- For other places with the same name, see Berkeley (disambiguation).
Berkeley is a city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the United States. Famous for its liberal politics, Berkeley is home to the University of California Berkeley, an ethnically diverse community, and numerous cultural and culinary attractions.
Set on sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley (pronounced BURK-lee) will surprise those who recall it as the counter-culture center of the 1960s. Free Speech and flower power are forever in the city "DNA," but Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel destination. You'll still see more tie-dye per capita in Berkeley, but a deeper look reveals a dynamic city filled with superb theaters, restaurants, and shops. Berkeley's progressive, free-thinking environment has seen the birth of quality attractions, great food from many cultures, and of course the internationally renowned University of California, Berkeley. For a city of just over 100,000 people—barely a medium-sized city in the California context—Berkeley is extremely complex.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Like the rest of the Bay Area, Berkeley has a mild climate, with wet, mild winters and dry summers. The high temperature is typically in the 60s °F (between 15 and 20 °C). The city's position directly across the bay from the Golden Gate ensures that Berkeley gets its share of fog, with mornings typically cool and foggy, followed by sunny afternoons, with the fog returning at night. The city's location also means you may experience brisk winds coming off the bay if in an exposed area: typically, the marina or a hillside facing the bay.
- Oakland International Airport (OAK IATA) is the closest option. Take the BART to OAK "people mover" ($6 extra fare) or the AC Transit #73 bus ($2.10) to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Oakland Airport station, and then take a Richmond-bound train to the Downtown Berkeley station ($2.40). Alternatively, you can use a rental car and drive up Interstates 880 and 80 to the University Avenue exit. There are also shuttle van services, providing door-to-door service.
- San Francisco International Airport is also convenient. BART runs from the International Terminal to Berkeley in just under 1 hour. Driving without traffic is as short as 35 minutes, but at commute hours can take up to 2 hours. From SFO, take US Highway 101 north and then Interstate 80 east, crossing the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Stay on I-80 east and exit at one of the 3 Berkeley exits: Ashby Avenue, University Avenue, or Gilman Street.
- San Jose International Airport (SJC IATA) is in the region. A rental car or shuttle service is likely fastest and easiest, public transportation is possible but very time-consuming (a little over two hours). San Jose is considerably farther from Berkeley than San Francisco (at least an hour's drive in no traffic) and is not recommended.
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), +1 415 989-2278, a regional commuter rail and subway system, offers frequent service to Berkeley from San Francisco (including the airport), Oakland Airport and other parts of the East Bay. If you are visiting San Francisco and planning a side-trip to Berkeley, BART is the easiest and fastest way to go. Trains run roughly every 15-20 minutes and the trip time is about the same. Berkeley is served by two lines, one of which heads south through Oakland to Fremont, while the other runs through West Oakland and under the San Francisco Bay to San Francisco and the peninsula. Three BART stations serve Berkeley: Ashby, Downtown Berkeley (sometimes just "Berkeley" on older signs), and North Berkeley. The Downtown Berkeley stop, at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street, is the best stop for tourists and close to the UC Berkeley campus (1 block) as well as restaurants, shops, theaters and other popular Berkeley destinations. Allow 20-30 minutes from any of the Market Street stations in downtown San Francisco (Embarcadero, Montgomery St., Powell St., Civic Center/UN Plaza) to Downtown Berkeley station. Fares are based on the distance traveled: the regular adult fare is $4.35 for a one-way trip from any of the Market Street stations in San Francisco, $2.10 from downtown Oakland, $9.30 from Oakland Coliseum/Airport, and $10.30 from San Francisco International Airport. (These are adult fares using a Clipper card, which is a reloadable smart card that can also be used on other Bay Area transit systems. Without a Clipper card, add 50 cents. Fares using Youth Clipper or Senior/Disabled Clipper cards are less. For fare details visit the BART fare calculator.)
- Amtrak offers service to Berkeley via the Berkeley station, Emeryville station, or Richmond station. Consult 511.org for details on how to get from the Amtrak stations to your destination. Sadly, the Berkeley Amtrak station is at the edge of the city, under University Avenue at 4th Street, near the marina. However, it is at the start of the line for the #51B AC Transit bus, which runs every 10 minutes at peak times, 15–20 minutes at most other times, and once an hour after midnight, and will take you to downtown Berkeley, the University, College Avenue, and just about every shopping area in town. Alternatively, if you are traveling to downtown Berkeley or the University, transfer to BART at the Richmond station and travel on BART to the downtown Berkeley station.
