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Berkeley (California)

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University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley [1] is a mid-sized city in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Situated in the East Bay, Berkeley is renowned for its world-class university, liberal politics, 1960s Free Speech Movement roots, and cultural and culinary pursuits.

Understand[edit]

For a city of just 112,000 people, Berkeley's has a super-sized presence. Berkeley has a strong reputation for its liberal politics, which are rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. Although Oakland, its southern neighbor, is considered the new center of liberal political activism, the progressive spirit is alive and well here just as it is in nearby San Francisco.

Visitors will find an eclectic mix of cultures and attitudes in free-thinking Berkeley. Today's Berkeley is not as radical as the one found in modern American history books, but the sense of vitality that pervades much of the city can be attributed to the variety of students, scientists, activists, hippies, and yuppies that call it home.

Climate[edit]

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 55 57 60 62 64 68 68 68 69 68 62 55
Nightly lows (°F) 41 44 44 46 50 51 53 53 53 51 46 42
Precipitation (in) 5.1 4.2 3.5 1.7 0.8 0.2 0.1 0.4 1.3 2.9 4.1

Check Berkeley's 7 day forecast at NOAA

The Bay Area has a mild climate year-round with wet winters and dry summers. Air conditioning is not considered essential, and in fact, is needed only a few days each year. Berkeley is situated on San Francisco Bay directly across from the Golden Gate, so the city is foggier than nearby Oakland but still much clearer than San Francisco. As with many coastal California cities, fog tends to roll in during the early evening and linger until mid-morning. Brisk winds often blow off the bay water, so it can feel chilly along the waterfront and in exposed western-facing hillsides.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Oakland International Airport (IATA: OAK) is the closest, most convenient airport to Berkeley. Located 15 miles south of the city, the airport is 20-30 minutes away by car or 40 minutes away by public transit. Many travelers opt to take BART [2]: From the airport, take the "AirBART" bus to the Coliseum Station and then board a Richmond-bound train. Alternatively, you can opt for a taxi or shuttle van, both of which provide door-to-door service at a premium price.
  • San Francisco International Airport (IATA: SFO) is also convenient to Berkeley. Because it is situated further from town, most travelers opt to take BART. BART boards at the airport's International Terminal, and timed transfers are provided to Richmond-bound trains at 19th Street/Oakland Station. Total travel time on BART is just under an hour. The drive is 30 minutes with light traffic, but the Bay Bridge corridor is often congested and the trip often takes about an hour. Taxis and shuttle vans provide door-to-door service but come at a huge price markup compared to BART.
  • San Jose International Airport (IATA: SJC) is located in the Bay Area, but it is an hour's drive from Berkeley in light traffic. The trip to SJC by public transit is indirect and time consuming. While using SJC is not advisable, if you do decide to use it, it is best to rent a car to reach Berkeley.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak [3] provides service along its Capitol Corridor route directly to Berkeley. All other Amtrak services stop in nearby Richmond and Emeryville. The Berkeley station is located at University Avenue and Fourth Street, which is conveniently linked to the rest of town by the frequent-but-slow AC Transit [4] Route 51B. Travelers wishing to reach downtown Berkeley may find it faster to use the Richmond station and ride BART instead. Direct AC Transit service between Emeryville and Berkeley was discontinued in 2010, but travelers wishing to use that station can consult 511 [5] for trip planning assistance.

By bus[edit]

By car[edit]

  • From San Francisco, Berkeley is 15 minutes (double or more with congestion) east on Interstate 80 across the Bay Bridge.
  • From Sacramento, Berkeley is an hour and a half (more with congestion) west on Interstate 80.
  • From Los Angeles and Southern California, Berkeley can be reached by driving north on Interstate 5 (connecting to I-580 in the Central Valley) or U.S. Highway 101 (connecting to I-880 in San Jose). I-5 takes about 6 hours and is not at all scenic, while Highway 101 takes about 7 hours and offers more varied scenery en route.

By boat[edit]

If you are traveling by private boat or charter yacht, Berkeley has a 1,100-berth marina [8] with guest berthing available. Berkeley has the largest municipal marina in the Bay Area.

Get around[edit]

Berkeley Map

By car[edit]

It is possible to get around Berkeley with a car, but it isn't essential except in the most remote parts of the steep Berkeley hills. While the street grid seems straightforward at first, many visitors may be surprised by the plethora of barriers in residential neighborhoods that prevent through traffic. Also, some intersections have special turn restrictions for cars but not bicycles. There are several one-way streets near the center of town, and roads in the hills can be difficult to navigate after dark.

Automobiles share the road with a great number of bicyclists and pedestrians in town, and drivers should be mindful of bicyclists and pedestrians that seem oblivious to their surroundings. While bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as cars, and pedestrians only have right-of-way once they enter the roadway, this isn't always the case in practice. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Freeways can be tricky to navigate in Berkeley. Interstate 80, which runs north-south through the west side of town, is actually designated east-west (to Sacramento and San Francisco, respectively). It is also signed for Interstate 580, which runs east-west as well (to the Central Valley and San Rafael, respectively). In other words, I-80 west is also I-580 east. Locals sometimes refer to the freeway by its name, the Eastshore Freeway, to prevent confusion.

Parking can be difficult and expensive downtown and near Telegraph Avenue. The easiest but most expensive parking is available in parking garages [9]. Street parking is relatively easy to find during metered hours (until 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday), but it can be near impossible to find a spot during dinner hours. Parking on the university campus is heavily restricted at all times, so be extremely careful to avoid tickets with hefty price tags.

