Outer Richmond, not to be confused with the Richmond District of San Francisco, lies across the bay in Contra Costa County around 35 miles from the center of San Francisco. Neighboring Martinez
sits on the Carquniez Strait facing Benecia.
Both Outer Richmond and Martinez are known for their quiet, more suburban quality of life. Martinez has taken great pains to preserve its older buildings, particularly in the downtown area. Locals also cite the ease of transportation into San Francisco and East Bay cities as well as lower rents as two main reasons to move to these areas.
Schools in Outer Richmond/Martinez
School data provided by GreatSchools
Restaurants & Nightlife
Though Outer Richmond and Martinez do not have a central restaurant location, they do support a wide variety of culinary tastes, from Vietnamese, barbecue, American, Chinese, and Mexican to soul food, burgers, Mediterranean, German, and Thai.
Taqueria La Bamba, just off Route 80, serves traditional Mexican classics such as burritos and tacos and even a few Salvadoran favorites such as pupusas. Locals love the carne asada and homemade chips and salsa. Since this place can get busy, get there early, or prepare to hang out and have a beer while you wait.
Beaver Creek Smokehouse does barbecue right with pitmaster Rob Zavatero winning numerous awards for his efforts. Fan favorites include the pulled pork sandwich and bread pudding. If you're a fan of smoky meats, huge portions, and warm, friendly service, you may never want to leave.
Martinez's Lemongrass Bistro serves dishes combining influences from Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia into a fragrant mixture of ginger, chili, and lemongrass. The inexpensive lunch specials are popular, especially the garlic noodles. A casual ambiance welcomes all, and no one leaves hungry.
Outer Richmond and Martinez are both residential areas, so you'll find nightlife primarily on the weekends around the bar scene. Jerry's Cocktail Lounge caters to an eclectic crowd of regulars filled with stories to go along with the classic tunes on the turntable. Martinez's Whiskey Lane also has the dive-bar thing down, with cheap drinks, shots, and free popcorn to keep you busy.
Other choices in the neighborhood include Bring Your Own Voice for karaoke all night long and the pop-up restaurant Haberdasher for a chill wine-bar feel and elegant food. Think of it as the perfect destination for a romantic night out with a new friend or established partner.
History & Culture
Outer Richmond and Martinez were once part of a land grant. Martinez in particular grew quickly, since it had a ferry connecting to Benecia and served as a way station for prospectors.
Many came to work in Richmond’s oil fields during the early 20th century, and this spurred a building boom. Shipyards also employed many during World War II. These days, large employers such as Kaiser Permanente have taken over, as well as tech companies seeking cheaper rents.
Outer Richmond doesn’t supports any museums, but nearby Crockett has the Crockett Historical Museum for local history. At the Martinez Museum, you can learn interesting info on the Gold Rush, and the Shell Alumni Museum contains fun facts about the old refineries that operated in the area. Both areas have numerous art galleries to peruse.
The area’s major annual event is the Hercules Cultural Festival, with food, vendors, crafts and games for the kids.
Since Outer Richmond and Martinez lie in the outer areas of the East Bay, most locals prefer to drive to their destinations. Freeways 80, 680 and Route 4 are all nearby, connecting to points north and south. In these areas, you’ll find parking plentiful and either free or low cost.
You’ll likely find it tough to hail a cab in either neighborhood, unless you’re near a train or bus station. Uber pickups are always an option, though.
Public transportation options include Amtrak trains, or BART trains running to North Concord/Martinez, Richmond-Millbrae or Richmond-Fremont. WestCat buses also run in this region, as well as County Connection and Tri-Delta Transit buses.
Residents don't consider Outer Richmond nor Martinez is especially walkable, with most people choosing to drive a car to accomplish their errands. Neither neighborhood has many bikes lanes either, making it important to be careful while cycling.
Outer Richmond’s and Martinez’s cost of living run higher than both the California average and the national average. A typical 1-bedroom
residence rents for approximately $1,577 in this area.
It costs approximately $5.80 to get from Outer Richmond or Martinez to Civic Center in San Francisco via BART. A beer at a local pub runs you around $6, and gas prices sit at around 17 percent higher here than the national average.
Outer Richmond contains a variety of popular chains, such as Target and Macy's. Hilltop Mall provides two levels of shopping with anchor stores like Sears, Macy's, and JC Penney and shops that include Lids, GNC, Foot Locker, and Zumiez.
Leftovers Thrift Shop in Martinez offers goodies galore with antiques, one-of-a-kind items, and sought after collectibles. Your purchases also help fund a good cause, as the store offers crisis intervention services for community members in need.
Most of the grocery store options in Outer Richmond and Martinez are of the small variety. Though there are larger chain store options, including a Walmart, locals love Grocery Outlet for its low prices and William's Natural Foods for healthy produce and other grocery items.
Outer Richmond features the year round Pinole Farmers Market on Saturdays, offering a large variety of organic fruits and vegetables. The Martinez Farmers Market brings fresh produce, vendors and other goodies to the area on Sundays from 10 am until 2 pm.
Outer Richmond and Martinez both have many options when it comes to parks and green spaces. Wildcat Canyon Regional Park allows hikers to climb up a local hill for gorgeous views of San Francisco and the bay. Kids and dogs love this park for the grassy meadows and cows grazing nearby.
Point Pinole Regional Shoreline also has wonderful views of the shoreline and pier, as well as a playground and picnic area for family and friends. You’ll want to bring a camera especially in spring, when the flowers come out in a big way.
Martinez’s Rankin Park has lots of play equipment for kids, a pool, water slides and even a shallow pool for the little ones. It can get really crowded in summer, especially at the BBQ pits and tables near the pool, so make sure to get your reservations in early.
Martinez Regional Shoreline Park can also get crowded in summer, as families camp, hang out near the water and relax. Gentle hiking trails are great for beginners and kids alike, while bocce ball courts provide a fun distraction.
Annual events include the Bay Area Craft Beer Festival happening on the Martinez waterfront in April. Friendly pourers and live bands make trying new brews even more fun. Make sure to grab some eclectic food, too, from carne asada fries to Indian wraps.