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Difference between revisions of "Berkeley (California)"

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==Get out==
 
==Get out==
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 to alternative to San Francisco; because it doesn't cater to tourists, one can get a better feel for the "real" Bay Area.
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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 (California)|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.
 
Berkeley is surrounded by the small cities of [[Emeryville]] to the southwest, [[Albany (California)|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.
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Revision as of 09:49, 10 March 2013

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.

Contents

Understand

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

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

By plane

  • 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

  • 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

By car

  • 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

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

Berkeley Map

By car

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

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

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 expect those running to/from San Francisco during rush hour. Folding bicycles are allowed without any restrictions.

By foot

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

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

The Campanile, UC Berkeley
  • University of California, Berkeley (Cal), 101 Sproul Hall (BART to Downtown Berkeley station), +1 510-642-5215, [16]. 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.
  • Sather Tower (The Campanile), South Hall Rd & South Dr (AC Transit Routes 1, 49, 51B, 52, and F to Bancroft & Telegraph), [17]. 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.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Dr (AC Transit Route 65 and Bear Transit Line H), +1 510-642-5132, [18]. 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.
  • 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, [19]. 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.
  • 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, [20]. 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.
  • UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley, 200 Centennial Dr (Bear Transit Line H), +1 510-643-2755, [21]. 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.
  • Tilden Regional Park, Central Park Dr & Lake Anza Rd (AC Transit Route 67), +1 888-327-2757, [22]. 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.
  • Berkeley Marina and Pier, 201 University Ave (AC Transit Route 51B), [23]. 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.
  • Berkeley Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Ave (AC Transit Route 65), [24]. 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.
  • Indian Rock Park, 950 Indian Rock Ave (AC Transit Routes 7 and H to The Arlington & Indian Rock Path), [25]. 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.
  • People's Park, 2556 Haste St (AC Transit Route 1 to Telegraph & Dwight), [26]. 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.

Do

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Learn

  • 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].

Work

  • 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.
  • UC Berkeley offers work-study programs.

Buy

  • Telegraph. The five-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue just south of UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza is perhaps one of the city's most well-known and most-visited landmarks, with its independent stores, kooky sidewalk vendors and the unforgettable dynamic streetlife that is the amalgam of students, hippies and (sometimes hostile) hobos. Besides its restaurants (see the Eat section) Telegraph is the site of many bookstores, music shops, smoke shops, and used clothing exchanges.
    • Moe's Books, [38], a four-story bookstore with a large selection of half-price used books. They sometimes have in-store readings.
    • Shakespeare & Company Books, A treasure trove of used books since 1964.
    • Rasputin Music, [39]. Well known independent music store with a large selection of used music and LPs.
    • Amoeba Music, [40], lowest prices and a huge selection of new and used CDs and DVDs, with that one rare album you've been looking for.
    • Berkeley Hat, [41], a wide variety of normal and eclectic hats.
  • Downtown Berkeley (around Shattuck Avenue at Center Street). The city's efficient administrative center is also a popular shopping hub. The Berkeley BART station is located right here. Getting here by public transportation is recommended as parking tends to be difficult to find.
    • Games of Berkeley, 2151 Shattuck Ave., Located across from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, this quirky game shop is worth checking out for its eclectic selection of board games, kites, puzzles, figurines, and trading card games. The staff is distinctively "Berkeley": approachable and enthusiastic in a somewhat funky way.
    • Half Price Books, 2036 Shattuck Ave., [42]. HPB has recently moved in next to Comic Relief, on Shattuck at Addison.
    • Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Avenue (at Durant), (510) 649-1320, [43]. Smaller than Half Price or Moe's, Pegasus still offers a good selection of new and used books, and schedules literary events at it's Downtown and Solano Ave. locations.
  • West Berkeley (around University Avenue and San Pablo Avenue). This area is the commercial hub of the local Mexican and South Asian community. There are two Mexican groceries, several halal markets, numerous Indian and Pakistani restaurants (including Vik's), and many others (Thai, Turkish, Jamaican, etc.).
    • Bombay Music, 2000 San Pablo Ave., [44]. This is one of the best Bollywood / Indian music stores in the bay area. You can find Indian classical music CDs to Bollywood latest DVDs and CDs. Prices are discounted. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
    • Black Oak Books, 2618 San Pablo Ave. (at Parker), (510) 486-0698, [45]. At it's new location, Black Oak offers the best selection of new and used books in West Berkeley.
    • Premier Cru, 1011 University Ave. (at 10th St.), (510) 644-9463, [46]. A wine shop for the affluent afficionado.
  • Fourth Street. Interesting upscale retail center with boutiques. Good food at Bette's Diner (American).
    • East Bay Vivarium, 1827-C 5th Street, +1 510 841-1400, [47]. One of the best reptile specialty stores in the nation. Also has a large selection of amphibians and invertebrates. Staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
  • Elmwood district (College Avenue at Ashby Avenue). Many interesting stores abound along this corridor.
  • North Berkeley (Shattuck Avenue between Cedar and Rose). This area is often referred to as the "Gourmet Ghetto" by locals because of the gourmet food at all price rates. Other North Shattuck stores include a card store, three or four women's clothing stores, and a great produce store. Heaven!
  • Solano Avenue, Albany and North Berkeley (between The Alameda and San Pablo Avenue) [48]. More interesting stores and restaurants.
  • Ashby Flea Market. Saturdays and Sundays, 7AM-6PM in the West parking lot of the Ashby BART Station, there is a lively flea market, as well as food trucks and drumming circles.
  • Berkeley Farmer's Market. Derby and Milvia Tuesday afternoons, North Berkeley Thursdays, and Center and Milvia Saturday mornings. An excellent produce market also featuring certain prepared foods, cheeses, oils, and performers and booths by many local organizations.