Special parking restrictions exist throughout town on Cal football game days, so pay close attention to all posted signs. Be mindful of posted residential parking regulations and street sweeping schedules. Near downtown in particular, residential parking can be completely off-limits to anyone without a special permit. If one side of a street is completely free of parked cars, there's a good chance it is street sweeping day. Lastly, be aware that multiple tickets can be issued for the same violation. For example, parking for 1 hour in a 20-minute green zone could result in 2 tickets!

By public transit[edit]

Like nearby San Francisco, Berkeley is well-served by public transit.

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) [10], the regional metro system, offers excellent service through Berkeley and to/from San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area. Berkeley is served by two lines: The Richmond-Fremont line (designated orange on maps but referred to by destination station name) operates daily and has timed transfers to all trains in Oakland, providing efficient service to almost every station in the system. The Richmond-Millbrae line (designated red on maps but referred to by destination station name) operates weekdays until 8 p.m., and on Saturdays it operates as the Richmond-Daly City line during daytime hours only. Berkeley is served by 3 stations: Ashby, Downtown Berkeley (simply "Berkeley" on older signs), and North Berkeley. The Downtown Berkeley stop is located at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, one block west of the university campus, and is the primary stop for all visitors. Fares vary depending upon distance traveled; the one-way fare to the San Francisco stations along Market Street (Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, and Civic Center) currently costs $3.70.
  • AC Transit [11] provides extensive local, Rapid, and Transbay bus service in Berkeley and throughout the East Bay. Route 51B provides frequent local service connecting most major business districts in town, and Route F provides Transbay service to San Francisco all day. Consult 511 [12] for trip planning assistance. The adult fare is $2.10 within the East Bay and $4.20 for Transbay service to San Francisco; a transfer good for one use is 25¢ for East Bay travel and free for Transbay travel.
  • Bear Transit [13] provides day and night bus service in and around the UC Berkeley campus. The service was contracted to a private operator in 2012, so buses are not as easily identifiable as they once were. Fares are $1.00 for most day services and free for all night services.

By bicycle[edit]

It is very popular to get around Berkeley by bicycle. There is an extensive network of bicycle trails, on-street bicycle lanes, and designated bicycle boulevards [14] crisscrossing all but the steepest parts of town. Bicycle racks are prevalent throughout town. Bicycle theft is commonplace, so bicycles (include frame, tires, and other removable parts) should always be locked. U-locks should be used; cable locks are not a sufficient deterrent to theft. For longer journeys, all AC Transit buses are equipped with bicycle racks and BART allows bicycles on board all trains. Do not take bicycles on the first car at any time or the first three during rush hour. Folding bicycles are allowed without any restrictions.

By foot[edit]

Berkeley is filled with pedestrian activity, and walking is often the best way to get around downtown and the university campus. Walking is also commonplace elsewhere in town, but distances are sufficiently long enough to make bicycling and public transit more attractive options. There are walking paths located throughout the hills, which allow pedestrians to avoid walking on steep, narrow streets with automobile traffic.

By ferry[edit]

Ferry service operates between San Francisco and nearby Oakland, but it is not very convenient for visitors to Berkeley. San Francisco Bay Ferry [15] plans to run ferry service from San Francisco to Berkeley too, but a dock at the marina has not yet been built and a start date has not been announced.

See[edit][add listing]

