Most parents are faced with the basic educational choice between private and public school for their children.  We already know that Contra Costa County public schools are some of the best in the nation.  Here are some recent statistics regarding private schools in Contra Costa County.


Contra Costa County is home to 122 private schools, where more than 20,000 students are enrolled.


The student body at the average private school in Contra Costa County is 62 percent Caucasian.  The average private school statewide is 54 percent Caucasian.


The student-teacher ratio at private schools in Contra Costa County is 13:1. The statewide ratio for private schools is 12:1.


The largest private school in Contra Costa County is De La Salle High School in Concord, which has an enrollment of about 1,050.


The smallest private school in Contra Costa County is Keystone in Antioch, with four students enrolled.


Christ the King Catholic School in Pleasant Hill and Valley Christian Schools in Dublin are listed among the prestigious California Blue Ribbon Private Schools.


Concord has more Christian schools (eleven) than any other city in the county, followed by Fremont, which has ten..


The average annual tuition for a private elementary school in Contra Costa County is nearly $11,000.


The average annual tuition for a private high school in Contra Costa County is nearly $17,000.


The average acceptance rate at a private school in Contra Costa County is 87 percent.


1. Vacaville Premium Outlets has 120 stores to choose from.  Name brands on hand include Adidas, Calvin Klein, Cole Haan, Gap, Gucci, Guess, J.Crew, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, True Religion and Tommy Hilfiger. The Vacaville Premium Outlets mall is located between San Francisco and Sacramento.


2. Petaluma Village Premium Outlets carries medium-end merchandise from affordable designers like Ann Taylor, Max Azria, Levi’s, Puma, Coach, and Banana Republic, to name just a few.
3. Livermore Premium Outlets hosts an impressive selection of big designer names like Armani, Barney’s, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Prada, and Saks Fifth Avenue, among other elite collections. This shopping center has many dozen upscale retailers to choose from.


4. Great Mall of the Bay Area, located just 7 miles from San Jose, has 78 quality outlet stores. Among them are Tommy Hilfiger, Chico’s, Eddie Bauer, Levi’s/Docker’s Outlet, Mikasa, Perry Ellis, Bebe Outlet, and Brooks Brothers.  The mall is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 9pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday from 11am to 7pm.


5. Finally, next time you find yourself in the big city, treat yourself some retail therapy at the Nordstrom Rack, located at 555 9th Street in San Francisco. Nordstrom rack is open until 9 p.m.


Looking for something different to do?  Roadside attractions are all the rage.  Here are five nationally popular roadside attractions in or around Contra Costa County.


Burlingame’s Museum of Pez Memorabilia features every Pez character ever made, plus a collection of toy guns that fire Pez bullets across the room. Don’t be afraid of the 8-foot-tall Snowman. He’s only the World’s Largest Pez Dispenser.  Museum hours are Tuesday thru Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but the curators suggest you call ahead just to make sure.


El Cerrito’s Playland Not at the Beach is a museum dedicated to the history and heritage of Bay Area Amusement Parks like Playland at the Beach. Exhibits include artifacts, arcade games, circus displays, an old wood roller coaster, and an intricate scale model of the original Playland Amusement Park. Museum hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Fairfield’s Jelly-Belly Jelly Bean Factory hosts factory tours.  Highlights include viewing a series of enormous portraits made from jelly beans in the 80s – Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Johnny Carson, and others.  Factory tour hours are daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Lafayette’s Hill of Crosses is a crucifix-covered hillside across the street from the Lafayette BART station. Each white cross represents an American soldier killed in Iraq. The protest group built about five thousand crosses before running out of space.


Finally, when in San Francisco, don’t miss (well, actually, you can’t miss) the bright, sky-high sculptures of Claes Oldenburg and Coodje van Bruggen.  At Rincon Park on the Embarcadero, drive by Cupid’s Span, a towering bow and arrow painted scarlet and white.  Then drive under a giant blue safety pin on your way to the DeYoung Museum.


Based on reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the 40 largest companies in Contra Costa County, meaning that the following local businesses employ more workers than any other businesses in the county.


