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Berkeley (California)

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Berkeley has a reputation for being perhaps the most progressive city in the United States. Rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960's, visitors will find an eclectic mix of cultures and viewpoints. Berkeley's free-thinking environment has seen the birth of quality attractions, great food from many cultures, and of course the 30,000-person University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley has a reputation for being one of the most progressive and liberal cities in the United States. Rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960's, visitors will find an eclectic mix of cultures and viewpoints. Berkeley's free-thinking environment has seen the birth of quality attractions, great food from many cultures, and of course the 30,000-person University of California, Berkeley.
==Get in==
==Get in==

Revision as of 06:33, 17 December 2007

Berkeley [1] is a city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the United States.


Berkeley has a reputation for being one of the most progressive and liberal cities in the United States. Rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960's, visitors will find an eclectic mix of cultures and viewpoints. Berkeley's free-thinking environment has seen the birth of quality attractions, great food from many cultures, and of course the 30,000-person University of California, Berkeley.

Get in

By plane

  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) is preferred. Take the AirBART shuttle to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Oakland Airport station, and then take a Richmond-bound train to the Downtown Berkeley station. Alternatively, you can use a rental car and drive up Interstate 80 to the University Avenue exit.
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is also convenient but will take a little longer. Similarly, take a BART train to Berkeley. Driving is a bit tougher, but is possible: take the US Highway 101 north and then Interstate 80 east across the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Stay on 80 east and exit University Avenue.
  • San Jose International Airport (SJC) is in the region but tougher. A rental car will probably be easiest, but public transit is possible.

By train

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) offers excellent service to Berkeley from other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Amtrak offers service to Berkeley from other parts of the United States via the Berkeley station, Emeryville station, or Richmond station. Consult for details on how to get from the Amtrak stations to your destination; sadly the Berkeley station is in an out-of-the-way location of the city. If you are travelling to downtown Berkeley or the University, transfer to BART at the Richmond station and travel on BART to the downtown Berkeley station.

By car

  • From San Francisco, Berkeley is a simple 10-minute drive east on Interstate 80 across the Bay Bridge and up to University Avenue.
  • From Sacramento, Berkeley is an hour and a half drive west on Interstate 80.
  • From Los Angeles and Southern California, Berkeley is a 6 hour drive up Interstate 5, then west on Interstate 580

By bus

  • Greyhound offers bus service to nearby Oakland and San Francisco.
  • Local bus service is provided by AC Transit. For specific itineraries, visit the website.

By boat

There are ferries from Marin County and San Francisco to nearby Oakland, but are probably most useful as a scenic method of travel.

If you are traveling by private boat or charter yacht, Berkeley has a 1,000 berth marina [2], the largest municipal marina in the Bay Area. Both the Berkeley Marina and the Berkeley Yacht Club offer guest berthing.

Get around

  • Driving. Cars are most useful away from downtown (near campus) and in Berkeley's steep hills. It's often better to stay on the main roads unless you know your way because of the many road barriers to prevent through traffic in residential areas. Also, be mindful of cyclists and pedestrians; many cyclists often ride in lanes (as is their legal right in California), and pedestrians may expect cars to stop for them. Remember that as a motorist, you need to be especially cautious in order to avoid harming cyclists and pedestrians.
  • Parking can be difficult and expensive near campus and downtown. The easiest and most expensive means of parking is in one of the several garages. The biggest garage near campus is the Durant/Channing garage, but you must pay in advance. Many stores on Telegraph will validate your parking if you ask. Most street parking is either metered or 2-hour. If you are fortunate to find a non-metered street parking close to your destination, you can park for free -- some people are known to wipe off the chalk mark left by the meter maid (normally back of rear tire) every three hours or so. Be warned: This is not legal. In an extreme emergency (i.e., ten minutes late for your final exam), you can almost always find parking near the Berkeley police station near Sproul Hall. You might get a ticket, but you'll definitely get a kick-ass parking spot.
  • Bicycles. Weather permitting, the best way to get around quickly near downtown Berkeley or near campus is on bicycle. Berkeley requires residents to register bicycles with the City of Berkeley in an attempt to deter theft. Bicycle theft is a serious problem in Berkeley. If you ride your bike, make sure that you lock everything, including tires. Also removing the seat wouldn't be a bad idea either, especially if your bike will be outside for any time at night. AC Transit buses have racks on the front for bicycles. You may have to lower the rack yourself. Bicycles are allowed on BART, but not on San Francisco bound trains during morning rush hour, and do not bring your bicycle in the first car. Check with BART before you leave or you'll get a warning from BART Police and forced to wait until permitted or else face a fine and a stern look from Officer Forehand. Folding bicycles are always allowed.
  • Walking is the least expensive and most effective means of getting around downtown and near campus. Take BART or AC Transit and take glee in watching the poor saps who thought driving would be better. You will very quickly outpace most drivers near campus.
  • Public transportation is thus an important consideration in getting around downtown and near the university. Check for trip planning for more information.