The Campanile, UC Berkeley
  • Berkeley Art Museum (BAM), 2626 Bancroft Way (AC Transit Routes 49, 51B, 52, and F and Bear Transit to Bancroft & College), +1 510-642-0808, [16]. Wed-Sun 11am-5pm. This small museum packs a big punch with high-profile rotating exhibits and its own collection. Housed in a striking modern structure, this museum is affiliated with UC Berkeley. $10 adults, $7 students/seniors/disabled.  edit
  • Berkeley Marina and Pier, 201 University Ave (AC Transit Route 51B), [17]. Daily 6am-10pm. Home to restaurants, sailing clubs, and Cesar Chavez Park, the Berkeley Marina is also the site of the lengthy Berkeley Pier. Once over 2 miles long and used by cars to access ferries to San Francisco, about 3/4-mile of the pier remains open to pedestrians. Besides fishing, the pier is popular with sightseers interested in views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline. Cesar Chavez Park is popular for kites because of the strong winds off the Bay, and the annual kite festival is held there every July. Free.  edit
  • Berkeley Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Ave (AC Transit Route 65), [18]. Daily dawn-dusk. Opened in 1937 under the Works Progress Administration, the Berkeley Rose Garden houses 250 varieties of roses amongst some 3,000 bushes in a setting that offers views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Free.  edit
  • Indian Rock Park, 950 Indian Rock Ave (AC Transit Routes 7 and H to The Arlington & Indian Rock Path), [19]. Daily 6am-10pm. Opened in 1917, this park is centered around a large rock outcropping, and steps carved into the side lead to striking vistas of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and surrounding areas. The park is popular with beginning rock climbers during the day, and sunsets are a popular time for friends and couples to visit. Free.  edit
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Dr (AC Transit Route 65 and Bear Transit Line H), +1 510-642-5132, [20]. Daily 10am-5pm. Located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus, the Lawrence Hall of Science offers hands-on science exhibits, an animal interaction room, and a hands-on design/build room perfect for children. A planetarium show is offered for an additional $4. $12 adults, $9 students/seniors/disabled, $6 children.  edit
  • Pacific Film Archive (PFA), 2575 Bancroft Way (AC Transit Routes 49, 51B, 52, and F and Bear Transit to Bancroft & College), +1 510-642-1412, [21]. Box office daily 11am-5pm. With one of the most extensive film archives in the world, the PFA offers presents film series focusing on directors, eras, and artistic movements. Screenings also take place during the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. $9.50 adults, $6.50 students/seniors/disabled.  edit
  • People's Park, 2556 Haste St (AC Transit Route 1 to Telegraph & Dwight), [22]. Daily 6am-10pm. This historically significant space, a landmark of the 1960s Free Speech Movement, is a lightning rod of debate within the local community. Reclaimed from UC Berkeley by the community in 1969 and converted to parkland, People's Park is now considered a dangerous, unkempt area best visited in history books. While many people venture into People's Park during the day, the area is best avoided at night. Free.  edit
  • Sather Tower (The Campanile), South Hall Rd & South Dr (AC Transit Routes 1, 49, 51B, 52, and F to Bancroft & Telegraph), [23]. Mon-Fri 10am-3:45pm, Sat 10am-4:45pm, Sun 10am-1:30pm & 3pm-4:45pm. The Campanile, which opened in 1914, is a 307-foot tower that is easily identifiable from miles away. Visitors ride an elevator to the top observation deck for sweeping views of Berkeley and San Francisco Bay. The Campanile's carillon consists of 61 massive bells that play brief concerts daily at 7:50am, noon, and 6pm. A longer performance is held every Sunday at 2pm. The bells can be heard across campus. $2 general, $1 seniors.  edit
  • Tilden Regional Park, Central Park Dr & Lake Anza Rd (AC Transit Route 67), +1 888-327-2757, [24]. Daily 5am-10pm. One of the oldest parks in the entire San Francisco Bay Area, Tilden Park offers a variety of recreational activities. Several miles of hiking trails cater to all skill levels, and some offer striking vistas of Berkeley, San Francisco Bay, and nearby undeveloped hills. Popular paid attractions include a steam train, merry-go-round (carousel), and swimming at Lake Anza. The Brazilian Building is a popular venue for weddings, and there is a golf course too (see separate listing). Free.  edit
  • University of California, Berkeley (Cal), 101 Sproul Hall (BART to Downtown Berkeley station), +1 510-642-5215, [25]. Mon-Fri 8:30am-4:30pm. The Visitor Center, located on the south side of campus near the Telegraph Avenue business district, provides a good first stop for people interested in wandering around Cal's attractive 178-acre campus. Student ambassadors lead walking tours daily (Mon-Sat 10am, Sun 1pm), and group and self-guided tours are also available. Free.  edit
  • UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, 200 Centennial Dr (Bear Transit Line H), +1 510-643-2755, [26]. Daily 10am-5pm, closed first Tue each month. Located in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus, the UC Botanical Garden (not to be confused with the botanical garden in Tilden Park) is an outdoor museum, park, and biological research facility for the university. The 34-acre garden hosts over 12,000 species of plant life. Docent-led tours, which are included with admission, are offered on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:30pm. $10 adults, $8 students/seniors, $5 juniors, $2 children.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Alternative Music Foundation (924 Gilman), 924 Gilman St (AC Transit Routes 25, H, and Z), +1 510-524-8180, [27]. The famous punk rock club known simply by its address, 924 Gilman is open to all ages and prides itself in its non-profit, straight-edge, DIY approach to art and music. Shows are typically held Friday and Saturday evenings.  edit
  • Berkeley Repertory Theater (Berkeley Rep), 2025 Addison St (BART to Downtown Berkeley station), +1 510-647-2949, [28]. Box office Tue-Sun noon-7pm. Producing consistently high-quality productions of contemporary and historical plays since its founding in 1968, the Berkeley Rep is a primary center of theater on the West Coast. The theater is pleasantly modern.  edit
  • California Golden Bears Football, Memorial Stadium (Special shuttles from Downtown Berkeley and Rockridge BART stations), +1 800-462-3277, [29]. The newly renovated Memorial Stadium, which stradles the Hayward Fault on the UC Berkeley campus, hosts home games for the school's popular football team. Blue and gold are safe bets, but Stanford colors are not recommended.  edit
  • Golden Gate Fields, 1100 Eastshore Highway (Free shuttle from North Berkeley BART station), +1 510-559-7300, [30]. First race 12:45pm or 1:15pm. Golden Gate Fields is the only horse racing track still open in the Bay Area. Dollar Days on Sundays are a popular time to come out for a leisurely day of spectating and gambling. Grandstand $1 or $6.  edit
  • Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Rd (AC Transit Routes 52 and F and Bear Transit), +1 510-548-3010, [31]. This striking outdoor amphitheater, nestled into a hill on the UC Berkeley campus, attracts big name concerts and other events. Ticketing is available through Cal Performances and Oakland's Fox Theater in addition to Ticketmaster.  edit
  • Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse, 901 Gilman St (AC Transit Routes 25, H, and Z), +1 510-528-9880, [32]. Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm. Pyramid Brewery offers free 45-minute tours of its brewing facility daily at 4pm. Tours are open to all ages and are followed by a free tasting (root beer for everyone under 21).  edit
  • Takara Sake USA Tasting Room and Sake Museum, 708 Addison St (AC Transit Route 51B to Berkeley Amtrak station), +1 510-540-8250, [33]. Daily noon-6pm, 11am-5pm Sundays in winter. A selection of sake and plum wines is available in an attractive tasting room, and a video describing sake production is shown. The sake museum features the only display of sake-making artifacts and implements in America. $5.  edit
  • Tilden Park Golf Course, 10 Golf Course Dr (AC Transit Route 65 to Grizzly Peak & Senior), +1 510-848-7373, [34]. This 18-hole, par 70 public golf course opened in 1970. The course also features a 3-tier driving range and bar and grill.  edit

Learn[edit]

  • University of California, Berkeley, [35]. This world-class university consistently ranked as one of the best public universities in the country. The university has study abroad programs, and international students typically choose to stay at the appropriately named International House (or "I House" as it is typically called). Extension classes are available to the general public [36].  edit

Work[edit]

  • Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, 1834 University Ave (AC Transit Routes 25, 51B, 52, and 88), +1 510-549-7000, [37]. The chamber of commerce provides business resources and events.  edit
  • UC Berkeley offers work-study programs.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Large chain stores have only a minor presence in Berkeley, except for the ubiquitous drug stores, so shopping has a unique local flavor to it.