Eat

Due to a very diverse community and the presence of the University of California, it should come as no surprise that Berkeley has a wide range of food.

Budget

Downtown and University area.

  • Au Coquelet, 2000 University (downtown at Milvia, between Shattuck and Martin Luther King), +1 510 845-0433. Open till 1:30AM Su-Th, and till 2AM on F-Sa. The late-night student crowd and the weekend brunchers come to Au Coquelet to enjoy food, coffee, and a constantly revolving art show. You can get a delicious piece of pie here.
  • Brazil Cafe, 2161 University Ave. (at Walnut), +1 510 845-8011. M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Not much more than a brightly decorated shack sitting on a corner parking lot, but this shack has been featured in National Geographic, and is famous for its tri-tip sandwiches (supposedly, the best in the Bay) and its mango smoothies. Pedro, the friendly owner of the cafe, might be around passing out free samples as well.
  • Dojo Dog, Telegraph and Bancroft, +1 650 489-5564. M-Sa 11AM-6:30PM. A student run food truck started by local Cal students, serving newly designed Asian-style hot dogs. It is a brightly colored food truck sitting right at the entrance to Cal.
  • Crepes A-Go-Go, 2334 Telegraph Ave. and 2125 University Ave. A Berkeley institution.
  • Gelato Milano, 2170 Shattuck Avenue at Center Street, [49]. Sun-Thu 1PM to 11PM, Fri and Sat 1PM to 12 midnight. Authentic Italian gelato and non-dairy fruit sorbetto made on the premises.
  • La Mission, 1255 University Ave. (between Bonar St. & Chestnut St.), (510) 845-5898. Fresh, delicious Mexican food with an outdoor seating patio.
  • Little Saigon, 1717 University Ave. (East on University from freeway, past Sacramento), +1 510 549-9594. M-Sa 11-9, Su 5-9. Its easy to get decent Vietnamese food in the East Bay, but this stands out for high quality, creative food. The Apple Salad (Fuji apples, cabbage, onion, cilantro, peanuts, and tofu or beef) is an outstanding original creation, the spring rolls are truly fresh, and the won ton soup is actually challenging in its mix of flavors (unique and excellent, and not what you might expect from most inexpensive Chinese restaurants, let along Vietnamese). The Pho Tai is great as well. $6-9/entree.
  • Lucky House Thai, 2140 University Avenue, between Shattuck and Oxford. Great Thai food, portion sizes big enough to be shared between two people and low prices. Environment can be low key but the low prices and great food make it totally worth it.
  • PIQ Berkeley, 91 Shattuck Square (between University Ave. & Addison St.), (510) 540-7700, [50]. A new Italian bakery offering mini-sandwiches, pizza slices, panini, calzone, pastries, salads and good coffee and espresso.
  • Ryowa, 2068 University Ave. (between Shattuck and Milvia), (510) 883-0667, [51]. Japanese ramen and donburi.
  • Slow, 1966 University Ave. (between Bonita Ave. & Milvia St.), (510) 647-3663, [52]. Their mission statement: "Create gourmet food using fresh local ingredients, serve it in a modest setting, and charge reasonable prices so everyone can enjoy slow food."
  • Taqueria Monte Cristo, 1446 University Ave. (between Acton St. & Sacramento St.), (510) 486-0321. Good quality Mexican food.
  • Top Dog, 2534 Durant, +1 510 843-5967, [53]. A Berkeley institution, with locations on 3 sides of campus (Hearst, Durant Ave, and Center St.) Amazing hot dogs for $3 and walls filled with libertarian political writings. The Durant location is the original, and is, really the only one worth going to. Open until 2AM M-F, and until 3AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • Yogurt Park, 2433 Durant Ave. near Telegraph, "+ 1 510" 549-9570. 10 AM-midnight every day. Six delicious flavors of frozen yogurt daily, on a rotating schedule. You can get a heaping, satisfying cup for $2.75. Not to be missed.