  • University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, or "Cal"), Visitor Center, 101 University Hall (at the corner of University Avenue and Oxford Streets), [3]. 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 / Sather Tower [4] ($2 general admission), which offers sweeping views of the Bay Area.
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, Centennial Drive (located in the hills of the Berkeley campus), +1 510 642-5132, [5]. Every day, 10AM-5PM. Offers many hands-on science exhibits, especially good for children. This is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of the Bay Area: San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland and the Bay Bridge. Nearby is the UC botanical garden.
  • Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way (between Telegraph and Durant, additional entrance at 2621 Durant Avenue), +1 510 642-0808, [6]. W-Su 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-7PM. Though small, BAM's art galleries and its rotating exhibitions rival any other big-city collection. The museum, run by the University of California, is located in a building that is itself an impressive work of modernist architecture.


  • Berkeley Marina and Pier, [7]. At the west end of University Avenue, near Interstate 80. From the pier, you get great views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay. Not recommended at night, as there's no light, not much to see, and if you run into a police officer, they'll think you're either lost or involved in suspicious activity. With steady winds coming off the bay and a view to kill for, this is a kite flying Mecca. There is also a kite shop in a truck that parks here most afternoons that sells very upscale kites (and not so upscale kites) and parts.
  • People's Park. While not visually spectacular, this is a landmark of the 1960's Free Speech Movement. People's Park today is a homeless encampment and illicit drug emporium. Avoid the whole area at night.
  • Tilden Park, [8]. Offers several inexpensive activities for families with children. Home to a 5-inch scale, narrow-gauge working steam train. $8 gets five rides through the woods atop the Berkeley hills, including a tunnel and trestle bridge. Right next door is the Golden Gate Live Steamers Club, maintained and operated by 275 members. This is an entire miniature railroad for hand-built steam engines.
  • Berkeley Rose Garden, on Euclid Avenue (at Bayview Place), +1 510 981-5150 (City Recreation Office), [9]. A half-hour's walk north of the UC Berkeley campus. Especially nice for watching the sunset, with a view of the bay.
  • Botanical Gardens, on Centennial Drive (in the hills above the UC campus), +1 510 643-2755, [10]. Open daily 9AM-5PM; closed first Tuesdays of each month and on certain holidays. Part outdoor museum, park, and biological research facility for the University of California, the 34-acre garden hosts over 12,000 different species of plant life. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $1 for children.


  • Berkeley Repertory Theater ("Berkeley Rep"), 2025 Addison Street (near Shattuck; 2 blocks north of Berkeley BART station), +1 510 647-2949, [11]. 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).
  • Greek Theatre, [12]. Located in the UC Berkeley Campus on Gayley Road. Check the Cal Performances website for upcoming shows or concerts.
  • Berkeley Sauna, 1947 Milvia St (near University Avenue). +1 510 845-8595. M-Th Noon-10PM, F Noon-11PM, Sa 10:30AM-11PM, Su 10:30AM-10PM. 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.
  • Golfing at Tilden. Enjoy the 3-level driving range and rolling 18-hole public course. (See also Do section for more on Tilden Park.)
  • California Football games from Tightwad Hill. Just above Strawberry Canyon where Memorial Stadium is located, is a hill known colloquially as Tightwad Hill. During the Fall season, students and the public gather here to watch games of the California Golden Bears Football Team for free. Also an ideal location for spectacular views of the Bay Area including Downtown San Francisco. Anyone is free to come as long as they pick up their own trash and don't wear the colors of The Cardinal of Stanford University.