1.  AT&T Telecommunications                               San Ramon

2.  Summerville Management, LLC                       San Ramon

3.  Pacpizza, LLC                                                     San Ramon

4.  AT&T Services, Inc.                                            Walnut Creek

5.  John Muir Health                                                Concord

6.  Safeway Supermarket                                        Walnut Creek

7.  West Contra Costa Unified School Dist.         Richmond

8.  Convenience Retailers, LLC                             San Ramon

9.  Kaiser Hospitals                                                  Walnut Creek

10. Diablo Valley College Foundation                  Pleasant Hill

11. United States Postal Service                            Concord

12. County of Contra Costa                                    Martinez

13. John Muir Physician Network                         Walnut Creek

14. California State Automobile Association      Walnut Creek

15. Cellco Partnership                                             Walnut Creek

16. John Muir Physician Network                         Conocrd

17. San Ramon Valley Unified School District   Danville

18. Mt. Diablo Unified School District                 Concord

19. California Department of Health                    Richmond

20. Chevron Corporation                                        San Ramon

21. Target Corporation                                            Pinole

22. Wal-Mart                                                             Richmond

23. Contra Costa Newspapers Inc.             Walnut Creek

24. County of Contra Costa                                    Martinez

25. Antioch Unified School District                      Antioch

26. Frances Mary Accessories, Inc.                       Lafayette

27. Doctors Medical Center                                   San Pablo

28. Saint Mary’s College of California                 Moraga

29. Shell Martinez Refining Company                 Martinez

30. Bio-Rad Laboratories                                       Hercules


Attention Tiger Moms and Second Language Speakers:  Do your kids think school work is too easy?  There’s a cure for that.  Below are some of most highly rated International schools in the Bay Area.


German International School of Silicon Valley (GISSV), a private school with three campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area (Mountain View, Berkeley and San Francisco) that provides the highest quality bilingual education in German and English, Preschool to Grade 12.


Pacific Rim International School offers a thought-provoking blend of Montessori-style teaching techniques and second language acquisition.  Pacific Rim International School has locations in Emeryville and San Mateo.  Open to students between 18 months and 18 years of age.


Woodside International School is a co-ed college prep school for grades 8-12, located on Irving Street in San Francisco, just one block south of Golden Gate Park.


The German-American International School is a PK-thru-8 German language school with an enrollment of 350, located in Menlo Park.


International School of the Peninsula is a French and Chinese Language immersion school in Palo Alto.  Kids who excel here have a solid chance of being accepted into Stanford.


International High School of San Francisco is part of the French-American International School in Hayes Valley.  All classes are conducted in French, except English.


Finally, for a truly challenging educational experience, try Chinese Central High School in San Francisco on Stockton Street.  All classes are taught in Mandarin and Chinese Pinyin.  The school year starts in early July, and classes are in session seven days a week.  This school has an enrollment of more than 2,000 mostly Chinese students in grades K-12.

Contra Costa County Farmers Markets by Lisa Doyle, The Doyle Team

Craving fresh fruits and veggies?  No problem if you live around here.  Shown below is a complete list of certified California Farmers Markets in and around Contra Costa County, where we enjoy farm-fresh produce six days a week.




Farmers Markets are traditionally closed on Mondays.





Concord Tuesday Farmers Market in Todo Santos Park.

El Cerrito Tuesday Farmers Market in El Cerrito Plaza.

Kaiser Farmers Market on Main Street in Walnut Creek.





Point Richmond Farmers Market at West Richmond Avenue and Park Place.




Concord Thursday Farmers Market at Todo Santos Park.

Danville Farmers Market on Prospect Avenue

Kaiser Hospital Farmers Market in Antioch

Kaiser Hospital Farmers Market in Martinez

Lafayette Farmers Market in Lafayette Plaza Park





Richmond Farmers Market at the Civic Center

Rossmoor Farmers Market at the Gateway Clubhouse





Brentwood Farmers Market on 1st Street between Oak and Chestnut

Clayton Farmers Market

Danville Saturday Farmers Market at Railroad and Prospect

Diablo Valley Farmers Market

El Cerrito Farmers Market in El Cerrito Plaza

Hercules Farmers Market in the parking lot at Home Depot.

Orinda Farmers Market on Orinda Way

Pinole Farmers Market at Pear Street and Fernandez

Pittsburg Farmers Market on Railroad Avenue.

Pleasant Hill Farmers Market on Crescent Drive.

San Ramon Farmers Market on San Ramon Valley Boulevard.





Kensington Farmers Market on Oakview between Colusa and Santa Fe

Martinez Farmers Market on Main Street Plaza

Moraga Farmers Market in the parking lot at Moraga Center.

Somersville Town Center Farmers Market

Walnut Creek Farmers Market on North Locust and Lacassie.