Downtown Berkeley[edit]

Home to City Hall, office buildings, Downtown Berkeley BART Station, and a variety of shops and restaurants. Limited parking, so arriving by BART, bus, bike, or foot is easiest. Centered around Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, and touching the west edge of the UC Berkeley campus.

  • Berkeley Farmers' Market, Center St between MLK Jr Way & Milvia St, +1 510-548-3333, [38]. Sat 10am-3pm. Excellent produce market features prepared foods, performers, and booths for local organizations. Smaller farmers' markets are held in South Berkeley on Tuesday afternoons and North Berkeley on Thursday afternoons. See website for details.  edit
  • Games of Berkeley, 2151 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-540-7822, [39]. Mon-Sat 10am-9pm. Quirky game shop carries an extensive selection of board and card games, game-related accessories and figurines, kites, and puzzles. Hosts free board game nights every Tuesday.  edit
  • Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-649-1320, [40]. Mon-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-10:45pm, Sun 10am-10pm. Smaller than Moe's but still a popular place to do new and used book shopping. Hosts occasional literary events. The annual calendar sale (starts every January 1) is extremely popular. The North Berkeley location (1855 Solano Ave) stocks slightly different books and periodicals but also participates in the calendar sale.  edit

South of Campus[edit]

The colorful Telegraph Avenue business district [41] is home to budget- and student-focused stores and restaurants, street vendors, and an interesting assortment of gutter punks and people trying to relive the glory days of the 1960s. Along Telegraph Avenue from Bancroft Way to Dwight Way.

The appealing Elmwood business district [42] is centered around College and Ashby avenues, located between the UC campus and Oakland's Rockridge District.

  • Amoeba Music, 2455 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-549-1125, [43]. Mon-Thu 10:30am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-10pm, Sun 11am-8pm. The original Amoeba location (later joined by larger San Francisco and Hollywood outlets) has a huge selection of new and used CDs, LPs, and DVDs. Occasional free live performances.  edit
  • Berkeley Flea Market (Ashby Flea Market), Ashby BART Station parking lot, +1 510-644-0744, [44]. Sat-Sun 7am-7pm. A lively flea market (swap meet), also includes food trucks and drumming circles.  edit
  • Berkeley Hat Company, 2510 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-549-2955, [45]. Mon-Thu 10:30am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-6:30pm, Sun noon-5:30pm. Features a wide variety or regular and unique hats, as well as gloves and other accessories.  edit
  • Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-849-2087, [46]. Daily 10am-10pm. Compact 4-story bookstore that stocks new and used titles. Occasional in-store readings. Moe's has an online presence as well.  edit
  • Rasputin Music, 2401 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-704-1146, [47]. Mon-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 10:30am-8pm, Sun noon-8pm. The "other" local indie record store also features a large selection of new and used CDs, LPs, and DVDs. Occasional free live performances.  edit
  • Shakespeare & Co Books, 2499 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-841-8916, [48]. Mon-Thu 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 11am-8pm. A treasure trove of used books since 1964, features works by Shakespeare and others.  edit

North Berkeley[edit]

The Gourmet Ghetto business district [49] gets its name from the area's numerous gourmet food options. Along Shattuck Avenue between Virginia and Rose streets.

The quaint Solano Avenue business district [50] caters to more affluent families that live in the hills. The popular Solano Stroll street fair is held every September. Along Solano Avenue from The Alameda to the Albany city limit.

  • The Bone Room, 1569 Solano Ave, +1 510-526-5252, [51]. Tue-Wed & Fri-Sat 11am-6pm, Thu 11am-9pm. Specializes in natural science and things once alive. Includes real bones, genuine fossils, bone and fossil replicas, and native and exotic insects.  edit

West Berkeley[edit]

The yuppified Fourth Street business district [52] is noteworthy for its upscale shopping. Along Fourth Street from Hearst Avenue to Virginia Street.

The corner of University and San Pablo avenues is the commercial hub of the local Mexican and South Asian community. Businesses include Mexican and halal markets and numerous Indian and Pakistani restaurants.

  • Black Oak Books, 2618 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-486-0698, [53]. Daily 11am-7pm. Wide selection of new and used books. Store used to be located in the Gourmet Ghetto but was forced out due to rising rents.  edit
  • East Bay Vivarium, 1827 5th St, +1 510-841-1400, [54]. Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6pm. One of the country's premier reptile specialty stores.  edit
  • Premier Cru, 1011 University Ave, +1 510-644-9463, [55]. Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm. A wine aficionado's dream, features all kind of wine imaginable.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

California's fresh food movement started in Berkeley, and the city's restaurant scene thrives to this day. A diverse mix of cultures and proximity to San Francisco, fertile farms, and exquisite wineries support a broad range of cuisines that are sure to please everyone at every price point.

