Majestic Mount Diablo frames Walnut Creek’s vista. Tidy homes and office parks inhabit this affluent East Bay community. Downtown’s Broadway Plaza accommodates both mom-and-pop shops and multinational retailers. Nearby, the Lesher Center for the Arts is a regional theater powerhouse. Walnut Creek can get as hot as a desert—a fact visible at The Ruth Bancroft Garden, where cacti and agave thrive.