- From San Francisco, Berkeley is a simple 15-minute drive (45 minutes or more with congestion) 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.
- Greyhound offers bus service to nearby Oakland and San Francisco.
- Local bus service is provided by AC Transit. For specific itineraries, visit the 511.org website.
- During the school year, the university has buses (Bear Transit) that run every 15 minutes between downtown, the BART station, and most parts of campus. If boarding downtown, the stop is on the uphill side of Shattuck Avenue in front of the Arinell Pizza. Fare is $1 during the day, and free at night after 7:30PM.
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, the largest municipal marina in the Bay Area. Both the Berkeley Marina and the Berkeley Yacht Club offer guest berthing.
Cars are most useful far away from downtown (i.e. not near the campus) or 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. 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. Be very careful when driving near the University as students tend to have the mindset that they have the right of way. To further confuse drivers many roads near the university are one way roads (and can turn so spontaneously - so watch signs at major intersections) or are closed to certain drivers.
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 Telegraph Channing Garage. Many stores on Telegraph have validation coupons discounting hourly parking 50% or $5 off all-day parking. Arrive after 8PM and pay only $4 night rate until closing. Most street parking is either metered (expect to pay at least $1.50 per hour) or 2-hour, but free after 6PM. If you are visiting a resident, they can purchase a one-day or 14-day visitor street parking pass[dead link] (not valid in metered spots) for you at city services in downtown. If you are fortunate to find a non-metered street parking close to your destination, you can usually park for free for two hours. Be aware of street sweeping signs. Street sweeping is usually once a month, but the day varies from street to street (even from one side of the street to the other), and a good rule of thumb is that if it seems like the street parking on one side is too good to be true, then double-check it isn't street sweeping day. City parking fines run from $48 (Street sweeping and lack of permit in 2 hours spot) to over $300 (Disabled spot violations), and city parking enforcement is particularly vigilant, so be aware: you can and will get multiple tickets for the same violation if you don't move quickly (parking 30 minutes in the 5 minute yellow zone can yield five separate $80 tickets). Even if you find a free "unlimited" parking spot, you have to move your car every 72 hours without exception. Check this parking map of Berkeley to find free parking and know when street cleaning applies.
The Eastshore Freeway which runs along the city's western edge is part of a short concurrency of I-80 and I-580 that may confuse some drivers. Heading south on the freeway toward the Bay Bridge and San Francisco, drivers are simultaneously following I-80 west and I-580 east. Drivers unfamiliar with the area should ensure they know whether their destination is toward Oakland and San Francisco or toward Richmond and Sacramento. These cities supplement the route designations at entrances to this freeway.
Rates are usually by the hour or the day, depending on the individual service. Getaround, Gig Car Share, Upshift and Zipcar offer easily-accessible services to account holders city-wide.
By public transit
Public transportation is thus an important consideration in getting to and around downtown and near the university. BART is the fastest connection to Oakland, Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The Berkeley BART station in Downtown Berkeley is usually the best option for travelers; the Ashby station is in a seedier part of South Berkeley and the North Berkeley station is located in a residential neighborhood near University Ave. AC Transit goes places BART doesn't, such as the trendy Fourth Street commercial district (line 51B), the upscale Rockridge neighborhood (line 51B to 51A) and the resurgent Temescal commercial district in nearby North Oakland (line 6 or nearby 18). Check 511.org for trip planning for more information.
Weather permitting, the best way to get around quickly near downtown Berkeley or near campus is on bicycle. Bicycle theft is a serious problem in Berkeley; if you ride your bike, be sure to lock your front wheel as well as the frame. Some choose to remove the seat as well, however this precaution is likely unnecessary if you are only leaving your bike for a short period of time and not overnight. AC Transit buses have racks on the front for bicycles. 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 the officer. Folding bicycles are always allowed.
Most bike-sharing is through Ford GoBike and their trademark blue bikes and docking stations. LimeBike mostly provides their rental scooters (green of course). Both tend to be quite pricey. GoBike's machines allow only a limited time of use: 30 minutes at a time for a day-long access pass or 45 minutes a ride for an annual membership fee.