  • The University of California, Berkeley [13] is a world-class university consistently ranked as the number-one public university in the United States. Study abroad programs are available, and international students are housed in the fittingly-named International House at Piedmont Ave. and Bancroft Way. The University also offers summer courses and extension classes available to the general public. [14]
  • Berkeley City College, 2020 Milvia St. (formerly Vista Community College) (on Center St.), [15].
  • Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Rd. next to UC Berkeley.


  • Work-study programs are available through the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Berkeley Chamber of Commerce [16]. The chamber of commerce provides business resources and events.


  • 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 hobos. Besides its restaurants (see the Eat section) Telegraph is the site of many bookstores, music shops, smoke shops, and used clothing exchanges.
    • Cody's Books, [17]. Cody's flagship store on Telegraph closed its doors on July 10, 2006. They have one other store on Fourth Street which will remain open.
    • Moe's Books, [18], a four-story bookstore with a large selection of half-price used books. They sometimes have in-store readings.
    • Rasputin Music, [19]. Well known independent music store with a large selection of used music and LPs.
    • Amoeba Music, [20], lowest prices and a huge selection with that one rare album you've been looking for.
    • Berkeley Hat, [21], 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.
    • Comic Relief, 2026 Shattuck Ave., [22]. This is one of the best comics stores in the US, hands down. You can find everything from superheroes to independent comics to self-published 'zines 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.
    • Half Price Books has recently moved in next to Comic Relief, on Shattuck at Addison.
  • 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.).
  • Fourth Street. Interesting upscale retail center with boutiques. Good food at Bette's Diner (American), and the only remaining Cody's books [23] in Berkeley.
    • East Bay Vivarium, 1827-C 5th Street, +1 510 841-1400, [24]. 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. Black Oak Books, 1491 Shattuck Ave.[25] has new, used, and out-of-print books. Neighbors include a card store, three or four women's clothing stores, a great produce store, the Sandwich Collective, and the Cheeseboard Collective. Heaven!
  • Rockridge district, Oakland (College Avenue at California Highway 24). Also served by the Rockridge BART rail station. Very similar to the Elmwood district--it's located on the same street, after all, and only several blocks apart (separated by residences).
  • Solano Avenue, Albany (between The Alameda and San Pablo Avenue) [26]. 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.



  • Cheese Board Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, +1 510 549-3055 (email: [email protected]), [27]. 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. Buy it by the slice or take home a half-bake. One of many candidates for best pizza in the universe. 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).
  • Top Dog, 2534 Durant, +1 510 843-5967, [28]. A Berkeley institution, with locations on 3 sides of campus (Hearst, Durant Ave, and Center St.) Amazing hot dogs for $2.75 and walls filled with libertarian political writings. 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.
  • Ozzy's Soda Fountain, 2900 College Ave., +1 510 843-1300. Inside the Elmwood Pharmacy, lies a Berkeley treasure since 1921, a real old-style soda fountain with great shakes and sandwiches and breakfast food.
  • Blondie's and Fat Slice pizza, Telegraph Avenue at Durant. $2.50 for a slice of pizza in the heart of Berkeley's southside. Has fed an uncountable amount of undergraduate stomachs.
  • Arinell Pizza, 2119 Shattuck Ave. (between University and Allston, near Berkeley BART station). "Authentic" New York style pizza that attracts the faithful around the Bay Area. Spartan facilities, but $2.25 for a slice of Neapolitan and $2.50 for a slice of Sicilian.
  • Vik's Chaat Corner, 726 Allston Way. Inexpensive and authentic Indian food.
  • Naan 'n Curry, 2366 Telegraph Ave. and 2984 College Ave, [29]. This San Francisco-based restaurant has a couple transplants in Berkeley: the Telegraph one is a hole in the wall while the College one has a pleasant decor. Both very crowded. Also the best, cheapest and most filling Indian food around.
  • 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.
  • 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. Not to be missed.
  • Gelato Milano, 2170 Shattuck Avenue at Center Street, [30]. Sun-Thu 1 pm to 11 pm, Fri and Sat 1 pm to 12 midnight. Authentic Italian gelato and non-dairy fruit sorbetto made on the premises.
  • Picante, 1328 6th St, +1 510 525-3121. 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.
  • Crepes A-Go-Go, 2334 Telegraph Ave. and 2125 University Ave.


