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Discover Benicia! Experience the charm of our friendly, historic waterfront community. Benicia lies nestled on the East Bay shoreline just 35 miles from the heart of San Francisco and 57 miles from Sacramento. Founded in 1847 and serving as California's State Capitol for thirteen months during 1853 and 1854, Benicia today retains its historic past while firmly embracing the best of modern life.
From the Civil War through the first half of the 20th century, much of Benicia's economic viability revolved around the Army's Benicia Arsenal. Today the Benicia Industrial Park occupies much of the old Arsenal, and art studios, boutiques and restaurants keep visitors returning to this charming waterfront community.
Benicia is easy to get to by car or by boat; the 320 slip marina downtown offers overnight slips and is a popular weekend destination for local sailors. By car, Benicia is at the intersection of Interstates 780 and 680, just across the new Bridge from Contra Costa County. With the new Bridge's open road tolling system, it's even faster to get to Benicia from the rest of the Bay Area. Benicia's Marina is a full service marina offering a fuel dock, pump-out station, launch ramp, general store, restrooms and showers, laundry facilities and secured gates. It is a short, two block walk to downtown. The downtown shopping district centers around First Street, which beckons shoppers eager to explore its boutiques, art lovers and collectors looking for exciting new works, and families enjoying the small town neighborliness. Throughout the year there are concerts, open studios, outdoor movies, festivals and a farmers' market downtown. The July 3rd Torchlight Parade, Christmas Open House, and Fine Art and Handicraft Fair are a few of the annual highlights.
History surrounds Benicia, named for the wife of General Mariano Vallejo, one of Benicia's founders and Spain's last commandant General in California. The city, rich in tradition, is home to more than 40 historic sites. Benicia's profile includes the states oldest (and fully restored) state capitol building, arsenal, original site of Mills College, and the first Protestant Church and Masonic Temple in California. History buffs step back into the past at Benicia's Camel Barn and Fire Museums. Benicia's history is alive not only in the buildings, but in the people who inhabit her.
The most recent San Francisco Chronicles of Bay Area communities named Benicia the Number 1 place to raise a family. The Benicia Unified School District consistently scores the highest Scholastic Achievement Scores (SAT) in Solano County, rated in the top15% of all school districts nationwide by School Match, Inc.
Over 28,000 people are fortunate to call Benicia home, where schools are ranked high in the state, the crime rate is very low, and cool breezes off the Carquinez Strait keep the weather near perfect with an average of 69 degrees.
Benicia's small town atmosphere combines the richness of the past with the amenities of today. Fine dining, comfortable cafes, treasure filled antique stores and eclectic shopping are all to be discovered amidst the beautifully maintained 19th century architecture.