Walking is the least expensive and most effective means of getting around downtown and near campus. You will very quickly outpace most drivers near campus. Take BART or AC Transit to the Berkeley station in downtown (the North Berkeley station is in a residential neighborhood).
- 1 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St (Corner of Center St and Oxford St), ☏ +1 510-642-0808, email@example.com. F 11AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-noon (members only) noon-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. 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 in a building that is itself an impressive work of modernist architecture. With one of the most extensive film archives in the world, the PFA offers many film series throughout the year, focusing on directors, eras, or artistic movements. It also screens some of the films during the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. $10, free for BAMPFA members; UC Berkeley students, faculty, staff; 18 & under; one adult per child 13 & under; and artists with exhibits.
- 2 Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Dr (in the hills of the Berkeley campus), ☏ +1 510-642-5132, firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-Su 10AM-3PM. 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. During the summer, the main Hall is closed to the public, and events are held at the outdoor plaza. All attendees must purchase tickets in advance. Summer events are from May 28 - August 15. They will be closed until the fall, after August 15. Adults $16, members free.
- 3 Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, 103 Kroeber Hall #3712 (on Bancroft Way at College Avenue, inside the UC Berkeley campus), ☏ +1 510-642-3682. (Closed temporarily). Founded in 1901, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology contains an estimated 3.8 million objects from California and around the world, as well as extensive documents, photographs and film recordings. There are also approximately 20,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts, with special emphasis on the various predynastic cultures. The core of this collection comes from excavations carried out by George Reisner between 1899 and 1905.
- 4 University of California, Koret Visitor Center (UC Berkeley, or "Cal"), 2227 Piedmont Ave (Goldman Plaza, near Memorial Stadium), ☏ +1 510-642-5215, email@example.com. M-F 8:30AM-9:30PM, Sa Su 9AM-1PM. 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. For a break, take a seat in the Doe Library's reading room (but don't bring the kids or bother the students). If you're touring alone, the main attraction is a ride up the Campanile/Sather Tower ($3 adults, $2 seniors and children < 18, free for Cal students with ID), which offers sweeping views of the Bay Area. Walking tours will be available after August 24, check back with the website for updates.
- 5 Berkeley Marina and Pier, 201 University Ave (at the west end of University Avenue, near Interstate 80), ☏ +1 510-981-6740, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 8AM-4PM. From the pier, you get great views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay. Local Fisherpersons cast for their dinner, and if you're lucky you might see one catch a skate. 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.
- 6 Berkeley Rose Garden, 1200 Euclid Ave (across from Codornices Park), ☏ +1 510-981-5150 (City Recreation Office). dawn to dusk. A half-hour's walk north of the UC Berkeley campus. Especially nice for watching the sunset, with a view of the bay.
- 7 César Chávez Park, 11 Spinnaker Way (from University Ave, take a right on Marina and follow through the curve, parking is at the end on Spinnaker), ☏ +1 510-981-5150. Daily 6AM-10PM, unless otherwise posted. A bike and pedestrian path runs around the water's edge to the bay side from the back of the peninsula this 90-acre park shares with the Marina and Pier, revealing an incredible view of the bay, the city, Alcatraz, the GG Bridge, and Mt. Tamalpais. With steady winds coming off the bay, a large field, and low hills, this is a kite flying Mecca (the first scene in the film adaptation of The Kite Runner was filmed here, though labeled as San Francisco). There is also a kite shop in a truck that parks here most afternoons that sells kites and parts. The park also has picnic areas with BBQ pits, an off-leash dog area, a wetland and wildlife sanctuary.
- 8 Indian Rock Park, 950 Indian Rock Ave (Indian Rock Ave at Shattuck Ave). Indian Rock Park is a 1.18-acre public park located in the northeast part of the city, about one block north of the Arlington/Marin Circle, and straddles Indian Rock Avenue. The central feature of the park is a large rock outcropping on the west side of Indian Rock Ave. You can climb up the rocks on the carved out stairs and gaze at the great vista from the top. Highly recommended for sunsets.
