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Happily solidifying suburb

Stretching interminably along Mount Diablo Boulevard, downtown Lafayette was always a middle finger to Ecco-wearing window shoppers—until the hub around Mount Diablo and First arrived this year as a legit strolling zone, with a fancy town library, a commons buzzing with events, the busiest Peet’s and Chow on earth, an actually cool bar-restaurant (Metro Lafayette), and the final piece for any ’burb worth its smoked salt—a new Whole Foods.