Introduction to Livermore, California
Founded in 1869, Livermore is a city in Alameda County, California, located 34 miles east of Oakland and about 46 miles east of San Francisco. It is considered part of the San Francisco Bay Area although it is the Bay Area's easternmost city before entering the Central Valley. The city was named after Robert Livermore, a local rancher and friend of the city's founder William Mendenhall. Livermore was officially incorporated as a city in 1876.
The city is surrounded by Livermore Valley, well known for its wineries and the location of the Livermore Valley American Viticultural Area. In the early sixties, Livermore remained relatively unknown despite having as much wine-producing area as its neighboring region of Napa, which gained worldwide prominence. Wente and Concannon are the two largest producers in Livermore, although there are over 25 wineries currently in operation. Livermore's best known red wine is derived from the relatively obscure Petite Sirah grape, although many interesting dessert wines are also produced by the region's warm climate.
Livermore is home to two nationally-known laboratories. The city's largest employer is the University of California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), established in 1952. The California site of the Sandia National Laboratories is the 3rd largest employer in the city.
Livermore is also known as home to the world's longest lasting light bulb. Except for power failures and location shifts, the 4-watt bulb has been burning continuously since 1901 and currently burns brightly at the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department. Originally hand blown with a carbon filament by the Shelby Electric Company, the bulb has drawn widespread interest from around the world as well as from The Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley's Believe It or Not. It even has its own webcam keeping a watchful eye on its continuous glow.
Livermore Arts, Culture, and Attractions
Since 1918, Livermore has hosted the Livermore Rodeo, billed as the "Worlds Fastest Rodeo". Livermore is also home to Del Valle Fine Arts, a producer of chamber music concerts. Other local artistic draws include the Livermore Valley Opera, the Livermore-Amador Symphony, the Valley Choral Society, and the Valley Dance Theatre.
Other attractions in Livermore and nearby surroundings are: the Livermore Hindu Temple, the Altamont Pass Windfarms, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Discovery Center. The Livermore History Center and Art Gallery facilitates walking tours of the historic downtown area.
Outdoor recreation can be found at Del Valle Regional Park, where swimming, fishing, hiking, picnicking, windsurfing, and horseback riding take place. Waterslides abound at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park, which features water activities of all kinds. Hiking and biking trails can be found at Robertson Park.
Access to Bay Area attractions in the San Francisco area is less than an hour's drive away. Some of these include: Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Zoo, Chinatown, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Cable Car Museum.
Racing fans will recognize Altamont Raceway Park, located just outside of Livermore, as a noted venue to enjoy the excitement of auto/stock car racing. Once known as Altamont Speedway, this site has attracted some of the biggest names in racing history, including Andretti, Foyt, and Unser. Rock fans will remember it as the site of a heavily-documented Rolling Stones free concert which took place in 1969.
Fans of pro sports in general can catch the action from Bay Area teams located within an hour's drive:
- National Basketball Association: Golden State Warriors
- National Hockey League: San Jose Sharks
- National Football League: Oakland Raiders & San Francisco 49'ers
- Arena League Football: San Jose SaberCats
- Baseball (Majors): Oakland Athletics & San Francisco Giants
- Baseball (Minors): San Jose Giants (Single-A SF Giants affiliate)
- Major League Lacrosse: San Francisco Dragons
- Major League Soccer: San Jose Earthquakes