  • Barney's is a small California sit-down burger chain that makes good burgers, curly fries, and milkshakes. 1600 Shattuck Ave./1591 Solano Ave.
  • Saul's, 1475 Shattuck Ave., +1 510 848-DELI, [31]. Su-Th 8AM-9PM, F-Sa 8AM-9:30PM. In the Gourmet Ghetto. A Jewish deli (well, about as good as you get in Berkeley) with outstanding pickles.
  • Zachary's, 1853 Solano Ave., +1 510 525-5950, [32]. 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.
  • Tanaka, Shattuck at University. Superb Japanese food in a beautiful ambience. The head chef, Tanaka, is there most of the time and very friendly. Catch him in a good mood (i.e. Friday night) and you might get some free sake.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Venezia, 1799 University Ave, +1 510 849-4681, [33]. Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30PM-9:30PM. Lunch Tu-F 11:30AM-1:30PM. An high-quality, upscale, but not too expensive Italian restaurant with great décor.
  • La Mediterranee, 2936 College Ave., +1 510 540-7773, [34]. 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.
  • 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.
  • Toyo, 1463 Shattuck Ave., +1 510 843-3768. Great Japanese food in a small restaurant in the Gourmet Ghetto.
  • Spenger's Fish Grotto, 1919 Fourth Street (at University), +1 510 845-7771, [35]. 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.
  • Breads of India, 2448 Sacramento. Regional Indian restaurant whose menu changes from day to day, each entree on the menu has its own bread recommended with it.
  • China Village, 1335 Solano Ave. (at Ramona), Albany, +1 510 525-2285. M-W 11AM-9:30PM, Th-F 11AM-10:30PM, Sa-Su 10AM-10:30PM. Szechuan cuisine unmatched in the area, and at reasonable prices. Famous for the West Style (1000 Chile) fish.


  • Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave, +1 510 548-5525, [36]. 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 ($65 as of Jun 2004, reduced prices on Monday), 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.
  • La Bateau Ivre, 2629 Telegraph Ave, +1 510 849-1100, [37]. Upscale French restaurant and coffeehouse in a romantic 1898 home on Telegraph Ave, but away from the major shopping.



Berkeley has a host of fine drinking establishments, many of which serve a decent meal in addition to a decent pint.

  • Acme Bar, 2115 San Pablo Ave (one block south of University Ave.), +1 510 644-2226. New bar down the street from Lanesplitter, featuring punk and rockabilly music. Great vibe.
  • Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave (two blocks north of University Ave.), +1 510 843-2473, [38]. Su-Tu 6PM–2AM, W-Sa 4:30PM–2AM. What a fantastic bar. It has several dart boards, a pool table, and lots of board games behind the bar. Sunday nights at 8:30PM they run a trivia contest.
  • Beckett's, 2271 Shattuck Ave (between Bancroft and Kittredge), +1 510 647-1790, [39]. Daily 4PM-1:30AM. New Irish pub decorated to look like an old pub. Multiple floors, plenty of nooks, plenty of whiskey.
  • Blakes on Telegraph, 2367 Telegraph Ave (between Durant and Channing), +1 510 848-0886, [40]. M-Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 11:30AM-1AM. A student favorite and often frequented by undergraduates of nearby UC Berkeley. Live shows almost any day of the week.
  • Brennan's Restaurant, 720 University Ave (at 4th St.), +1 510 841-0960. Working-class pub with cafeteria-style food.
  • Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave. (between Center and Allston), +1 510 THE-TAPS, [41]. M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-1:30AM, Sa noon-1:30am, Su 1PM-midnight. The inside of Jupiter smells like old beer. The backyard patio is fantastic, though. 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, [42]. Daily 11:30AM-12:30AM. Lots of great beers, a large backyard patio, and superb pizza.
  • Pyramid Brewery, 901 Gilman St., +1 510 528-9880, [43]. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM (these are restaurant hours; bar closes half an hour later). Massive brewery/restaurant, serving local Pyramid Ales.
  • Raleigh's, 2438 Telegraph Ave. (at Haste), +1 510 848-8652. Another student favorite. There's a wonderful beer garden in the back (which closes later in the evening), pool tables, and good burgers.
  • Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave. (three blocks south of Ashby, two blocks east of Ashby BART), +1 510 841-2082, [44]. 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.
  • Thalassa, 2367 Shattuck Ave. (at Durant), +1 510 848-1766. M-Fr 2PM-2AM, Sa-Sun noon-2AM. A billiards hall of grand proportion with a nice jukebox and a couple of pinball machines. Famous for not having a sign -- look for the neon martini glass.
  • Triple Rock, 1920 Shattuck Ave. (at Hearst), +1 510 THE-BREW, [45]. 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.

