The city of Pinole is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, on the shores of San Pablo Bay in West Contra Costa County. Interstate-80, which traverses the city, connects the San Francisco/Oakland metropolitan area with Sacramento and points East. Pinole is linked to central Contra Costa County including the cities of Martinez, Concord, and Pleasant Hill by State Route 4, which begins just north of the city and connects with Interstate-680.
Today, the town is locally known for its "big box" shopping store district along Fitzgerald Avenue, and Pinole Vista Shopping Center, which is continuous with Richmond’s Hilltop Area. The downtown area still retains many turn-of-the-century building stock and is being preserved by the city's development agency as a historic area.