Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Safeway Inc., Blackhawk Network, and Ross Stores. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices and a courthouse are located in Pleasanton. Additionally, the main county jail is in the neighboring city of Dublin. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton and are held during the last week of June and the first week of July. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is located on the west side of town.
Pleasanton is number 63 in Money’s list of “The Best Places to Live” in 2010, and was also named one of “Americans’ Top Hometown Spots” in the United States in 2009 by Forbes.
Pleasanton was named the third wealthiest city in terms of earnings in the United States by NerdWallet in 2013.
Events and festivals
Pleasanton continues to maintain a small town flavor with regular events for the community. Every Saturday morning a farmers’ market sets up on Angela, off Main Street. In 2009, Pleasanton appeared on Newsmax magazine’s list of the “Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns,” a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. The article cited the popular farmers’ market among the reasons for the city landing on the list. There are several parades during the year, commemorating Christmas, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day, as well as kicking off the beginning of the Alameda County Fair and soccer season.
The Pleasanton Downtown Association organizes the popular First Wednesday celebrations from May through September. On every first Wednesday of those summery months, Main Street is blocked to traffic and adopts a street fair atmosphere. Each First Wednesday celebration is given a different theme and planned with related activities. Typically the first theme is Cinco de Mayo since May is the first month for these street parties. At this local event, businesses and organizations from downtown and around the Tri-Valley set up booths in the center of the street. A local band performs in the Round Table Pizza parking lot, which is closed off for dancing. The parking lot is also set up as a beergarden, with beer and wine available for consumption.
Friday Concerts in the Park
Another Pleasanton Downtown Association tradition is the Friday Concerts in the Park series. Every Friday from June until September the PDA schedules different local bands to perform in the evenings at the Lions’ Wayside Park off of First Street. The events are free of charge and draw a crowd. Locals will start laying out blankets in the park on Friday mornings as a way to reserve a spot.
Main article: Alameda County Fairgrounds
The Alameda County Fair runs annually at the Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, which includes many rides and as well as horse races. Many car shows are held at the Fairgrounds during the fair’s off-season, and California’s largest Scottish Highland Games are held there annually.
Firehouse Arts Center
The Firehouse Arts Center, opened in 2010, is a center of culture and art for Pleasanton. It features a 227-seat theater, the Harrington art gallery, and classrooms for art and drama. It is also home to the critically acclaimed teen improv comedy troupe, Creatures of Impulse.