Located in the Bay Area of Northern California, Walnut Creek is a popular retirement destination. Being just outside major metro areas and full of amenities, residents love having quick access to outdoor recreation as well as a vibrant downtown community for shopping and dining. In addition, its moderate year-round temperatures make Walnut Creek an in-demand city for active adults.
Climate & Geography
Walnut Creek has a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and shorter, cool winters. The Bay Area is known for having more moderate temperatures than Southern California, as well as slightly more rain in the winter. Winter temperatures can reach freezing in the late nights and early mornings, but temperatures rise quickly and there is no snow. There are 262 days of sunshine each year on average.
The city is located between the Briones Regional Park and Mount Diablo in the San Roman Valley. It is known for having the most open space per capita in California.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Walnut Creek’s location gives residents access to plenty of outdoor recreation. Active adults can hike at the Mount Diablo State Park and the Briones Regional Park just outside of the city. The Ruth Bancroft Garden, the Gardens at Heather Farms, and the Lindsay Wildlife Experience are also popular natural spaces within the city. The region is also surrounded by the Suisun Bay, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay, meaning boating and water recreation are a short drive away.
Residents looking for shopping and dining can head to Main Street for local boutiques and Broadway Plaza for high-end name brands. Both downtown strips have local and chain restaurants, as well as art galleries and small cafes. This downtown area hosts seasonal and annual events, including the Art and Wine Festival and Oktoberfest. Other popular amenities include a local performance center for concerts and shows as well as numerous craft breweries and wineries.
For even more entertainment and recreation, Oakland is only 20 minutes away, and San Francisco is a half-hour drive.
Cost of Living & Taxes
The cost of living in Walnut Creek is much higher than the national average because of high home prices. Other factors, including groceries, health care, transportation, and utilities also hover above average.
California does not tax Social Security, but all other forms of retirement income are fully taxed. Property taxes in the state are lower than average, and there is a homestead exemption available for primary homeowners. Walnut Creek’s sales tax is high at 8.25 percent.
The San Francisco area scores well on Gallup’s Well-Being Index, ranking in the top 25 communities across the country.
There is one hospital in Walnut Creek that is nationally ranked by U.S. News: John Muir Health-Walnut Creek Medical Center. In addition, Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center is also in the city. The nearest high performing hospital is John Muir Health-Concord Medical Center in nearby Concord.