Budget[edit]

Downtown[edit]

  • Au Coquelet, 2000 University Ave, +1 510-845-0433, [56]. Sun-Thu 6am-1:30am, Fri-Sat 6am-2am. Attracts a variety of students and locals, and is especially popular with the late-night crowd. Front cafe serves pastries, desserts, and coffee and the back restaurant serves a full menu.  edit
  • Bobby G's Pizzeria, 2072 University Ave, +1 510-665-8866, [57]. Daily 11am-11pm. Popular place for pizza, beer, assorted events, and sports game viewings.  edit
  • Brazil Cafe (Brazil Fresh Squeeze Cafe), 2161 University Ave, +1 510-845-8011. Mon-Sun 11:30am-8:30pm. Unassuming but brightly colored permanent outbuilding serves popular tri-tip sandwiches, mango smoothies, and other fare and has been featured in the likes of National Geographic. Pedro, the friendly owner, can be found chatting with diners and offering them free samples.  edit
  • Long Life Vegi House, 2129 University Ave, +1 510-845-6072. Wed-Mon 11:30am-10pm, Tue 5pm-9:30pm. Cheap full service restaurant offers a variety of vegetarian and seafood dishes. Lunch specials offer amazing value for money.  edit
  • PIQ Berkeley, 91 Shattuck Square, +1 510-540-7700, [58]. Mon-Thu 7am-9pm, Fri 7am-10pm, Sat 9am-10pm, Sun 9am-8:30pm. Italian bakery and cafe also offers salads, panini sandwiches, and pizza. Indoor mezzanine and outdoor seating is available.  edit
  • Sliver, 2132 Center St, +1 510-356-4044, [59]. Mon-Sat 11:30am-9pm. Offers vegetarian pizza-of-the-day and salad-of-the-day, as well as drinks. Free live music. Basically an exact duplicate of the Cheese Board (see North Berkeley listing) but with better hours.  edit
  • Slow, 1966 University Ave, +1 510-647-3663, [60]. Mon 11am-3:30pm, Tue-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9pm. Compact restaurant uses fresh local ingredients to create meals in a modest setting at reasonable prices.  edit

Campus Area[edit]

  • CREAM, 2399 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-649-1000, [61]. Mon-Wed noon-midnight, Thu-Fri noon-2am, Sat-Sun 11am-2am. Wildly popular dessert shop specializes in custom-made ice cream cookie sandwiches for just $2.  edit
  • Crepes A-Go-Go, 2334 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-486-2310. Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm. Hole in the wall that serves sweet and savory crepes and other food for a quick meal.  edit
  • Gypsy's Trattoria Italiana, 2519 Durant Ave, +1 510-548-4860, [62]. Daily 10am-midnight. Average food for average prices, but popular with students because of its convenient location and long hours. Situated on the street side of the Durant Square food court, known locally as the Asian Ghetto.  edit
  • Smart Alec's, 2355 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-704-4000, [63]. Daily 11am-9pm. Popular for its surprisingly healthy air-baked fries, veggie and regular burgers, soups, and large salads. Large windows make it easy to people watch while dining.  edit
  • Top Dog, 2534 Durant Ave, +1 510-843-7250, [64]. Mon-Thu 10am-2am, Fri 10am-3am, Sat 11am-3am, Sun 11am-2am. Extremely popular, cozy spot serves meat and veggie dogs with the best fixings and a large side of libertarian viewpoints. The low-key downtown location (at 2160 Center St) works in a pinch, but it closes earlier (11pm Mon-Sat, 10pm Sun) and lacks the original spot's sense of history.  edit
  • Urbann Turbann, 1870 Euclid Ave, +1 510-704-0109, [65]. Mon-Fri 11am-8pm. An inexpensive spot for Indian wraps and rice bowls on the north side of campus. Choose from a variety of fillings, many organic and locally sourced, along with fresh vegetables and chutneys. Samosas, naan, and lassi drinks as well.  edit
  • Yogurt Park, 2433 Durant Ave, +1 510-549-0570, [66]. Daily 11am-midnight. Around long before frozen yogurt became a fad, large servings of tasty fro-yo have been dished out here since 1977. Not the place if you want DIY toppings, but perfect otherwise. The shakes are great too.  edit

North Berkeley[edit]

  • Cheese Board Pizzeria, 1512 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-549-3183, [67]. Tue Sat 11:30am-3pm & 4:30pm-8pm. The Cheese Board is a worker-owned co-op and Berkeley institution serving vegetarian pizza-of-the-day and salad-of-the-day, as well as drinks. Free live music. Lines are long but move quickly. A bakery and cheese shop are situated a couple storefronts down. Most locals choose to dine in the grassy street median despite signage prohibiting such activity.  edit
  • Grégoire, 2109 Cedar St, +1 510-883-1893, [68]. Daily 11am-9pm. Affordable gourmet food made in an open kitchen. Potato puffs served in unique octagon boxes are a huge hit. Limited outdoor seating only.  edit
  • Gioia Pizzeria, 1586 Hopkins St, +1 510-528-4692, [69]. Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun noon-7pm. Small restaurant that serves gourmet Brooklyn-style pizza. Popular with East Coast transplants who don't like the Cheese Board because it's too Californian.  edit

West Berkeley[edit]

  • Casa Latina Bakery, 1805 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-558-7177. Mon-Sat 6:30am-10pm, Sun 8am-9pm. Popular Mexican bakery that also serves good Mexican food.  edit
  • Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub, 2033 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-845-1652, [70]. Daily 11am-midnight. Features pizza by the slice and pie, lots of beer, and a large backyard patio.  edit
  • Vik's Chaat Corner, 2390 4th St, +1 510-644-4432, [71]. Mon-Thu 11am-6pm, Fri-Sun 11am-8pm. Inexpensive, authentic South Indian food served in a large, clean warehouse environment. Indian groceries also available.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