Gourmet Ghetto

  • Barney's, 1600 Shattuck Ave (at Cedar), +1 510 849-2827, [54]. A small California sit-down burger chain that makes good burgers, curly fries, and milkshakes. Get the oreo shakes.
  • Cheese Board Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, +1 510 549-3055 (email: cbpizzacollective@yahoo.com), [55]. Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-7PM. Sa 12PM-3PM, 4:30PM-7PM. Collective serves pizza two doors down from its gourmet cheese and bread shop in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. Only one kind is available each day, always vegetarian [though be sure to ask if they are using animal/veal rennet, their cheese usually does]. Buy it by the slice or take home a half-bake. One of many candidates for best pizza in the universe (though a bit gourmet for some.) Lines can be long in the evenings, and their hours are short. Best seating is on the median of Shattuck (if Berkeley Police is away).

North Berkeley

  • Berkeley Bagels, 1281 Gilman St. (at Curtis St.), (510) 524-3104. The best bagels in town - organic, with no refined sugar. Try the Seed City bagel with lox.
  • Gioia Pizzeria, 1586 Hopkins St. (at McGee), (510) 528-4692, [56]. Gourmet pizza by the slice (Brooklyn style). Daily specials.

West Berkeley

  • Kabana, 1106 University Ave. (between San Pablo Ave. & Curtis St.), +1 510 845-3355, [57]. This great Pakistani restaurant is one of the anchors of West Berkeley. The daily specials are always good and the goat curry is outstanding.
  • Lee Wah, 2026 San Pablo Ave. (between University Ave. & Addison St.). M-F 11 am - 9 pm Sa-Su 11:30 am - 9:30 pm. Good Chinese food and dim sum.
  • Picante, 1328 6th St. (between Gilman St. & Camelia St.), +1 510 525-3121, [58]. M-F 11AM-10:00PM Sa-Su 10AM-10:00PM. Delicious, taqueria-style Mexican food. Fantastic, home-made tortillas, savory moles, extensive vegan and vegetarian menus and stiff margaritas all in a large family-friendly dining room.
  • Tacubaya, 1788 4th St. (between Hearst Ave. & Virginia St.), (510) 525-5160, [59]. An upscale yet affordable taqueria serving Blue Bottle coffee. Everything is made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients.
  • Vik's Chaat Corner, 2390 4th St. (between Bancroft Way & Channing Way), [60]. Inexpensive and authentic Indian food. Some of the best in the bay. Warehouse environment.

Mid-range

Downtown and University

  • Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave. (at Kittredge), (510) 548-6900, [61]. Every cajun item on the menu is a hit. The oyster po' boy sandwich and the crawfish etoufee are highly recommended, the hush puppies with honey butter are sinfully delicious, and be sure to wash them down with some sweet tea.
  • The Bread Workshop, 1398 University Ave (between West St. & Acton St.), [62]. Fresh bread baked onsite, with excellent sustainable brunch and dinner options.
  • Cafe Platano, 2042 University Ave. (between Shattuck and Milvia), (510) 704-0325, [63]. Salvadoran entrees and small plates with a good selection of Central American cervezas and wines.
  • Cha Am, 1543 Shattuck Ave (at Cedar), +1 510 848-9664. Berkeley is known for good Thai cuisine, and Cha Am is one of the best. Eat delicious soups and more in a restaurant made up of many nooks and crannies, both in and out of doors.
  • Gather, 2200 Oxford St. (at Allston Way), (510) 809-0400, [64]. Delicious seasonal, organic meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as organic cocktails and biodynamic wines served in a dining room made from reclaimed wood and natural materials.
  • Kirala, 2100 Ward St. (at Shattuck Ave.), (510) 549-3486, [65]. The best Japanese restaurant in the East Bay. Don't stop at sushi rolls - the robata grill serves exquisite whole squid, quail, and duck among others. The almond-encrusted shrimp tempura is heavenly. Have a house-brewed Pale Ale in the bar while you wait 30 minutes for your table.
  • Venus, 2327 Shattuck Ave. (between Bancroft and Durant), (510) 540-5950, [66]. Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Venus serves some of the most innovative organic and sustainable food in Berkeley.

Gourmet Ghetto

  • Cesar, 1515 Shattuck Ave., [67]. Delicious tapas, wine and cocktails.
  • Mint Leaf, 1513 Shattuck Ave. (at Vine St.), (510) 540-7900, [68]. Indian entrees and tapas made with organic produce and free range meats. Vegan options are also offered.
  • Saul's, 1475 Shattuck Ave, +1 510 848-DELI, [69]. Su-Th 8AM-9PM, F-Sa 8AM-9:30PM. In the Gourmet Ghetto. A Jewish deli with outstanding brunch dishes and dinner entrees (try the Beef Stroganoff). Saul's brews its own sodas, with a rotating cast of new flavors.
  • Taste of the Himalayas, 1700 Shattuck Ave. (at Virginia St.), (510) 849-4983, [70]. Nepalese and North Indian food.

Solano Ave.

  • Ajanta, 1888 Solano Ave. (at the Alameda), (510) 526-4373, [71]. The best Indian food this writer has ever had. Many dishes are organic and sustainable. Rachel Ray listed Ajanta as one of only two "world class" restaurants on Solano Ave.
  • Bua Luang, 1166 Solano Ave. (Albany) (between Cornell and Stannage), (510) 527-8288, [72]. Excellent Thai food.
  • Fonda, 1501 Solano Ave. (Albany) (at Curtis), (510) 559-9006, [73]. Duck tacos, tuna tartare, cuban mini-burgers and premium tequila flights make Fonda well worth the visit.
  • Kirin Cuisine of Northern China, 1767 Solano Ave. (between Ensenada Ave. & Colusa Ave.), (510) 524-1677, [74]. Superb Szechuan cuisine in a beautiful dining room with an open kitchen. The kung pao is recommended.
  • Sushi 29, 1647 Solano Ave. (between Ventura Ave & Tulare Ave), (510) 559-8229. The most visually appealing dining room of any Japanese restaurant in Berkeley.
  • Vanessa's Bistro, 1715 Solano Ave. (at Tulare Ave.), 510.525.8300, [75]. Wed-Mon 4-9PM, closed Tues. Premium Vietnamese cuisine. Reservations are strongly recommended.
  • Zachary's Chicago Pizza, 1853 Solano Ave, +1 510 525-5950, [76]. Su-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Now accepting credit cards as well as cash. Just under $20 for a decently sized pizza. Pizza like you dream about. Available in deep-dish or regular. A second location is nearby in Oakland on College Avenue. A local and regional favorite with notoriously long lines. The regular is good, but the deep dish is unbelievable: a crispy pie crust with big chunks of tomato. Not to be missed.

Elmwood

  • La Mediterranee, 2936 College Ave, +1 510 540-7773, [77]. A fun pan-Mediterranean restaurant in the Elmwood District.
  • Cafe Colucci, 6427 Telegraph Ave, +1 510 601-7999. Hands down the best Ethiopian food in an area teeming with them, just across the Oakland border. Served traditionally on injera, with an excellent selection of vegetarian dishes, friendly wait staff and excellent decor. Try the mitten shuro.

West Berkeley

  • 900 Grayson, 900 Grayson St. (at 7th St.), (510) 704-9900, [78]. For a sinfully pleasurable brunch try the Demon Lover - fried chicken served atop a buttermilk waffle with your choice of gravy or Vermont syrup.
  • Anchalee Thai Cuisine, 1094 Dwight Way (between 10th St. & San Pablo Ave.), (510) 848-4015, [79]. Simply incredible Thai food.
  • Bette's Oceanview Diner, 1807 4th St. (between Hearst Ave. & Virginia St.), (510) 644-3230, [80]. Kitschy '50s era diner with deeply satisfying brunch food and coffee.
  • Breads of India, 2448 Sacramento, +1 510, [81]. Regional Indian restaurant whose menu changes from day to day, each entree on the menu has its own bread recommended with it.
  • Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave. (at Francisco St.), (510) 525-7544, [82]. Great egg dishes, mediterranean entrees and sandwiches made with organic ingredients are best enjoyed on a sunny day in Leila's large outdoor patio, and sip on a house-brewed tea.
  • HS Lordships, 199 Seawall Dr., [83]. Waterfront dining in the Berkeley Marina. Engorge yourself at the extensive buffet including roast beef, omelettes and pasta dishes made to order, multiple entrees, chilled crab legs and shrimp cocktail, a salad bar, and all too many desserts.
  • Jimmy Bean's, 1290 6th St. (at Gilman St.), (510) 528-3435, [84]. Jimmy Bean's has one of the best brunches in Berkeley, and the grilled sandwiches and nightly dinner specials are worth the visit.
  • Luca Cucina Italiana, 2057 San Pablo Ave. (between University Ave. & Addison St.), (510) 649-9718, [85]. Affordable, authentic Italian food in a casual atmosphere.
  • Meal Ticket, 1235 San Pablo Ave. (between Gilman St. & Harrison), (510) 526-6325. Meal Ticket's California version of the oyster po' boy sandwich never disappoints, and the salmon or trout with eggs is a great way to start your day. Outdoor seating available.
  • Paisan Pizzeria, 2514 San Pablo Ave. (between Dwight Way & Blake St.), (510) 649-1031, [86]. Wood fired pizzas, sumptuous pasta dishes, organic entrees, and a fine selection of Italian wines make Paisan a local favorite.
  • Sea Salt, 2512 San Pablo Ave. (between Dwight Way & Blake St.), (510) 883-1720, [87]. The best seafood restaurant in Berkeley, Sea Salt has great brunch dishes like crab cake benedict and the fried oyster, bacon and egg sandwich with black garlic aioli, and lunch and dinner wonders like the trout, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Drop by for happy hour from 3 to 9:30 PM daily for dollar oysters on the half shell and tuna sliders.
  • Zut!, 1820 4th St. (between Virginia St.& Hearst Ave.), (510) 644-0444, [88]. Mediterranean cuisine and an extensive selection of aperitifs and wines in a comfortable setting.

Splurge

  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave (at Vine), +1 510 548-5525, [89]. Chez Panisse is the origin of California Cuisine, and still is the best representation of the style that focuses on local produce in season. Named "Best Restaurant in America" in 2001 by Gourmet Magazine and is one of the entries in the book 1000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz. Fixed price menus downstairs (Monday $65, Tuesday to Thursday $75, Friday and Saturday $95), which usually require a reservation a month in advance. It's worth it, though. The cafe upstairs offers more variety in à la carte form, and it's easier to get a table. Still, if your parents are paying, try to book downstairs.
  • Five, 2086 Allston Way (between Shattuck and Milvia), (510) 225-6055, [90]. Modern American Bistro serving classic American fare reinvented with a seasonal California flair, with local, organic and sustainable farms and produce.
  • Le Bateau Ivre, 2629 Telegraph Ave (at Carleton), +1 510 849-1100, [91]. Su, Tu-Th 9AM-2:30PM and 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 9AM-2:30PM and 5PM-10:30PM. Upscale French restaurant and coffeehouse in a romantic 1898 home on Telegraph Ave, but away from the major shopping.
  • Revival Bar & Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave., (510) 549-9950, [92]. New "farm-to-table, organic" restaurant with good wine list. Have the fantastic cornmeal crusted onion rings on the side.
  • Trattoria Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave (between Francisco St. & Delaware St.), (510) 704-8004, [93]. Gourmet Northern Italian cuisine with an excellent wine list.

Drink

Bars

Berkeley has a host of fine drinking establishments. Have a pint of Trumer Pils, brewed in West Berkeley[94].

  • Acme Bar & Company, 2115 San Pablo Ave (one block south of University Ave), +1 510 644-2226. Newly renovated bar with over 100 whiskeys and DJs on the weekend spinning oldies and 80s pop. Great vibe.
  • Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave (two blocks north of University Ave), +1 510 843-2473, [95]. Su-Tu 6PM–2AM, W-Sa 4:30PM–2AM. What a fantastic bar. It has several dart boards, a pool table, lots of board games behind the bar, and a surprisingly good art collection. Sunday nights at 8:30PM they run a trivia contest.
  • Hotsy Totsy Club, 601 San Pablo Ave., Albany (at Garfield St.), +1 510 526-5986, [96]. Mon-Thurs 3:00pm - 2:00am Fri-Sun 11:30am - 2:00am. A former dive bar was refashioned by the owner of Cesar into a bar too hip for Albany. The shuffleboard table is the main diversion, though a pool table is also in the back.
  • Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave (between Center and Allston), +1 510 THE-TAPS, [97]. M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-1:30AM, Sa Noon-1:30AM, Su 1PM-Midnight. The backyard patio is fantastic. On weekend nights they usually have live music in the beer garden. They have a huge selection of beer, including their own microbrews. Food includes individual-sized wood-oven pizzas.
  • Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub, 2033 San Pablo Ave (at University Ave), +1 510 845-1652, [98]. Daily 11:30AM-12:30AM. Lots of great beers, a large backyard patio, and superb pizza. And rock music - this place is more of a bar that happens to serve pizza than a restaurant.
  • Missouri Lounge, 2600 San Pablo Ave (at Parker), +1 510 548-2080, [99]. Daily 4 P.M.-2:00AM. The only real dance club in Berkeley, Missouri has DJs spinning hip hop and older hits most nights. It also a large outdoor smoking patio/BBQ area serving burgers and fries late at night.
  • Skate's On the Bay, 100 Seawall Dr. (in the Berkeley Marina), +1 510 549-1900, [100]. The happy hour drink and appetizer specials in the waterfront lounge are a treat, especially with the fireplace going.
  • Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave (three blocks south of Ashby, two blocks east of Ashby BART), +1 510 841-2082, [101]. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 4PM-10PM. Relaxed atmosphere. The walls are decorated with fantastic anti-government posters. Every Wednesday is a poetry slam that is quite good and popular. They have Irish dancing on Monday nights, and local bands during the rest of the week.
  • Takara Sake Co. tasting room, 708 Addison St. (4th St.), [102]. Noon-6 PM daily. Sample flights of Sho Chiku Bai sake and plum wines in a gorgeous tasting room within the brewery. Afterwards, check out the displays of traditional sake-making gear in the little sake museum.
  • Thalassa, 2367 Shattuck Ave (at Durant), +1 510 848-1766. M-F 2PM-2AM, Sa-Su Noon-2AM. A billiards hall of grand proportion with a nice jukebox and a couple of pinball machines and lots and lots of undergraduates. Famous for not having a sign -- look for the neon martini glass.
  • Triple Rock, 1920 Shattuck Ave (at Hearst), +1 510 THE-BREW, [103]. Good brewpub with burgers, salads, and the usual pub fare.

Cafes and Coffeehouses

Being a college town, Berkeley has a number of great cafes catering to a variety of interests. From quiet places to read to live music, Berkeley has a cafe for you.

  • Caffe Trieste, 2500 San Pablo Ave. (at Dwight), +1 510 548-5198, [104]. The West Berkeley branch of the famous North Beach favorite of the Beat Poets, Trieste serves excellent coffee, quiche, desserts and sandwiches. The elderly owner drops by every Sunday afternoon to belt out Italian ballads.
  • Espresso Roma, 2960 College Ave (at Ashby), +1 510 644-3773, [105]. Located in the Elmwood shopping area, Roma caters more to the graduate student and local resident crowd. The cafe has some outdoor seating on a busy intersection, as well as a 'quiet' room for studying/reading.
  • Cafe Strada, 2300 College Ave (at Bancroft), +1 510 843-5282. M-Sa 6AM-Midnight, Su 7AM-Midnight. Practically located on the UC Berkeley campus, Strada is a second home to student and professor alike. It's a popular meeting place, and often busy. Great outdoor seating.
  • Cafe Milano, 2522 Bancroft Way (between Telegraph and Bowditch), +1 510 644-3100. M-F 7AM-10PM, Sa-Su 8AM-10PM. Milano is a few blocks away from Strada, and also practically on campus. No outdoor seating here. Also a haven for studying students.
  • Local 123, 2049 San Pablo Ave. (between University and Allston), +1 510 647-5270, [106]. Mon-Sat 7am - 8pm, Sun 7 am - 6 pm. Using the slow pour method with locally roasted beans, Local 123 serves simply the best coffee this writer has ever had, literally. Local microbrews and even wine are poured from taps. Very hip decor and music. An outdoor patio is in the back.
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea, [107]. Although a chain, Peet's has a special place in the heart of many Berkeley residents, as it all started with a tiny shop located on Vine Street (and it's still there). Great tea selection, very intense coffee, and interesting goodies. Locations in Berkeley:
    • 2124 Vine Street (between Shattuck and Walnut), +1 510 841-0564. M-Sa 6AM-8PM, Su 6AM-7PM. The original location.
    • 2255 Shattuck Ave (at Kittredge), +1 510 225-0451. M-Th 5:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 7AM-8PM.
    • 1825 Solano Ave (between Coulsa and Fresno), +1 510 526-9607. M-Th 6AM-8PM, F-Sa 6:30AM-9PM, Su 6:30AM-7PM.
    • 2916 Domingo Ave (between Russell and Ashby), +1 510 843-1434. M-F 5:30AM-8PM, Sa 6AM-8PM, Su 6AM-7PM.
    • 1776 4th St (between Virginia and Hearst), +1 510 525-3207. M-Th 5:30AM-9PM, F 6AM-9PM, Sa 6:30AM-9PM, Su 7AM-8PM. Has outdoor seating with excellent people-watching
    • 2501 Telegraph Ave (at Dwight), +1 510 225-7700. M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM-9PM.
  • People's Coffee and Tea, 2015 Shattuck Avenue (at University), +1 510 666-0666, [108]. Daily 7AM-Midnight. People's is located downtown, a block and a half from BART on Shattuck Avenue. It offers free Wi-fi and computers for those laptop-deficient. Try the Mediterranean plate for a filling and very cheap lunch. Good coffee and a huge selection of teas!
  • Philz Coffee, 1600 Shattuck Ave ((between Cedar St & Lincoln St)), (510) 705-1083, [109]. Customized blends of different beans from around the world in light, dark or medium roast.

