You don’t need to be a sports fan to have a ball in the Bay Area, even as the Super Bowl, March Madness and the championship sports teams sometimes ball-hog the cultural scene. The Bay Area loves its sporting events, but where does that leave all of the non-fans, people who aren’t hooligans and the big-game conscientious objectors?
Situated a hop, skip and a jump from the stadium mobs of Santa Clara and the overpriced corporate parties in San Francisco, the Tri-Valley is the “sunny side of the Bay” where rolling hills and gorgeous views outshine any dark, dirty sports bar on Sundays. Here are a few ideas to help you jockey your way around the jocks when the big game is not a big deal to you.
Take a Hike
We mean that in the good way, and Tri-Valley has many options to get your hike on. The towering favorite of all Tri-Valley hikes is Mount Diablo State Park, with a hiking trail that winds up the nearly 4,000-foot mountain and an expansive view at the summit that on a clear day allows you to you see for hundreds of miles. A few other Tri-Valley hiking trails of note include the dog-friendly, oak-covered slopes of the Del Valle Regional Park Swallow Bay and the bike- and horse-friendly trails of the Dublin Hills Regional Preserve (the Iron Horse Regional Trail and the Pleasanton Ridge Olive Grove Trail). And remember that the hiking trails are rarely less crowded than on the days of big sports games.
Take a Walk on the Wine Side
You generally don’t have to deal with big TV sets and loud, live sports when visiting prestigious wineries or tasting rooms. And you can find plenty of prestigious wineries and tasting rooms in the Tri-Valley, offering award-winning varietals, distinguished ambience and gourmet food pairings vastly more epicurean than chicken wings and bean dip. Be aware that some tasting rooms close down the day of the Super Bowl, so check first if a tasting room is closed that day due to the inevitable decrease in foot traffic. However, if “decrease in foot traffic” is your kind of crowd size, then during big sporting events is the perfect time for you to enjoy tasting room-hopping.
Bag Some Shopping Deals
Even the most popular stores see smaller crowds on big game days, and game days are great for scoring deals. Deals are a daily phenomenon at San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore, the largest outdoor outlet shopping mall in California. You’ll find deals – and steals – with rock-bottom outlet prices on designer labels such as Prada, Gucci, Versace and more than 170 other recognized fashion brands.
See a Live Show
The live theater scene in Tri-Valley always has blockbuster shows on the bill, and great seats are usually available on game days. Recognized off-Broadway shows and nationally known performing acts are always coming through Tri-Valley theaters, so keep an eye on the Tri-Valley live theater schedule and Tri-Valley performing arts schedule for upcoming live music, comedy and theater events.
Rock Out with Your Dog Out
Know who else doesn’t like sports? Your dog. Unless the name of the game is Fetch, the pooch would rather avoid the big games and instead, hit the great outdoors. The Tri-Valley has plenty of fetching destinations for Fido and friends, with dog-friendly parks, trails, wineries, restaurants and shops. Check out our full list of dog-friendly facilities in the Tri-Valley to unleash the possibilities.
If you have little tolerance for big games and jersey-clad jerks, the Tri-Valley has peace, quiet and beauty that’s sure to score with you. Come see the wineries, theaters and that show off the real California. Ball caps are optional, but a great Tri-Valley getaway is a sure thing no matter the season.
By Joe Kukura