Life in the Bay Area

Life in California

"I love the Bay Area in general and Contra Costa County specifically because of the diversity of people who live here and the wide range of cultural and recreational things to do..."  Learn more about Dr. Parish

Nicknamed the Golden State as much for the discovery of the precious metal in 1848 as for the poppies that blanket its hills each spring, California has long been a destination to those attracted both to the new opportunity and the natural beauty the state offers. Combining the relaxed, physical allure of the area with the dynamic energy of an urban center, Contra Costa County features all the best that California has to offer.

Contra Costa County

Surrounded by golden, rolling hills and verdant pockets of wilderness, John Muir Health sits in central Contra Costa County. It is part of the San Francisco Bay Area, a vibrant metropolis of more than seven million residents in one of the largest urban centers of the United States.

About 25 miles east of San Francisco, Contra Costa County encompasses several regional and state parks and is part of the East Bay community that includes Brentwood, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Concord, and several other cities.

Connected to San Francisco and most of the rest of the Bay Area by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Contra Costa County is a series of small enclaves of tightly knit, safe communities ideal for raising families.

People

From the Internet and biotech to filmmaking and music — science, industry, and art all intersect in the Bay Area. Some of the most well known companies reside here (Pixar, Lucas Films, Genentech, Google, and Apple) and it is home to several of the best universities and research centers in the world.

So it’s no surprise that the types of people that settle in the Bay Area reflect the characteristics that drive these industries: they are smart, creative, entrepreneurial, industrious, and inventive. They come from the four corners of the earth to work, to study, and to live.

The Bay Area is also very diverse with long-standing immigrant communities from places as far-flung as Kabul and Beijing. Contra Costa County is no different and, while mostly native born, has significant Asian and Latino populations.  In fact, more than a quarter of the people who reside in Contra Costa County speak another language besides English at home.

Climate and Terrain

California’s climate is as varied as its people. Much of the state has a Mediterranean climate that is temperate year-round: cool and wet in the winter and dry and warm in the summer.

The climate in Northern California ranges from San Francisco’s famously cold and foggy summer — a result of the ocean current that moves along the Pacific coast of North America — to the flat, arid, and hot Central Valley.

Generally warmer than San Francisco, Contra Costa County is buffeted from the cooler, coastal weather by the East Bay hills that line its western edge.

Mirroring California’s varied climates are a multitude of different terrains and ecosystems. Furthest west is the coastline with long, beautiful vistas and sheer cliffs and mountains that drop off into the ocean.  To the east is the Central Valley, hundreds of miles of flat land that produce eight percent of the nation’s agriculture. And furthest east are the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the north and the expansive deserts in the south, including Death Valley, the hottest place in North America.

Lifestyle

Variety makes California such a desirable place to live. Whatever your interest, you’ll find others who share your passion. The Bay Area lifestyle is active, community-focused, and usually involves great food and plenty of opportunity for good fun.

It’s no surprise given the natural beauty of the state that the Bay Area draws people who love the outdoors.  John Muir, the famous Scottish-born naturalist, helped conserve Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park, and other wilderness areas in California and the west providing residents with many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Contra Costa County is situated within an hour of the coast and within several hours of the redwoods to the north. To the east, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are a half-day’s drive.  The diverse terrain and mild climate make the area ideal for a wide range of sports and outdoor activities including surfing, skiing, bicycling, hang gliding, hiking, kayaking, and camping.

Known worldwide as a destination for food and wine enthusiasts alike, the Bay Area also offers some of the best and most diverse cuisine in the country, with Napa and Sonoma — the heart of the state’s wine country — just a short drive away.

San Francisco

There is no singular way to describe San Francisco. It’s a little bit of everything to everyone. It is as elegant and familiar as it is eclectic, quaint, and unconventional.

Whether you are looking to entertain your kids at the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park or want dim sum in Chinatown on a Sunday morning, San Francisco’s neighborhoods, parks, and museums offer endless activities year-round. From music and modern art to poetry and professional sports, San Francisco never disappoints.