- 9 People's Park, 2556 Haste St (Corner of Haste St and Bowditch St). While not visually spectacular, this is a landmark of the 1960s Free Speech Movement. People's Park today is a homeless encampment and illicit drug emporium. For the most part, the homeless folks will leave you alone, and the park's location near downtown makes it an attractive place to eat lunch on a sunny day, or play a game of basketball.
- 10 Tilden Park (Check website for directions), toll-free: +1-888-327-2757 (option 3 extension 4562). Daily 5AM-10PM, unless otherwise posted. Offers several inexpensive activities for families with children. Many kilometers of hiking trails of various difficulties are available for free hiking, and include vistas of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. 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. Bus 67 from Berkeley BART goes through the park on weekends. Also in the park, Lake Anza is a popular swimming destination for families and summer camps. There is a wonderful Botanical Garden with a very diverse terrain and a great collection of manzanitas and other California native plants. Be sure to check website for updates concerning weather effects, construction and so on. Check website for amenities and trail closures as well. See website for specific attraction fees.
- 11 University of California Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Dr (in the hills above the UC campus), ☏ +1 510-643-2755, email@example.com. Daily 9AM-10AM (Members only) 10AM-5PM (Closed first Tuesdays). 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 $15 for adults, $12 for Seniors and non-UCB students, $7 Children 7-17. Children 6 and under, NARM/ROAM/ARM Reciprocal members with card, UCB faculty and students, LBNL, UCOP staff and UCBG members free. (Reservations required.).
- 1 924 Gilman (Alternative Music Foundation), 924 Gilman St (8th & Gilman), ☏ +1 510-524-8180. North Berkeley is home to one of the world's most famous punk rock clubs, known simply as Gilman, after the street it is located on. Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings, and sometimes Sunday afternoons.
- 2 Adventure Playground, 160 University Avenue (south side of the Berkeley Marina), ☏ +1 510-981-6720, firstname.lastname@example.org. 11AM–5PM weekends year-round; 9AM–5PM M–F during the summer. Closed on holidays and for rain. This "junkyard" playground for school-age kids is a top-10 playground according to the National Geographic magazine. Kids can build with real tools, paint their creations, and play in the water and mud. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and clothes that you don't mind being ruined. Tools are collected 30 minutes before closing time. Zipline is taken down 15 minutes before closing time. Reservations are required (and expensive) for groups of five or more children, including if you plan to meet another family at the playground. Up to 4 children with parents: Free. More than 4 children: $73 to $174. One child without parents: $10 for three hours.
- 3 Aftel Archive of Curious Scents, 1518-1/2 Walnut St. Berkeley, CA 94709 (North Berkeley, cottage at end of brick driveway), ☏ +1 510-841-2111, email@example.com. 10AM–6PM Saturdays only. More of a "smell" than a "see", this one-of-a-kind archive includes all manner of bizarre scents. For a full sensory experience, you can touch many objects and experience over 300 smells. Tickets get you three sticks that you can dip into displays to take home. The archive includes objects more than a century old covering botanical specimens, perfumes, and other aromatics. $25 for an hour, minors are $15, babes-in-arms are free.
- 4 Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave (Near Gilman St), ☏ +1 510-525-5099, fax: +1 510-525-3630. Tu-Sa 10AM–5PM. If you can name a type of dance, than the odds favor it being done here, and possibly taught as well. Music and dance from the world. Veggie-friendly food, wine and beer, and kids are always welcome.
- 5 Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley Rep), 2025 Addison St (near Shattuck; 2 blocks north of Berkeley BART station), ☏ +1 510-647-2949, fax: +1 510-525-3630, firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours vary, normally Tu-Su 8PM-11PM, Sa Su 2PM-4PM (matinee). With its consistently high-quality productions of contemporary and historical plays, 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).
- 6 California Golden Bears Football. Above the Berkeley campus, Memorial Stadium plays host in the fall season to UC Berkeley football games. But if you want to watch a game for free, head above the canyon to Tightwad Hill, a hill where students and the public gather to watch games. It's also an ideal location for spectacular views of the Bay Area when there's not a game going on. Anyone is free to come as long as they pick up their own trash and don't wear the colors of Stanford University (red).
- 7 Golfing at Tilden, 10 Golf Course Dr (Grizzly Peak Rd to Golf Course Dr), ☏ +1 510-848-7373. Open Daily - Call for hours. Enjoy the 3-level driving range and rolling 18-hole public course. Call for fees.
