The birthplace of the famed baseball player Joe DiMaggio and one of the oldest cities in California, the small town of Martinez is tinged with memories of a bygone era. Established as a trading post in 1849 and until its incorporation in 1876, Martinez was a gold rush and shipping boomtown. Today it’s known for its revitalized historic downtown, burgeoning food scene and natural environs.
Here’s how you can spend a day in Martinez for $100 or less.
Tune in at Armando’s ($15-$20)
As the town’s most beloved music venue, Armando’s is the place to see some of the area’s best local talent. Sourcing unique artists from every genre — including bluegrass, jazz, blues, rock and folk — this small, cash-only hot spot knows how to pack them in.
Explore John Muir National Historic Site (Free)
Back when the Bay Area was covered in orchards and open space rather than freeways and office parks, John Muir settled with his family in the rolling hills of the Alhambra Valley. Tour the famed naturalist’s home where you can learn about his life, writing and family.
Hike Mount Wanda (Free)
Named after John Muir’s eldest daughter, Mount Wanda offers visitors spectacular trails and stunning views of the Alhambra Valley and Carquinez Straight. The 325-acres of oak woods, rolling hills and natural grasslands were originally part of the Muir family property, but are now open to the public from sunrise to sunset.
Stroll along the Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline (Free)
Nestled in the marshland next to the Martinez Marina, the trails of the Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline offer a welcome respite and leisurely stroll through picnic areas, ponds and creeks. Follow the Pickleweed Trail for an easy, breezy outing.
Eat in Martinez ($5-$17)
Despite its small, hometown feel, Martinez packs in some big flavors. Start your day with breakfast at Vic’s Martinez, which features classic American fare such as fluffy pancakes and waffles, or eggs Benedict topped with a healthy dose of hollandaise. For lunch or dinner, order a pile of pad thai or perfectly grilled steak with cilantro-lime sauce from Lemongrass Bistro for a sit-down meal. And for a cheap and tasty grab-and-go option, head to Homage for a slice of Roman-style pizza (aka pizza al taglio).
Downtown Drinks ($3-$15)
In the last few years, downtown Martinez has upped its drink game with the welcomed introduction of several small, family-owned businesses. For a little pick-me-up, order a honey latte or dark mocha from the uber-hip States Coffee & Mercantile. And if you are looking for a casual drink with friends, stop into Del Cielo Brewing Co. for a fresh pint. But for date night, choose wine by the glass from the carefully curated menu at Bar Cava Wine Bar & Eatery.
Go Antiquing (Free, except for what you buy!)
With a history that is proudly displayed on its city streets, Martinez has a large collection of antique shops all within a relatively small area. Jam-packed with all sorts of curious finds, antique shops are a great way to spend an afternoon. Consider stopping into The Spotted Cow and Junk2Gems pop-ups, or OTA Mercantile for shabby-chic finds.