Downtown[edit]

  • Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-548-6900, [72]. Mon 5pm-9pm, Tue-Thu & Sun 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm. Popular Louisiana-style restaurant serving Cajun cuisine. The oyster po' boy sandwich and crawfish etouffee are recommended, the hush puppies with honey butter are sinfully delicious, and all can be washed down with sweet tea. Recently expanded in size to accommodate crowds.  edit
  • Gather, 2200 Oxford St, +1 510-809-0400, [73]. Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm & 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm & 5pm-10pm. Seasonal, organic meat and vegetarian dishes and organic cocktails served amongst reclaimed wood and natural materials. The hipness doesn't necessarily translate to deliciousness, but overall reviews are good.  edit
  • Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-843-8277, [74]. Mon-Thu 11:30am-1am, Fri 11:30am-1:30am, Sat noon-1:30am, Sun noon-midnight. Serves wood-fired pizzas and its own micro-brewed beers. The backyard patio, which features live bands on some nights, is the place to be. The 2-level indoor restaurant can get loud.  edit
  • Platano, 2042 University Ave, +1 510-704-0325, [75]. Sun-Thu 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm. Salvadoran entrees and small plates are served along with a selection of Central American cervezas and wines. The pupusas are must-have items.  edit
  • Venus, 2327 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-540-5950, [76]. Mon 8am-2:30pm, Tue-Fri 8am-2:30pm & 5pm-9:30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2:15pm & 5pm-9:30pm. Great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, Venus serves innovative organic and sustainable food.  edit

South of Campus[edit]

  • La Mediterranee, 2936 College Ave, +1 510-540-7773, [77]. Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9:30pm. A fun pan-Mediterranean restaurant located in the Elmwood District.  edit

North Berkeley[edit]

  • Ajanta, 1888 Solano Ave, +1 510-526-4373, [78]. Fancier than most Indian restaurants in Berkeley. Many organic and sustainable dishes are served at this Michelin-recommended restaurant.  edit
  • César, 1515 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-883-0222, [79]. Daily noon-midnight. Delicious tapas, wine, and cocktails.  edit
  • Saul's, 1475 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-848-3354, [80]. Daily 8am-10pm. Jewish deli restaurant that brews its own sodas. Menu is far more limited than most Jewish deli restaurants.  edit
  • Taste of the Himalayas, 1700 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-849-4983, [81]. Daily 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-10pm. Home to good Nepalese and Indian cuisine.  edit
  • Vanessa's Bistro, 1715 Solano Ave, +1 510-525-8300, [82]. Wed-Mon 4pm-9pm. Vietnamese cuisine with a French twist. Reservations recommended.  edit
  • Zachary's Chicago Pizza, 1853 Solano Ave, +1 510-525-5950, [83]. Sun-Thu 11am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm. Crowded, family-friendly pizza parlor specializing in deep dish pizza. Regular pizza also available. The Oakland location, located at 5801 College Ave in Rockridge, has better ambiance and is considered an East Bay institution.  edit

West Berkeley[edit]

  • 900 Grayson, 900 Grayson St, +1 510-704-9900, [84]. Mon-Fri 8am-10:45am & 11:30am-3pm, Sat 8am-2:30pm. One of the country's best burger joints according to Zagat. For a sinfully pleasurable brunch, try the Demon Lover (fried chicken served atop a buttermilk waffle with your choice of gravy or Vermont syrup).  edit
  • Bette's Oceanview Diner, 1807 4th St, +1 510-644-3230, [85]. Mon-Fri 6:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 6:30am-4pm. A 1950s-styled diner with satisfying brunch food and coffee. Expect long waits on weekends.  edit
  • Jimmy Bean's, 1290 6th St, +1 510-528-3435, [86]. Daily 7am-9pm. Popular for delicious brunches at reasonable prices. Also serves lunch and offers nightly dinner specials.  edit
  • Meal Ticket, 1235 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-526-6325, [87]. Wed-Fri 8am-3pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2pm. A greasy spoon, but nicer. Popular for brunch. Outdoor seating available.  edit
  • Picante, 1328 6th St, +1 510-525-3121, [88]. Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Large, popular, family-friendly restaurant serves delicious plate-style Mexican food. Indoor and outdoor seating available. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.  edit
  • Skates on the Bay, 100 Seawall Dr, +1 510-549-1900, [89]. Mon-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri 11am-11:30pm, Sat 10:30am-11:30pm, Sun 10:30am-10:30pm. Waterfront dining at the Berkeley Marina with great views onto the water. Weekday and late night happy hours are available.  edit
  • Zut!, 1820 4th St, +1 510-644-0444, [90]. Mon-Thu 11:30am-9:30pm, Fri 11:30am-10:30pm, Sat 10:30am-10:30pm, Sun 10:30am-9pm. Mediterranean and New American cuisine and an extensive selection of wines and cocktails in a comfortable setting.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-548-5525, [91]. Mon-Sat 6pm & 8:30pm seatings. California Cuisine originated here in Alice Waters' kitchen. Firmly focused on fresh, sustainable food using local sourcing. Named "Best Restaurant in America" in 2001 by Gourmet Magazine and is an entry in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. Reservations can be made one month in advance for the downstairs restaurant, which serves a set menu. The upstairs cafe (phone +1 510-548-5049) offers lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.  edit
  • Comal, 2020 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-704-8004, [92]. Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-midnight. Serves upscale Oaxaca-inspired cuisine and unique cocktails. Features indoor and outdoor seating and state-of-the-art acoustics.  edit
  • Hs Lordships, 199 Seawall Dr, +1 510-843-2733, [93]. Mon-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm & 5pm-9pm, Fri 11:30am-2:30pm & 5pm-10pm, Sat 11am-2:30pm & 5pm-10pm, Sun 9am-2:30pm & 4:30pm-9pm. Waterfront dining at the Berkeley Marina. Offers a champagne Sunday brunch. Popular for events, such as weddings.  edit
  • Ippuku, 2130 Center St, +1 510-665-1969, [94]. Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Upscale Japanese dining, including izakaya dinner daily plus limited teuchi soba lunch on Fridays and Saturdays.  edit
  • Revival Bar & Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-549-9950, [95]. Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11:30pm, Sun 5pm-9:30pm. Local, sustainable, farm-to-table restaurant with good wine and cocktails list. Where Gather (see listing above) feels modern, Revival feels rustic.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Cafés[edit]