- 8 Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Rd (Located in the UC Berkeley Campus on Gayley Rd), ☏ +1 510-642-9988. Featuring musical performances from all over the world.
- 9 Long Haul Infoshop, 3124 Shattuck Ave (near Ashby BART), ☏ +1 510-540-0751. M-Th 6PM-9PM, Sa Su 3PM-9PM. An anarchist library and community space. there is a wide range of books and magazines collected over the years for folks to read, as well as free coffee. on the weekends you may also find political and counter cultural events.
- 10 Takara Sake Co. Tasting Room and Museum, 708 Addison St (4th St), ☏ +1 510-540-8250. Daily noon-6PM, last tasting 5:30PM. 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 sake museum. Online reservations. (Recommended for weekend tastings) $5-10.
- 1 University of California, Berkeley. 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.
- 2 Berkeley City College, 2050 Center St (Main entrance on Center, near Milvia), ☏ +1 510-981-2800. A community college with a surprisingly full catalog of classes that also collaborates with UC Berkeley
- 3 Graduate Theological Union, 2400 Ridge Rd (next to UC Berkeley), ☏ +1 510-649-2400, email@example.com. A coalition of 8 theological schools with many affiliates - so many in fact that the area is sometimes called Holy Hill.
- Work-study programs are available through the University of California, Berkeley.
- Berkeley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber of commerce provides business resources and events.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides employment to Department of Energy personnel, contractors, and visiting scholars.
- Berkeley Farmers' Markets. Downtown: Center St and MLK Sa 10AM-3PM; North: Shattuck Ave and Rose St Th 3PM-7PM; South: Adeline St and 63rd St Tu 2PM-6:30PM. Excellent produce markets that also feature certain prepared foods, cheeses, oils, and performers and booths by many local organizations.
- Berkeley Flea Market (Ashby Flea Market), 1937 Ashby Ave (Office) (in the West parking lot of the Ashby BART Station), ☏ +1 510-644-0744, firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa Su 7AM-6PM. There is a lively flea market, as well as food trucks and drumming circles.
- Downtown Berkeley (around Shattuck Ave at Center St). 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.
- 1 Half Price Books, 2036 Shattuck Ave (Corner Shattuck Ave & Addison St), ☏ +1 510-526-6080. M-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Su 10AM-10PM. The largest bookstore downtown - many events from reading programs to live readings and author meet and greets.
- 2 Pegasus Books, 2349 Shattuck Ave (at Durant), ☏ +1 510-649-1320. M-Sa 10AM-6:30PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Smaller than Half Price or Moe's, Pegasus still offers a good selection of new and used books, and schedules literary events at their Downtown and Solano Ave. locations.
- Elmwood district (College Ave at Ashby Ave). Many interesting stores abound along this corridor.
- Fourth Street. Interesting upscale retail center with boutiques. Good food at Bette's Diner (American).
- 3 East Bay Vivarium, 1827-C 5th St, ☏ +1 510-841-1400, fax: +1 510-841-7102, email@example.com. M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa Su 11AM-6PM. 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.
- North Berkeley (Shattuck Ave 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 Ave). More interesting stores and restaurants.
- 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.
- 4 Amoeba Music, 2455 Telegraph Ave (Corner of Telegraph and Haste), ☏ +1 510-549-1125. W-Su 11AM-7PM. Large selection of music from a long list of genres, Whole section of movies and TV shows on DVD and Blu-Ray. Trade counter closes at 8PM.
- Berkeley Hat, 2510 Telegraph Ave (On the curve between Dwight Way and Telegraph Ave), ☏ +1 510-962-4428, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10:30AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. A wide variety of normal and eclectic hats. Online ordering and shipping available through Yahoo Live Store.
- Games of Berkeley, 2510 Durant Ave (Near Telegraph Ave.), ☏ +1 510-540-7822, fax: +1 510-540-7815, email@example.com. M, W-Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-7PM. A quirky game shop that 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.
- Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave (Between Haste St. and Dwight Way), ☏ +1 510-849-2087, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-7PM. A four-story new and used bookstore, with an antiquarian room, and a large selection of remainders. They sometimes have in-store readings. One of the premier used bookstores in the Bay Area, and California.
