Orinda is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. The population was 17,643 at the 2010 census, and was estimated in 2012 to have increased to 18,342. Orinda was ranked 2nd most friendly town in America by Forbes. The town is located just east of the city of Berkeley and is home to many affluent suburban professionals who commute to downtown Oakland, San Francisco, and Walnut Creek. Its location provides for a more rustic landscape, and Orinda’s many parks and trails make it a destination for many Bay Area hikers and naturalists.

 

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.7 square miles (33 km2), of which, 12.7 square miles (33 km2) of it is land and 0.015 square miles (0.039 km2) of it (0.12%) is water.

Climate

The area is characterized by a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csb) with cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. It is located in the Chaparralbiome. Because Orinda is located in a hilly area, microclimates often dominate temperature differences in short distances. The Oakland hills often block the cool foggy conditions that can be seen in Oakland and the innerbay. In the summer, fog can spill over the Oakland hills cooling off the area. Heatwaves from the inland areas can be felt much more in Orinda than in Oakland and the innerbay during the summer. In the winter, Orinda often sees more preciptation than surrounding areas because of its higher elevation. Snowfall is rare but not unheard of. A dusting of snow may occur any given year because of the elevation. During stable conditions in the winter, mornings can be rather cold and frosty in downtown and lower lying areas while the higher hills surrounding the area may be several degrees warmer.

Orinda, California
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
6
54
34
4.9
59
37
4.3
61
38
2.2
68
42
1.2
71
46
0.2
77
49
0
82
52
0.1
81
51
0.4
83
50
1.9
75
44
3.2
65
38
6.2
56
36
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
[hide]Climate data for Orinda Bowman, California (1944-1960)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 69
(21)
76
(24)
84
(29)
88
(31)
100
(38)
103
(39)
107
(42)
109
(43)
110
(43)
101
(38)
87
(31)
77
(25)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C) 54
(12)
59
(15)
61
(16)
68
(20)
71
(22)
77
(25)
82
(28)
81
(27)
83
(28)
75
(24)
65
(18)
56
(13)
69.3
(20.7)
Average low °F (°C) 34
(1)
37
(3)
38
(3)
42
(6)
46
(8)
49
(9)
52
(11)
51
(11)
50
(10)
44
(7)
38
(3)
36
(2)
43.1
(6.2)
Record low °F (°C) 15
(−9)
18
(−8)
23
(−5)
28
(−2)
32
(0)
35
(2)
42
(6)
40
(4)
32
(0)
26
(−3)
22
(−6)
19
(−7)
15
(−9)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.99
(152.1)
4.86
(123.4)
4.31
(109.5)
2.16
(54.9)
1.22
(31)
0.18
(4.6)
0.02
(0.5)
0.05
(1.3)
0.41
(10.4)
1.85
(47)
3.24
(82.3)
6.24
(158.5)
30.53
(775.5)
Avg. rainy days 11 9 10 5 4 1 0 1 1 4 7 11 64
Source: Western Regional Climate Center

 

 

Education

Primary and secondary school

Orinda has four public elementary schools: Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Wagner Ranch Elementary, Glorietta Elementary and Del Rey Elementary. Orinda Intermediate School is the only middle school. Together, these five schools comprise the Orinda Union School District. The town’s only high school, Miramonte High School, is a part of the Acalanes Union High School District.

Both districts are noted for their academic excellence. Each district is the highest ranked in California in its category according to the state Academic Performance Index (API). Miramonte High School also features strong athletic teams and has produced NFL players as Ken Dorsey, Drew Bennett and Bryan Barker, as well as several Olympians like women’s waterpolo player Heather Petri. Miramonte consistently has a high graduation rate of 99%-100%. The community support for education allows the high school to attract and retain very qualified teachers. The annual average teacher salary for the district is $74,135. The average principal salary for the district is $130,819.

Public libraries

The Orinda Library of the Contra Costa County Library is located in Orinda.

Sports, recreation, and the arts

The Orinda Theatre at night

Film festivals

Starting in 2002, Orinda began hosting the Orinda Film Festival, an annual regional film festival taking place at the historic Orinda Theatre managed by Randy Holleschau. In 2005, actorWilliam Hurt attended the festival to promote the film The Blue Butterfly in which he played a leading role. The festival was last held in 2005.

In August 2009, the California Independent Film Festival announced they will be making the Orinda Theatre their new home. CIFF held its first event in Orinda on September 18, 2009, in which a screening of The Birds was attended by actress Tippi Hedren. The 12th Annual California Independent Film Festival will be the first time the festival is held in Orinda, opening on April 22, 2010.

The California Shakespeare Theater

The internationally known California Shakespeare Theater, (a.k.a. “Cal Shakes”), performs from June to October at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater (located on land leased from EBMUD in the hills north of highway 24). The Theater’s conservatory operates throughout the year, featuring programs for children, teenagers, young actors, teachers and adults. The current artistic director is Jonathan Moscone, son of the late San Francisco mayor.

Swimming and water polo

Several Orinda summer-league swim teams compete for a championship cup in mid-August every year. Over two thousand individual swimmers typically participate. Orinda is also home to the popular year-round swim team, Orinda Aquatics. Orinda has raised numerous competitive swimmers (and waterpolo players) from Orinda have gone on to compete for major colleges and in the Olympics. Notables include Kirk Everist ’86 (US Olympic Team ’92 and ’96), Heather Petri ’96 (Gold: 2012 Olympics; Silver: 2000 Olympics, 2008 Olympics; Bronze: 2004 Olympics), andMichael Sharf (NCAA All-American, 2007 US National Team Member).