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Just 25 miles east of San Francisco, John Muir Health sits in central Contra Costa County. Encompassing several regional and state parks, it is part of the East Bay community that includes Brentwood, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek, San Ramon, Concord, and several other cities.
Surrounded by golden, rolling hills and verdant wilderness, majestic Mount Diablo rises almost 4,000 feet above the small cities that line its valley’s corridor. Connected to San Francisco and most of the rest of the East Bay by the region’s high-speed rail system, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), Contra Costa County is a series of small enclaves of tightly knit, safe communities ideal of raising children. There are over a million residents in the county, making it the ninth most populous region in California.
The East Bay attracts many different kinds of people from all over the world who come to the area to live, to study, and to work. Contra Costa County is diverse 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.
The Bay Area’s has a Mediterranean climate that is temperate year-round: cool and wet in the winter and dry and warm in the summer. 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.
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.
Contra Costa County
Contra Costa County is 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.
The Greater East Bay
In addition to the cities of Contra Costa County, the greater East Bay region includes the municipalities that line the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, including Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Alameda, Hayward, and Fremont.
Oakland is the largest of these cities and has a colorful past that includes such cultural luminaries as Isadora Duncan, Jack London, Julia Morgan, and Gertrude Stein. Today, Oakland’s rich history is visible in its beautiful architecture downtown, its emergent art scene, and established music venues, schools and science centers.
Oakland’s neighbor to the north is Berkeley. While smaller in size, Berkeley is best known because it is home to one of the world’s great learning institutions, the University of California. Like Oakland, Berkeley also dominates the East Bay’s cultural life with music, theatre, art, and science.