Surprising Place to See Cool Cars, Take a Walk in San Ramon

Looking for a surprising–and surprisingly beautiful–place to take a walk in San Ramon, California? This one might be a bit out there, but it’s a cool local tip we wanted to share.

If you need a peaceful place to take a little stroll in San Ramon, check out the roof of City Center Bishop Ranch. You can drive up to the roof by entering the parking garage and heading up the ramps to the fourth floor. There’s ample parking, so it’s easy to find a spot.

Some of the Best Views in San Ramon

What you’ll find up there are some surprisingly beautiful views. You get a panoramic view of downtown San Ramon, San Ramon’s Central Park, and the sprawling campus of the Bishop Ranch office park.

View from the roof.

Off in the distance, you’ll see Mount Diablo, with its dramatic slopes that are pleasingly green this time of the year.

Aerial view of the Bishop Ranch office park in San Ramon, California, 2020.

Especially on weekdays, there’s not much traffic up on the roof, but always be on the lookout for cars. The roof is shaded by an array of solar panels, so it’s a pleasant place to stroll around and explore even when there’s bright sun. The whole building was designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, so the architecture at City Center is surprisingly dramatic and interesting for a shopping mall.

Hunt for Exotic Cars

One other unexpected benefit of the roof is that many people who drive fancy, exotic cars park their cars up there. They’re likely looking for parking spaces where there’s plenty of room on each side of their pricey vehicles, so no one will dent their expensive paintwork getting out of their own car. If you’re a car enthusiast, you can often find some really interesting vehicles during your stroll. On a recent visit, I saw a high-end McLaren car parked up there. 

Especially on weekends when City Center can get packed, I’ve seen people strolling around the roof, enjoying the calm space while drinking a bubble tea from Boba Guys or eating an ice cream cone from Gio Gelati (City Center has some of the best restaurants in San Ramon.) Perhaps it’s not as bucolic as a park–and again, watch for cars–but the roof at City Center Bishop Ranch is a surprisingly nice place to stroll around.

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Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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