Berkeley is an active college town with countless cafés. Many cater to people who want to study or work in peace, but some are livelier spots to socialize.

  • Caffe Mediterraneum (Caffe Med), 2475 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-549-1128, [96]. Daily 7am-midnight. Serves coffee with a large helping of colorful history dating back to 1957. You can sit here just as Dustin Hoffman did in The Graduate.  edit
  • Caffe Strada, 2300 College Ave, +1 510-843-5282. Daily 6am-midnight. Located just across the street from UC Berkeley, Caffe Strada is a second home to students and professors alike. This busy spot is a popular meeting place, and there is great outdoor seating available.  edit
  • Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-548-5198, [97]. Mon-Thu 6:30am-9pm, Fri 6:30am-11pm, Sat 7am-11pm, Sun 7am-9pm. The Berkeley branch of the famous North Beach cafe favored by Beat Poets. Assorted concerts and events are scheduled, and the elderly owner drops by Sunday afternoons to belt out Italian ballads.  edit
  • Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave, +1 510-644-3773, [98]. This Elmwood District location caters to local residents and graduate students rather than the undergrads found closer to campus. Indoor space is divided into two distinct rooms, and an outdoor area faces the street.  edit
  • Local 123, 2049 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-647-5270, [99]. Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 7am-5pm. Hip cafe uses the slow pour method with locally roasted beans. There is a pleasant if sparse outdoor patio out back.  edit
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea, 2124 Vine St, +1 510-841-0564, [100]. Daily 6am-8pm. Peet's may be a chain, but its roots can be traced back to its original Vine Street location in North Berkeley. Multiple locations exist in Berkeley; check the website for details.  edit
  • People's Coffee & Tea, 2015 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-666-0666, [101]. Mon-Fri 7am-midnight, Sat-Sun 9am-midnight. Serves a variety of food in addition to coffee. Popular with students cramming for exams, the cafe also features a couple Internet kiosks if you left your laptop at home.  edit
  • Philz Coffee, 1600 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-705-1083, [102]. Mon-Fri 6:30am-8:30pm, Sat-Sun 7am-8:30pm. Customized bean blends from around the world prepared one cup at a time.  edit

Bars and pubs[edit]

Berkeley may be home to a world-class university, but there are surprisingly few bars and pubs around town. Berkeley strives for quality over quantity, but many locals venture out to Oakland and San Francisco when they want more variety in their watering holes.

  • Albatross Pub, 1822 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-843-2473, [103]. Sun-Tue 6pm–2am, Wed-Sat 4:30pm–2am. A historic Berkeley bar with dart boards, board games, a pool table, and weekly live music. Sunday night pub trivia is especially popular.  edit
  • Missouri Lounge, 2600 San Pablo Ave, +1 510-548-2080, [104]. Daily noon-2am. The ultimate dive bar, where hipsters and bikers rub elbows at the pool tables, on the small dance floor, or around the large outdoor patio. Food served, live DJ's nightly, and unbeatable beer-and-liquor specials.  edit
  • Pappy's, 2367 Telegraph Ave, +1 510-405-1000, [105]. Sun-Mon 11am-10pm, Tue-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu-Sat 11am-2am. Upstairs grill and sports bar with downstairs dance club space. The upstairs space attracts a mix of people, but anyone over the age of 25 will feel out of place in the club.  edit
  • Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-841-0188, [106]. Mon-Fri 4pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am. Pub with relaxed atmosphere; walls are decorated with anti-government posters. Irish music session on Sundays, Irish dancing on Mondays, open mic on Tuesdays, poetry slam on Wednesdays, and concerts the rest of the week.  edit
  • Thalassa, 2367 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-848-1766, [107]. Daily noon-2am. Large bar and pool hall with a single shuffleboard table and small outdoor patio thrown in for good measure. Gets extremely loud and crowded on Friday and Saturday nights. The billiards attracts locals and students alike, but the bar scene is mostly dedicated to undergrads after a certain hour. Famous for not having a sign, so look for the neon martini glass.  edit
  • Triple Rock Brewery & Alehouse, 1920 Shattuck Ave, +1 510-843-2739, [108]. Mon-Wed 11:30am-1am, Thu-Sat 11:30am-2am, Sun 11:30am-midnight. Popular pub serving a full menu and its own micro-brewed beers. Features a small upstairs outdoor patio.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

The city of Emeryville, bordering the southwest side of Berkeley, has several large chain hotels in newer, multi-story buildings. Accommodations in Berkeley tend to have more character, either in the form of historic hotels or older motels.

