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Courtesy of the City of Pleasanton

Pleasanton is an historic town that has aged gracefully from a Spanish homestead and gold rush stopover to a charming modern city. Located about 30 miles east of Oakland, it’s commuting distance to San Francisco (there are two BART commuter rail stops in town), though the city has its own cluster of employers, notably Kaiser Permanente, Oracle, and Safeway. Indeed, Pleasanton has track record of success stories, in business and elsewhere. Horseracing legend Seabiscuit trained here on the circa-1858 Pleasanton Fairgrounds Racetrack.

Fans of the stage can see theatrical performances at Pleasanton’s Amador Theater or Firehouse Arts Center. The city’s eclectic downtown is bustling with shops and restaurants, street fairs, festivals and markets, including the year-round Saturday farmers’ market featuring a cornucopia of California bounty.

As is common in California, home prices are steep. Modest ranch-style homes start around $600,000, and four-bedroom houses can easily hit $1 million.

See homes for sale in Pleasanton, Calif.