Offering the epitome of California living, Livermore is known for harmonizing urban amenities with a relaxed lifestyle surrounded by vineyards and golden hillsides. Less than an hour from San Francisco, the city retained its rural flavor as an agricultural and ranching community until the surplus naval base was transformed into the internationally acclaimed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1952. A few years later, the city welcomed Sandia National Laboratory, which spurred a flood of new residents and high-tech businesses. To accommodate new residential developments, retail activity has accelerated in recent years, particularly along the Interstate 580 corridor. In spite of the cosmopolitan nature of the research laboratories and related companies, the area enjoys an ideal microclimate for growing popular grape varieties like sauvignon blanc and cabernet. Lovely vineyards have graced the valley since the mid 1800s, drawing locals and visitors to their tours, tastings, and colorful special events. The community offers a general aviation airport, recreation centers, senior centers, golf courses, lush local parks, and horse arenas. Del Valle Regional Park is ideal for hiking, biking, horseback riding, picnicking, fishing, boating, windsurfing, swimming, studying nature and camping.