What to do in Orinda

It’s rare to find a sleepy bedroom community smack in the middle of a mass transit stop, but anyone familiar with the East Bay town of Orinda knows that BART’s location is a convenient landmark for anyone riding the rails.

The station straddles the town’s two districts — Theatre and Village — and makes getting around by foot or bike an easy feat. Both districts offer a variety of shopping and dining. The Theatre District’s action is centered around Theatre Square and Moraga Avenue. Venture a little further to Orinda Village on Orinda Way, and you’ll find a quaint, tree-lined street with antique shops, the library and adjacent Cafe Teatro, in addition to some dining gems.

With views of the rolling hills and peeks of cities beyond, Orinda begs to be savored in leisurely doses. Check out dining options, movie times and plan on a half-day of play.

Theatre Square

Orinda Theatre

This Art Deco-Modern movie house opened during the tail end of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1941. It serves as the centerpiece for the adjoining Theatre Square, a multi-story complex filled with shops, services, and dining establishments. Besides new-release screenings, the theater also offers free showings of classic films on the second Thursday of every month at 7 pm.

Republic of Cake

Republic of Cake

If these made-from-scratch cupcakes weren’t delicious enough, they taste even sweeter knowing the story behind the shop’s mission of raising funds for local charities and schools in the community. Enjoy a savory (Red Curry Pumpkin) or sweet (White Chocolate Raspberry) cupcake with a cup of coffee at one of the cafe tables available for Theatre Square plaza patrons.

Sanvitalia Home and Garden

Sanvitalia Home and Garden

The newly opened home decor shop recently relocated and reformatted from the owner’s previous location in the Oakland Hills. It’s stocked with sophisticated home goods, live arrangements, and holiday-theme decor and ornaments. Look for upcoming design services and workshops.

Orinda Village

Parker Thatch

Parker Thatch

This online retailer, formerly known as iomoi.com, recently set up shop along Orinda Way. With a loyal celebrity following, you too can customize your canvas and leather tote or tennis bag. Merchandise changes with the season, so besides the brand’s popular totes, look for home goods like cheeky lucite trays, small goods like sleeping masks, and stationery and desk supplies like cards and labels, all of which can be personalized.

The Refined Palate

The Refined Palate

Open for a little more than a year, The Refined Palate is one of the few Burmese restaurants in the East Bay. It’s a petite space with an equally petite menu, but don’t let that dissuade you from sampling the restaurant’s tea leaf salad, seafood chowder, or lamb marsala. Due to its size, it’s best to book online or call for a reservation for either lunch or dinner.

Orinda Books

Orinda Books

Every community needs an independent book store and Orinda residents are lucky to have had Orinda Books for more than 30 years. The shop changed hands last year and new owners are excited to bring in more book events and readings, expand on its children's book and reading activities, and add to its stock of stationary and gifts.

Subscribe. Follow. Share