Just 43 miles east of San Francisco, Livermore, California--in the heart of wine country--has become a destination in its own right. The slogan for Downtown Livermore: Live, Shop, Play, and Dine rings true as it boasts having 119 shops, 51 restaurants, and 20 arts and entertainment venues.
Exciting annual festivals and regular events make visiting and living in Livermore a truly enjoyable experience. Tuesday Tunes starts the summer with free concerts in the plaza. The weekly farmers market brings family-friendly entertainment downtown, and the turnout is always strong for Thirsty Thursday—a monthly wine tasting that features local vineyards. More than 150,000 flock to downtown for the two-day Livermore Wine Country Festival, a celebration of all things local, from crafts to wine to olive oil.
The pulse of downtown Livermore has not also been so strong, however. When Livermore Downtown, Inc., the local Main Street revitalization program, was formed in 1986, the historic business district was sagging. The stifling effects of suburban sprawl and a busy, four-lane highway that channeled speeding cars through downtown had taken a toll. The city recognized that this roadway was a detriment to foot traffic and an obstacle to revitalization. A $12.5 million roadway and public spaces improvements project transformed the highway into a moderate two-lane road that is lushly landscaped. A public plaza and space for outdoor dining further invites the community to park the car, enjoy the sights and stay for awhile.
Evidence of Livermore Downtown, Inc.'s revitalization success is plentiful. Special events, merchant promotions and volunteer participation have helped create a buzz downtown that thrives on the city's beauty, its agricultural heritage and rich wine-making tradition. Its eclectic selection of restaurants and retail shops keep residents and visitors alike interested on a year-round basis.
Since 1986, Downtown Livermore has seen a net increase of 194 businesses, a net increase of 974 new jobs, 82 building rehabilitation, 12 new buildings, a drop in their vacancy rate from 26% to 9%, public investment of $55,000,000 and private investment of $112,000,000.