Pinole is located on either side of Interstate 80, and has began growing in the latter part of the 19th century as a commercial center, and a small port on San Pablo Bay. Many of these original buildings still remain, and are being preserved as a historic site. Things began to develop quickly for Pinole after World War II, when returning GI's began looking for homes in the area. This growth was encouraged a bit more after Interstate 80 was completed, making trips to Pinole and neighboring cities of Richmond to the west, and El Sobrante to the south, easy to complete. [Read more...]
This quiet town of post war homes began to take on a new commercial life in the early part of the 21st century, as it built numerous large shopping centers housing groceries, restaurants, movie theaters, and national big box chains. The newest, and the smallest is the Pinole Valley Shopping Center with popular Peet's Coffee and Trader Joes. Two others, very much larger are along highway 80, adjacent to Richmond Hilltop Mall, and this conglomeration of retail has been extremely sucessful for the city.
All is not shopping in Pinole, however. It has a small town feel, and recreational opportunities abound for families. Just south on 80, below El Sobrante, is the Wildcat Canyon Regional Reserve which is ideal for hiking, biking, and picnicking. If fishing or boating is of interest, nearby San Pablo Reservoir offers boat rentals, fishing, picnicking, and launch ramps for boats of every kind including kayaks and canoes.