Welcome to Lafayette
Vibrant downtown and top schools? Yes, please!
Lafayette (population: 26,000) is located between Orinda and Walnut Creek, just east of the Caldecott Tunnel and 25 minutes to San Francisco by BART. This stunning locale is known for its high quality of life, which you can feel throughout the charming downtown, complete with tree-lined streets, quaint restaurants, and upscale boutiques. Most people move here for the highly-rated public schools and quickly fall in love with the beautiful neighborhoods and lively community. The hip and trendy vibe of downtown pairs well with the gorgeous dose of nature found at the Lafayette Reservoir, right in the middle of town.
What to Love
- Charming and trendy Downtown
- Enviable location minutes from Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco
- Four distinct neighborhoods
- High-quality schools
Lafayette is home to four distinctive neighborhoods, each connected to a highly-rated elementary school.
- Happy Valley is one of the more sought-after, prestigious neighborhoods of the East Bay, with many parcels over one acre. Close to downtown yet very quiet and surrounded by green hills, Happy Valley has virtually every type of home imaginable, from estate-like compounds to smaller, traditional ranchers and everything in between.
- Friendly Burton Valley is located near the Lafayette/Moraga border. It is home to the Lafayette Community Center and sports fields and can be reached on foot or bike from downtown by the Lafayette/Moraga Trail. The Burton Valley Elementary and Rancho Colorados pool are at the center of the neighborhood. This sweet and social neighborhood is the type of place where the neighbors know and look out for one another.
- Reliez Valley borders Pleasant Hill to the Northeast and feeds into Springhill Elementary. This neighborhood boasts a country-like setting with pastoral, rolling hills and larger parcels, some of which are zoned for horses. Old farmhouses are intermingled with newer builds, and many homes here feel private and secluded while just a few minutes from town.
- The Trails/Downtown neighborhood is located closest to town, making it a “soft landing” in the suburbs for anyone moving out from the city. If walking to restaurants and town is essential, this is probably the neighborhood for you. Named for the Lafayette/Moraga trail that meanders throughout the area, this lively pocket of Lafayette features many tree-lined streets and beautiful properties of all shapes and sizes.
Regardless of your chosen neighborhood, you can join a local country club or enroll your children in a swimming team — just as popular a pastime here, in Lafayette, as it is in nearby Orinda and Moraga. Each of the following local swim clubs has its own character:
- Rancho Colorados Swim and Tennis Club - Located in the heart of Burton Valley near Burton Valley Elementary
- Las Trampas Swim Club - Located in the Trails neighborhood near downtown
- Sun Valley Swimming Pool - Swim team, barbeque area, and children’s programming
- Oakwood Athletic Club - High-end, 63,000-square-foot athletic club with a pool, gym, childcare, and various classes
- Moraga Country Club - (MCC) - Just minutes from Lafayette; modern country club offering swimming, tennis, golf, and more
- Orinda Country Club (OCC) - Minutes from Lafayette; one of the oldest and most established country clubs in the Bay Area with swimming, tennis, golf, a small gym, and more
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Downtown Lafayette was intentionally developed to retain charm and vibrancy. The main drag of Mt. Diablo Boulevard hosts the entrance to the gorgeous Lafayette Reservoir on the west side of town and ends at the Lafayette Park Hotel on the east. In between are a dazzling array of high-end grocers, including family-owned grocer Diablo Foods and also Whole Foods. Shop at specialty boutiques like Luck and Hollie’s Homegrown. Dine at dozens of delicious restaurants — some of our favorites are Postino, REVE Bistro, Sideboard Cafe, and The Cooperage, just to name a few. Oakwood Athletic Club is the local high-end athletic club with a gym, childcare, fitness classes (youth and adult), a pool, and a cafe. All of the conveniences you need in a commercial district are right here.
Each September, the Lafayette Art & Wine Festival takes over for a weekend of lively booths, wine tasting, and music performances. It’s a beloved Lafayette tradition not to be missed.
Things to Do
While Lafayette has been friendly to commercial downtown development, it has retained a semi-rural feeling and community vibe — a place where people know and look out for each other. Lafayette’s beautiful parks and trails are second to none. Get outdoors and experience the following activities:
- The Trail! Meandering right through the heart of town is the 7+ mile Lafayette/Moraga Regional Trail. It’s a picturesque, paved, and tree-lined trail perfect for pushing a stroller, running, or biking with the family, and it connects downtown Lafayette with the hills of Moraga.
- The Lafayette Reservoir is a 126-acre body of water created in 1933 as a backup water supply. Today, it's open to the public for kayaking, fishing, and even summer camp. Two loop trails surround “the Rez” — a paved Lakeside Nature Trail and the unpaved, more challenging Upper Rim Trail. Located right in the heart of town, this is an ideal destination for a walk, a picnic, or a summer concert outdoors.
- At Briones Regional Park, you can explore over 6,000 acres of beautiful California landscape. From Briones Peak, you can enjoy panoramic views of Mount Diablo and the Diablo Valley, along with the Sacramento River, the East Bay hills, and Mt. Tamalpais. Visitors can also participate in horseback riding, camping, hiking, and archery.
Here are a few of our other favorite places to get out and enjoy the sunshine.
Lafayette’s acclaimed public schools are well known as some of the best in California. Lafayette Partners in Education (LPIE), the local fundraising group, collects millions in annual private donations. The Lafayette School District comprises four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Students may attend: