Berkeley, California is a city in the East Bay region of the Bay Area. It's known for its leftist politics, hippies and bums, gourmet food, and large university.
University of California, Berkeley, Visitor Center, 101 University Hall (at the corner of University Avenue and Oxford Streets) - 90-minute student-led walking tours are offered seven days a week. (M-Sa at 10AM, Su at 1PM). Be prepared to climb the hilly campus terrain. If you're touring alone, the main attraction is a ride up the Campanile ($2 general admission), which offers sweeping views of the Bay Area. http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/
Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial Drive (located in the hills of the Berkeley campus), 510-642-5132. Every day, 10AM-5PM. Offers many hands-on science exhibits, especially good for children. http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu
Berkeley Repertory Theater ("Berkeley Rep"), 2025 Addison Street (near Shattuck; 2 blocks north of Berkeley BART station), 647-2949. Hours vary, normally Tu-Su 8PM-11PM, Sa-Su 2PM-4PM (matinee). With its consistently high-quality productions of contemporary and historical plays, the Berkeley Rep is one of the primary centers of theater on the West Coast. The theater is also very pleasant, in a modern way. $35-$55 (varies by night; half-price students and seniors, $20 under 30). http://www.berkeleyrep.org/
Berkeley Sauna, 1947 Milvia St (near University). (510) 845-8595. noon-22:00 Mon-Thu; noon-23:00 Fri, 10:30-23:00PM Sat, 10:30-22:00 Sun. Enjoy a soak in a hot tub, a steamy sauna, or a massage at this no frills, yet relaxing Downtown spa. $10 gets you a private sauna for as long as you can stand it, $15 for a 1/2 hour hot tub, or $60 for an hour of massage.
Telegraph Avenue. Check out Cody's Books, Moe's Books, Rasputin Music, Ameoba Music, and the unforgettable dynamic streetlife.
Comic Relief. 2138 University (at Shattuck, Downtown). (http://www.comicrelief.net/). This is one of the best comics stores in the US, hands down. You can find everything from superheroes to comix to art books to action figures and DVD's, from European comics (in hardback!) to Japanese manga. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly, and they know their way around the comics industry.
Au Coquelet, 2000 University (Downtown at Milvia, between Shattuck and Martin Luther King), (510) 845-0433. Open till 1:30 AM Sun-Thu, and till 2 AM on Fri-Sat. 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.
Cha Am, 1543 Shattuck Ave (at Cedar), (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 or many nooks and crannies, both in and out of doors.
Venezia, 1799 University Ave, (510) 849-4681. Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-1:30pm. An high-quality, upscale, but not too expensive Italian restaurant with great décor. http://www.caffevenezia.com
Ozzy's Soda Fountain, 2900 College Ave., (510) 843-1300. Inside the Elmwood Pharmacy, lies a Berkeley treasure since 1921, a real old-style soda fountain with great shakes and sandwiches and breakfast food.
Top Dog, 2534 Durant, (510) 843-5967. A Berkeley institution, with locations on 3 sides of campus (Hearst, Durant Ave, and Center St.) Amazing hot dogs. The Durant location is the original, and is, really the only one worth going to. Open until 2 am M-F, and until 3 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings. http://www.topdoghotdogs.com
Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave, (510) 548-5525. Chez Panisse is the origin of California Cuisine, and still is the best representation of the style that focuses on local produce in season. Fixed price menus downstairs, which usually require a reservation a month in advance. It's worth it, though. The cafe upstairs offers more variety, and it's easier to get a table. Still, if your parents are paying, try to book downstairs. http://www.chezpanisse.com
Saul's, 1475 Shattuck Ave., (510) 848-DELI. Sun-Thu 8:00am to 9:00pm, Fri-Sat 8:00am to 9:30pm. In the Gourmet Ghetto. A really good Jewish deli (well, about as good as you get in these parts) with outstanding pickles. http://www.saulsdeli.com
Blue Nile, 2525 Telegraph Avenue, 510-540-6777. The ambiance is interesting, with pictures of Ethiopia and beaded curtains. The presentation isn't proper Ethiopian; you get individual plates, instead of all the food on one injera in the middle.
Kabana, on the corner of University Ave. and San Pablo Ave., this great Pakistani restaurant is one of the anchors of West Berkeley. The daily specials are always good. Goat curry is outstanding.
Spenger's Fish Grotto, 1919 Fourth Street (at University), (510) 845-7771. Spenger's is a Berkeley Institution, a huge Fish Market and wood-paneled restaurant that serves the fresh catch of the day in many many ways. Make a reservation for lunch or dinner, or sit at the bar and experience the colorful and competent bartenders. The crab cakes are delicious. http://www.spengers.com/
Toyo, 1463 Shattuck Ave., (510) 843-3768. Great Japanese food in a small restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto.
Zachary's, 1853 Solano Ave., (510) 525-5950. Sun-Thu 11am-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm. No credit cards or checks accepted -- just cold hard cash. Pizza like you dream about. A second location is nearby in Oakland on College Avenue. http://www.zacharys.com
Acme Bar, new bar down the street from Lanesplitter. Great vibe. 2115 San Pablo Ave.
Albatross, what a fantastic bar. It has several dart boards, a pool table, and lots of board games behind the bar. Sunday nights they run a trivia contest. 1822 San Pablo Ave.
Beckett's, New Irish pub decorated to look like an old pub. Multiple floors, plenty of nooks, plenty of whiskey. 2271 Shattuck Ave
Brennan's, Working-class pub with cafeteria-style food. 4th & University.
Jupiter, the inside of Jupiter smells like old beer. The backyard patio is fantastic, though. They have a huge selection of beer, including their own microbrews. 2181 Shattuck.
Lanesplitter, This is a fantastic new bar on San Pablo Ave. Lots of great beers, a large backyard patio, and superb pizza. 2033 San Pablo Ave.
Pyramid Brewery, massive brewery/restaurant, serving Pyramid Ales. 901 Gilman St.
Starry Plough, Relaxed atmosphere. The walls are decorated with fantastic anti-government posters. They have Irish dancing on Monday nights, and local bands during the rest of the week. 3101 Shattuck
Thalassa, a billiards hall of grand proportion with a nice jukebox and a couple of pinball machines. Open from noon to 1 AM. 2367 Shattuck Ave @ Durant (near Downtown)
Triple Rock. Good brewpub with light pub fare and shuffle board. 1920 Shattuck Ave.
Double Tree Hotel, 200 Marina Boulevard (in the Berkeley Marina, at the west end of University Ave.), (510) 548-7920. Hotel is in the marina.
Berkeley, like most of the East Bay, is in the 510 area code.