Many workers in San Francisco prefer to live in Lafayette, located in the East Bay area in Contra Costa County, also home to Oakland. The county is located east of San Francisco, thus the East Bay name.
Lafayette, itself, honors a famous Frenchman, though the town has gone by many names in its long history. Benjamin Shreve came to Lafayette after failing to make a fortune in the Gold Rush several hundred miles away. He built and ran Lafayette's first school, and in 1857 Shreve became postmaster. He wanted an official name and hoped to call it Centerville. The town had been called Acalanus, Dog Town, Brown's Corner, Brown's Mill and Centerville previously. Read more about Lafayette's history.
There was another Centerville in California and La Fayette was accepted by the majority as its assigned name and in 1932 it was changed to today's spelling, "Lafayette".
Shady oak trees in a valley east of San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley provide the scenic setting for this sleepy hollow town with a small downtown shopping area. Lafayette enjoys weather slightly warmer with less fog than San Francisco during the summer, and winters can be cooler.
It wasn't until 1983, 136 years after Lafayette's first citizen, Elam Brown, purchased the Rancho Acalanes land grant and donated a small triangular piece of land for a public plaza, that Lafayette citizens began to realize that the small triangular plaza, a .4 acre site on Brook Street and a couple of rundown ball fields were all that the city owned; and that the vast number of oak woodlands and creeks were actually privately owned and expendable. Today the Lafayette Parks system is much larger and continues to grow to keep up with demand.
Shopping, restaurants, gifts, grocery stores, gas stations and a pretty community park with a statue of Lafayette greet you to Lafayette.
Elevation: 200 to 1,136 feet,
Size: 12.89 square miles,
Average temperature: 69.7 high; 45.5 low,
Annual rainfall: 28 inches.
Miles to Oakland: 17 miles west,
Miles to San Francisco: 24 miles west.
Driving miles to Bay Bridge 13 miles, BART commute time to San Francisco 30 minutes.
Lafayette enjoys thousands of trees in wooded areas teaming with birds, raccoons, squirrels, deer and other small animals. Visitors can hike around the Lafayette Reservoir or participate in annual 10K run, held usually around late October. Sponsored by the City of Lafayette and Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the event begins at Mt. Diablo Blvd. between First St. & Moraga Rd., heading west to El Nido Ranch Road, around the Lafayette Reservoir and back to Moraga Road.
The Annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival held in downtown Lafayette, California off Highway 24, west of the I-680/Highway 24 interchange is held one weekend, usually in September. It features more than 200 fine arts and crafts booths, restaurants, food vendors, wineries and microbreweries. Continuous musical entertainment presented on three stages and a kids area with entertainment and activities plus a special exhibit and sale of work by local artists make this well attended event perhaps the most popular local event of the year.
Lafayette Gallery and The Art Room is a cooperative of local artists with new exhibits mounted every eight weeks. Lafayette Gallery is housed with The Art Room, a private art school and studio offering a variety of art classes for children, teens and adults. Collaboration with The Gold Coast Chamber Players has resulted in striking new work developed to complement the musical group's performances throughout the year. The members' work can also be seen in a special "Local Artists" section of the annual Lafayette Art & Wine Festival held each year in September.
Lafayette Jazz Festival is a weeklong
community festival featuring students
from the local school programs playing
alongside some of the best jazz
musicians in the country. Dave
Brubeck group is among the past
performers. Produced by the Generations
in Jazz Foundation, the Festival is one
of many activities organized by this
group. Others include the Jazz in the
Park concerts held each week during the
month of September, the Lafayette Summer
Music Workshop, and Jazz Outreach.