Budget[edit]

  • Berkeley YMCA Hotel, 2001 Allston Way (Enter on Milvia St), +1 510-848-6800, [109]. Modest private rooms with shared bathrooms, communal kitchen, guest and Internet lounges, and free wi-fi. Membership to the Y's excellent gym is included for the duration of each stay. Singles from $49, doubles from $81.  edit
  • Piedmont House, 2434 Piedmont Ave, +1 510-849-4800, [110]. checkin: 4pm; checkout: noon. Hostel with nightly and weekly rates features communal kitchen, living room, free wi-fi, free local calls, and discounted bike rentals. Shared rooms from $32, private rooms from $55.  edit
  • Rodeway Inn, 1461 University Ave, +1 510-848-3840, [111]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 11am. Well reviewed considering its budget chain affiliation. Includes free breakfast, free wi-fi, free local calls, and free parking. From $75.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way, +1 510-549-1000, [112]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: noon. B&B-style hotel located across the street from UC Berkeley in a National Historic Landmark building. Includes free breakfast and free wi-fi. From $108.  edit
  • Berkeley City Club, 2680 Bancroft Way, +1 510-848-7800, [113]. Designed and built under the supervision of Julia Morgan at the same time as Hearst Castle, the "Little Castle" opened in 1930 as the Berkeley Women's City Club. Today, the Berkeley City Club continues as a private social club housing an event venue and hotel. Includes free breakfast and free wi-fi. From $145.  edit
  • Berkeley Lab Guest House, 1 Cyclotron Rd, Bldg 23 (On the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory campus), +1 510-495-8000, [114]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: noon. Restricted to those with a university or lab affiliation or sponsor. Tucked away in the hills, this property features peace and quiet, free wi-fi, and free parking. From $100.  edit
  • Downtown Berkeley Inn, 2001 Bancroft Way, +1 510-843-4043, [115]. checkin: 1pm; checkout: 11am. Centrally located, remodeled motel now doing business as a boutique inn. Includes free wi-fi and limited free parking--unheard of for downtown Berkeley. From $99.  edit
  • Doubletree Hotel Berkeley Marina, 200 Marina Blvd, +1 510-548-7920, [116]. checkin: 4pm; checkout: noon. Quiet property situated at the marina with on-site restaurant; several rooms offer waterfront views. Includes free parking and free local shuttle service. From $169.  edit
  • The Faculty Club, UC Berkeley Campus (Between South Dr & Optometry Ln), +1 510-540-5678, [117]. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 11am. Restricted to those with a University of California affiliation or sponsor. Includes free breakfast and free wi-fi. From $90.  edit
  • Hotel Durant, 2600 Durant Ave, +1 510-845-8981, [118]. Convenient to UC Berkeley and the hustle and bustle of Telegraph Avenue. Includes free wi-fi. From $179.  edit
  • Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way, +1 510-845-7300, [119]. Centrally located in the heart of downtown, just across from the BART station and one block from UC Berkeley, this extensively renovated historic property reopened in 2009. Includes free basic wi-fi. Downstairs restaurant/bar FIVE [120] is popular with hotel guests and locals. From $165.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd, +1 510-843-3000, [121]. checkin: 4pm; checkout: noon. Nestled on the edge of hills on the Berkeley/Oakland border, this brilliant white historic resort is visible from miles around. Although the Claremont doesn't feature every amenity found in an ultra-modern resort, it will charm you with its grandeur, history, and famous guests. A $25 "facilities charge" includes a wide range of extras, such as wi-fi and Club access, but parking is still extra. From $209.  edit

Contact[edit]

Berkeley, like most of the East Bay, is in the 510 area code.

Internet access is widespread. Most cafes offer free wi-fi. Public computer terminals are available at all branches of the Berkeley Public Library [122] and at UC Berkeley's Doe Library [123]. University guests can request access to the "AirBears" campus-wide wi-fi network.

Mobile phone coverage is generally considered excellent. However, cell phone coverage can be spotty in remote parts of hilly Tilden Park.

Stay safe[edit]

Berkeley is an urban community, and common sense safety practices apply here just as they do in most urban areas of the United States. Berkeley is considered safer than adjacent Oakland and roughly comparable in crime to other urban parts of the Bay Area.

Portions of West and South Berkeley are considered less safe at night relative to the remaining neighborhoods in town. Luckily, with the exception of People's Park, these areas are not considered readily accessible to casual tourists.

Electronic devices are popular items to steal, so be especially observant of your surroundings when using cell phones, laptops, and mp3 players.

UC Berkeley offers a free evening escort service called BearWALK [124]. This escort service is highly recommended for women traveling alone at night, as well as anyone who is unfamiliar with their surroundings.

Berkeley has a colorful history of protests, riots, and strikes. However, although non-violent protests still happen on occasion, more colorful happenings have long since moved on to nearby Oakland. The last time the National Guard was called in to patrol Berkeley was 1991.

Get out[edit]

When locals (and students) need to get out, they often head to "The City": San Francisco. It's easy to reach by BART train and makes for a logical next step of exploration--assuming, of course, that you didn't just come from there! Oakland, just south of Berkeley, is a large, diverse city with a variety of cultural activities and ethnic communities. Oakland is an interesting alternative to San Francisco; because it doesn't cater to tourists, one can get a better feel for the "real" Bay Area.

Berkeley is surrounded by the small cities of Emeryville to the southwest, Albany to the north, El Cerrito further north, and Walnut Creek further afield (to the east). When locals need a break from city life, they often head to Tilden Park for a picnic (see listing above), Marin County for a hike, or to Sonoma County and Napa Valley for wine tasting.


Routes through Berkeley
San FranciscoEmeryville  W noframe E  AlbanySacramento
San RafaelAlbany  W noframe E  EmeryvilleOakland




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