund, Walnut Creek's new downtown shopping district is a great place to blow a wad of cash. Located around the intersection of North Main and Broadway, there is something for everyone with a large checkbook.
Compared the eating meccas of San Francisco and Berkeley, Walnut Creek for the most part offers fairly uninspiring fare. Like most suburban wastelands dominated by harried commuters dashing to and fro, the majority of places to eat in Walnut Creek are franchises of some international fast-food conglomerate.
- Strictly-to-go Pizza, 2670 N. Main St., (925) 945-6633. One of the best pizza joints this side of the Mississippi. A classic Chicago-style pizza that is piled high with premium ingredients makes Strictly-to-go a Walnut Creek institution. As the name states, the place is strictly to go, so don't plan on eating in, as while they offer delivery, they don't have any chairs.
Most Walnut Creekians drink at home. This is not only more cost-efficient (especially considering the massive amounts of alcohol they consume) and allows for plausible deniability that they are in fact alcoholics, but permits mixing of alcohol with other prescription-based substances to enhance the effect. While this "force multiplier" is enjoyable, it does tend to leave one unable to communicate, save drooling in Morse Code. Public drooling is against the law in Walnut Creek.
- Masses, 2721 N Main St, Walnut Creek, CA 94597, Phone: (925) 256-7665. Billiards, Billiards, and more Billiards. 30-some-odd tables are arranged in this converted hardware store. The food is dreadful, but the billiards and beer are just fine. The local kids have made this to place to hang, so expect a line to get in, on Friday and Saturday nights. A cute wait staff and a willingness to serve all but the most intoxicated drunks, however, don't outweigh the obnoxious local gentry and the over-barring and off-key karaoke making Masses a place to avoid.
- Mr. Lucky's Bar and Grill, 1527 Locust St, (925) 935-7778. Mr. Lucky's offers a full bar menu and assortment of fanciful topical drinks (which accompanies the South Pacific theme inside the bar). The staff is usually somewhat distracted, and table service is slow. However, the drinks pack a punch, and you need to keep careful count of your drinking, or you'll be keeling over before you know it. Located kitty-corner to the new Walnut Creek theater, Mr. Lucky's is a great place for an after-movie drink.
Sleeping is something that Walnut Creekians do very well. In fact, after they finish their late evening night caps, which occurs about 7pm, the entire city goes to sleep. Unfortunately, unless you know a local, you won't have access to one of the thousands of single family private dwellings, and will instead have to settle for a hotel room. Sleeping in the parks will get you arrested.
- Motel 6, 1527 Locust St, (925) 935-7778. Conveniently located near the I-680 North Main exit, Motel 6 provides any visitor to Walnut Creek the exact same experience that they would experience in any one of a thousand Motel 6es located across the United States. If you like other Motel 6s you'll like this place.