Lafayette is home to a number of welcoming and architecturally diverse neighborhoods set against a backdrop of rolling hills and beautiful landscapes. From Mediterranean Revival to English and French Provincial-style architecture, each neighborhood is aesthetically unique.
Many of the city’s neighborhoods offer quiet tree- and sidewalk-lined streets, which are perfect settings for children’s play dates, bike rides, and neighborhood gatherings. The strikingly beautiful and lush landscape framing Lafayette leaves residents grateful for the natural setting surrounding their homes.
Lafayette may be considered small in comparison to surrounding suburbs, but it offers everything on a homebuyer’s list in one convenient location. Known for its walkability and nearby trails, many residents go on foot from home to explore downtown, walk to restaurants, or run errands and take part in activities at stops like the Contra Costa County Library and Lafayette Library and Learning Center. The learning center boasts a traditional library, art gallery, book shop, cafe, and the Lafayette Historical Society.
Downtown Lafayette includes an array of restaurants, grocery stores, playgrounds, and businesses aligned on the main street of Mount Diablo Boulevard. The Lafayette Community Center offers rooms to residents and local clubs, which can be used for a variety of recreational purposes. Special events, lectures, and meetings can be hosted at the community center.
The safe and charming setting seamlessly integrates nature into the town with an abundance of trees and wildlife—it’s not uncommon to see deer make appearances in backyards.
Image of the Lafayette-Moraga Regional Trail courtesy of the East Bay Regional Park District.
Nature lovers flock to Lafayette’s seemingly abundant areas to admire nature and check through its long list of outdoor activities. The town’s extensive trails and parks provide year-round opportunities to walk, run, and bike in a safe and visually pleasing environment.
The Lindsay Wildlife Experience connects people with wildlife through exhibits highlighting their care and treatment of injured or sick animals before returning “patients” back into the wild. Their goals include “inspiring responsibility and respect for the world we share” and creating “vibrant and healthy habitats for wildlife throughout California.”
As a Blue Star Museum, Lindsay Wildlife Experience provides free admission to active-duty military personnel and their families.
For the thrill-seeker, All Outdoors California Whitewater Rafting offers rafting experiences through 10 California rivers, navigating through varying levels of rapids and allowing participants to observe scenic canyons. Since 1962, All Outdoors has continued a family tradition of sharing the beauty of California’s rivers with locals and visitors.
The Lafayette Reservoir is open year-round for activities ranging from fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and walking—all permitted accompanied by canine companions. A picnic table area with public-use barbecues is ideal for a summertime grill out. In addition to rowboats, pedal boats, and kayaks, the visitor center also sells fishing tackle and bait for a day spent on the water.
Image of downtown Lafayette courtesy of LoveLafayette.org.
A large number of Lafayette’s residents work in larger cities in the Bay Area, as the suburb’s central location and accessibility to more urban areas ease many of the headaches commonly associated with commuting.
Lafayette offers an easy commute to Oakland and San Francisco due to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station in the town center. Combined with the city’s collection of sidewalks and bicycle trails, commuters have the option to bike to their closest BART station.
Additional public transportation options include the County Connection public bus, Lamorinda Senior Spirit Van, and carpooling services.
The Lafayette Commuter Guide maps out available short- and long-term parking areas, ridesharing and transit information, and incentives for ridesharing. (These incentives include free gift cards for gas or groceries and are available for anyone who works in Contra Costa County. Applications are available on their website.)
The Guaranteed Ride Home Program is a free program available to anyone using an alternative commuting method in Lafayette. The program can be used in case of an emergency—family crisis, carpool vehicle breaks down, or an unexpected change in work schedule—and provides commuters with a taxi or rental car voucher to be used when needed.
As an additional incentive to encourage residents to bike to work, grants are provided each year to ensure the availability of bike lockers and racks. Free bicycle racks and lockers are offered to employment sites, retail centers, schools, colleges, and public buildings.
Image of Batch & Brine courtesy of Beyondthecreek.com.
Lafayette’s central business district offers a spectrum of dining options to suit any palate. From casual coffee shops to high-end fare, the city is overflowing with quality eateries.
Located off Highway 24, La Fiesta Square shopping and dining center brings diverse shopping and dining experiences (both upscale and budget-friendly) together into one convenient location for local patrons to enjoy. From home decor to clothing, La Fiesta Square provides a large selection to choose from. Also located in La Fiesta Square, Papillon Quality Gourmet Coffees and Teas has been a Lafayette staple since 1983. The coffee shop offers a place for locals to meet over an array of coffee and tea beverages.
The Hideout Kitchen & Cafe, a cozy community hub, dishes out comfort cuisine inspired by Northern California ingredients. Family-owned Batch & Brine offers Mediterranean-inspired burgers and sandwiches and shareable plates—perfect for a date night or family meal out.
Every September, the city attracts thousands of art and food lovers to the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival. The free event is the largest annual festival in Contra Costa County, having had over 85,000 attendees at the 2019 event. Patrons stroll around booths of art and handmade crafts while enjoying food from local vendors and wineries and listening to music performed on four separate stages. Kid zones featuring a family stage, rock climbing, and various rides ensure everyone in the family has an activity to enjoy.
This year’s event, held September 26-27, will mark the 25th anniversary of the festival.
Image courtesy of LoveLafayette.org.
Lafayette is home to high-quality educational institutions for growing families and students pursuing higher education alike.
Recognized as an excellent public school system, the Lafayette School District encompasses five schools, including four elementary schools (Lafayette Elementary, Happy Valley Elementary, Burton Valley Elementary, and Springhill Elementary) and one middle school (Stanley Middle School).
Educating students from kindergarten through eighth grade, the district includes approximately 3,200 students. Lafayette School District students consistently score among the highest of all California students.
With a focus on providing a nurturing learning environment for students from the beginning of their educational career, the district’s vision reads, “Our students are creative thinkers and problem-solvers and are prepared to become responsible, ethical and productive citizens.”
The district provides a wide selection of extracurricular clubs and supplementary learning programs, such as the Lafayette School District Elementary Music Program and various science, volunteering, and eco-friendly clubs.
For high school-aged students, Acalanes Union High School District includes Acalanes High School, Campolindo High School, Las Lomas High School, and Miramonte High School. All four of the district’s high schools are ranked in the top 60 of the 1,000 high schools in California. These rankings are based on the Academic Performance Index (API), making it one of the highest performing school districts in the state. The Acalanes Center for Independent Study provides an outstanding alternative education program.
Lafayette residents pursuing their undergraduate and graduate-level degrees have access to nearby Saint Mary’s College of California (SMC). The university was ranked as a top-five regional university in the West by the U.S. News World Reports rankings of best colleges. The private university was also named one of Princeton Review’s best colleges in 2017.
SMC is set on a scenic campus encouraging students to study in its beautifully landscaped student areas. The university’s museum of art offers a range of historic and contemporary exhibits and is free and open to the public—a lovely activity for an afternoon or weekend!
Ready to learn more about luxury Lafayette real estate or the surrounding areas of Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Orinda, and Moraga? Contact The Motley Team today to learn more about all that Lafayette has to offer as well as luxury Lafayette homes for sale! Their expertise—and love—of the Bay Area communities will help you find your perfect home.
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