Sleep

The city of Emeryville nearby to the south has more chain hotels, and many of the most modern hotels in the general vicinity are located there.

Budget

  • Piedmont House, 2434 Piedmont Ave (between Dwight and Haste, 3 blocks south of UC campus), +1 510 849-4800, [110]. checkin: 4 p.m.; checkout: 12 p.m. (noon). Affordable rooming-house style accommodation rents nightly or weekly and offers a “scholars hostel” approach to shared housing, with private, lockable rooms and shared kitchen. Free wi-fi, movie/music/reading/living room, cheap bike rentals for guests. Shared rooms from $32, private rooms from $55.

Mid-range

  • Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way (at College Ave.), +1 510 549-1000, [111]. Located across the street from the University of California campus. Located in a history 1928 Arts & Craft building and is a National Landmark hotel.
  • Beau Sky Hotel, 2520 Durant Ave (between Telegraph and Bowditch), +1 510 540-7688, [112]. With an uncommon mix between both budget and mid-range, the Beau Sky hotel is located one block from UC Berkeley. Your stay here begins each day with a complimentry continental breakfast and fresh-baked pastries and ends with a wonderful pillow-top mattress at night. Rates $119-169.
  • Berkeley Lab Guest House, One Cyclotron Road, Building 23 (On the LBNL Campus on the Hill), +1510-495-8000 (, fax: +1510-495-8800), [113]. checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. Anyone with a university affiliation (Yes, even students) can book rooms or sponsor a guest. Cheap rates, great views from the hill, a quiet location, and comfortable beds make this a hidden gem for campus visitors. Its location on university property, which exempts you from city taxes, and free parking (a valuable commodity in Berkeley) makes the guest house even more affordable for scholars, parents, and relatives alike. $129, $100 for guests of the national lab.
  • Downtown Berkeley Inn, 2001 Bancroft Way (at Milvia St.), +1 510 843-4043, [114]. Located just two blocks from the Berkeley BART station, this hotel, newly rebuilt by its long-time owner, offers some real luxury. Top of the list is the memory-foam bed! There is also in-room internet access, and a large flat-panel TV.
  • Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Ave.), +1 510 845-7300, [115]. Located close to campus and just a few steps from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Historic 1910 downtown hotel has gone through an extensive renovation in 2009. Hotel bar FIVE features happy hour from 2pm to 7pm daily. Chef Scott Howard constantly creates amazing farm fresh dishes for the new FIVE restaurant.
  • Doubletree Hotel, 200 Marina Boulevard (in the Berkeley Marina, at the west end of University Ave.), +1 510 548-7920, [116]. Hotel is in the marina.
  • The Faculty Club, 2222 Piedmont Extension (University of California at Berkeley), +1 510 540-5678, [117]. Located right on the UC Berkeley campus. Rates are cheap, but rooms can only be booked by active members of the faculty club for their guests, therefore occupancy is usually limited to visiting scholars and guests of the university. $80-160.
  • Hotel Durant, 2600 Durant Avenue (at Bowditch St. between College Ave. and Telegraph Ave.), +1 510 845-8981, [118]. Great if you want to be next to the University of California campus.
  • Rodeway Inn - Berkeley, 1461 University Ave, +1 800-598-4912, [119].

Splurge

  • The Claremont Resort and Spa, 41 Tunnel Road (between Domingo and Oak Ridge, east of Claremont), main number: +1 510 843-3000, reservations: +1 877 206-1781, [120]. Visible as far as San Francisco's Coit Tower on a clear day, this brilliant white hotel is hard to miss. But don't let the Shining-esque grandeur scare you. Special deals run around $170/night, but you can spend as much as you like.

Contact

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 [121] and at UC Berkeley's Doe Library [122]. 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

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 [123]. 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

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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