  • Espresso Roma 2960 College Ave, +1 510 644-3773. 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, +1 510 843-5282. 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, +1 510 644-3100. Milano is a few blocks away from Strada, and also practically on campus. No outdoor seating here. Also a haven for studying students.
  • Peet's Coffee & Tea [46]. 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 2124 Vine St. (and it's still there). Great tea selection, very intense coffee, and interesting goodies. Other locations in Berkeley: 2255 Shattuck Ave., 1825 Solano Ave., 2916 Domingo Ave., 1776 4th St. (has outdoor seating with excellent people-watching), and 2501 Telegraph Ave.
  • People's Coffee and Tea, 2015 Shattuck Avenue, [47]. 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!



  • Beau Sky Hotel, 2520 Durant Ave, +1 510 540-7688, [48]. 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.
  • Berkeley Hostel, 2434 Piedmont Ave, +1 510 849-4800, [49].


  • Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way, +1 510 549-1000, [50]. Located across the street from the University of California campus. Located in a history 1928 Arts & Craft building and is a National Landmark hotel.
  • Downtown Berkeley Inn, 2001 Bancroft Way, +1 510 843-4043, [51]. 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, +1 510 845-7300, [52]. 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/restoration in recent years. Hotel bar features happy hour and karaoke on selected nights. Elegantly restored restaurant just off the lobby serves mid-priced Afghan cuisine, with fast and affordable vegetarian lunch specials.
  • Doubletree Hotel, 200 Marina Boulevard (in the Berkeley Marina, at the west end of University Ave.), +1 510 548-7920, [53]. Hotel is in the marina.
  • The Faculty Club, University of California at Berkeley, +1 510 540-5678, [54]. Located right on the UC Berkeley campus.
  • Hotel Durant, 2600 Durant Avenue (between College Ave. and Telegraph Ave.), +1 510 845-8981, [55]. Great if you want to be next to the University of California campus.
  • The city of Emeryville is nearby and has a few more chain hotels such as Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn, and Four Points by Sheraton.


  • The Claremont Resort and Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, +1 510 843-3000 (main number), +1 877-206-1781 (reservations), [56]. Don't let the Shining-esque grandeur scare you. Special deals run around $170/night, but you can spend as much as you like.


  • Berkeley, like most of the East Bay, is in the 510 area code.
  • Internet access is widespread. Many coffee shops offer wireless internet access. Public terminals are available at the UC Berkeley Doe library.
  • Mobile phone coverage is generally understood to be excellent.

Stay safe

West and South Berkeley, especially near Oakland, can be unsafe at night. In 2001, Berkeley was reported to have the second-highest crime rate for large California cities, though many Berkeley crimes are drug-related. While the north side is quieter and generally safer, use common sense and avoid walking alone at night. As a rough border, one could argue that at night, it is best not to venture west of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd or south of Ashby Ave, if you are by yourself. Also be aware of your surroundings - the more bars on windows, the less safe the area, generally. Bicycling is a safe way to get around at night; for those who prefer not to ride, free night escorts are provided by the University of California police near campus: call +1 510 642-WALK.


The northern area of the UC Berkeley campus is surprisingly forested, and might be a good place to get away from some frustrations. The Marina has a nice one mile loop walk. It's windy enough for kites almost every afternoon but is often wind-free in the morning. The Whole Foods on Shattuck at Ashby has massage therapists standing by, if a chair massage would be soothing.

Get out

When locals (and students) need to get out, they often head to "The City" -- San Francisco. It's easy to get to by BART train and a logical next step of exploration -- assuming, of course, you didn't just come from there! Oakland, just south of Berkeley, is a large and diverse city as well, with many ethnic neighborhoods less frequented by tourists than those of San Francisco.

Smaller cities around Berkeley worth checking out include Emeryville to the southwest, Albany to the north, [El Cerrito] further north, and Walnut Creek to the east.

The hills above Berkeley and Oakland, including Tilden and Wildcat Parks, are easily accessible by foot, car, or bicycle, and offer many hikes with spectacular views.

Further out from Berkeley, you might consider striking out to Angel Island for the day or an overnight camping trip. Marin and Sonoma counties are moderate drives from Berkeley as well. Northeast is Sacramento, the state's capital city.

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