Orinda is one of the newer cities in the Bay Area as it was incorporated in 1985. It has been ranked as the second most friendly town by Forbes. The area arose from four Mexican land grants and was likely given the name in honor of a great poet, Katherine Phillips (aka Matchless Orinda). The creation of Caldecott Tunnel in 1937 was the impetus for growth in the region. The city is neighbored by Lafayette and Berkeley while also being close to Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, and Concord.
The area is served by Acalanes Union High School District and Orinda Union School District. The schools are considered in the top tier of schools in the State and have even produced a few professional athletes such as Ken Dorsey and Drew Bennett.
Orinda has over 18,000 individuals with the average household income exceeding $187,000 a year. The population is mostly Caucasian but Hispanics and Native Americans make up a substantial portion too.
Many events occur in Orinda with the pinnacle being the Orinda Film Festival, which started in 2002, for several years. The California Independent Film Festival made Orinda it’s new home in 2009. In addition, Orinda is home to the California Shakespeare Theater, which runs from June to October. In addition to the arts, Orinda has a huge swimming and water polo community. It has raised numerous, exceptional swimmers like Heather Petri and Michael Sharf. Some of them were even part of the Orinda Aquatics, the local swim team.
Residents also visit the neighboring cities of Concord and Walnut Creek as they both have a rich downtown. Another significant event is the Blackhawk Food, Wine, and Film Festival that is organized by the Danville/Sycamore Rotary. Wineries from Livermore and fine dining establishments from Danville bring their delicious foods and savory wines for patrons. Orinda is a key bridge to the Bay Area for Contra Costa county.