- Rasputin Music, 2401 Telegraph Ave (corner of Telegraph and Channing), ☏ +1 510-704-1136. Th-Sa 11AM-6:30PM, Su noon-6:30PM. First of a well-known independent music store chain with large selections of used music, DVDs and LPs.
- West Berkeley (around University Ave and San Pablo Ave). 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, 1006 University Ave (Between Ninth and Tenth), ☏ +1 510-845-3311, email@example.com. This is one of the best Bollywood and 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.
Berkeley is a culinary wonderland, renowned for its restaurants. From casual to candlelit, Berkeley's restaurants share a passion for great taste. With more than 350 restaurants in town, there is a great array of cuisine choices. Culinary adventures extend beyond restaurants and cafes to encompass tours, tastings and more.
The city imposes a 25¢ fee on all disposable cups – even for a cup of water, which would otherwise be free. You can bring your own water bottle, cup, or coffee mug to restaurants to avoid paying this fee.
Downtown and University
- 1 Gypsy's Trattoria Italiana, 2519-A Durant Ave (Near Telegraph, at the street-side of a small court of restaurants.), ☏ +1 510-548-4860, fax: +1 510-548-4875. Daily 10AM-midnight. A modest diner with a good variety of Italian favorites.
- 2 La Mission, 1255 University Ave (between Bonar St & Chestnut St), ☏ +1 510-845-5898. M-Sa 10AM-midnight, Su 1AM-11PM. Fresh, delicious Mexican food with an outdoor seating patio.
- 3 Little Plearn Thai Kitchen, 2283 Shattuck Ave (Between Bancroft Way and Kittredge St), ☏ +1 510-704-1442. Daily 11AM-9PM. A comfy little spot with art on the walls and some tidy exposed brickwork and a sizable menu.
- 4 Lucky House Thai, 2140 University Ave (Between Shattuck Ave and Walnut St), ☏ +1 510-841-8900. Daily 11AM-10PM. 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.
- 5 Taqueria Monte Cristo, 1446 University Ave (between Acton St & Sacramento St), ☏ +1 510-486-0321. Daily 9AM-midnight. A salsa selection, sangria, tacos and all the standards.
- Thai Basil Cuisine, 2519 Durant Ave, Suite G (between Telegraph & Bowditch), ☏ +1 510-548-6692. Daily 11AM-10:30PM. At the back of a small court of restaurants.
- Top Dog #1, 2534 Durant Ave (between Telegraph & Bowditch), ☏ +1 510-843-5967, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 10AM-2AM, F 10AM-3AM, Sa 11AM-3AM, Su 11AM-2AM. A Berkeley institution, with locations on two sides of campus (Durant Ave and Center St). Amazing hot dogs for $3 and walls filled with libertarian political writings.
- Top Dog #5, 2160 Center St (Near Oxford St. and UC Berkeley), ☏ +1 510-849-0176. M-F 10AM-11PM, Sa 11AM-11PM, Su 11AM-10PM.
- Yogurt Park, 2433-A Durant Ave (Sather Lane Minimall), ☏ +1 510-549-0570, email@example.com. Daily 11AM-midnight. 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.
- 6 Barney's, 1600 Shattuck Ave (Entrance on Cedar), ☏ +1 510-849-2827. Su-Th 11AM-8:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM. A small California sit-down burger chain that makes good burgers, curly fries, and milkshakes. Try the specialty shakes. Online ordering and delivery.
- 7 Cheese Board Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, ☏ +1 510-549-3183, firstname.lastname@example.org. W 8AM-4PM, Th-Sa 8AM-4PM, 5PM-8PM. Collective serves pizza two doors down from its gourmet cheese and bread shop in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. Only one kind of pizza is available each day, always vegetarian. You can buy pizza by the slice, portion of a pizza, or buy a half-baked pizza. Often considered the best pizza in Berkeley. Lines can be long in the evenings, and their hours are short. You will often see students and locals seated in the grassy median of Shattuck eating their pizza.
- 8 Berkeley Bagels, 1281 Gilman St (at Curtis St), ☏ +1 510-524-3104. M-F 6:30AM-5PM, Sa Su 7AM-5PM. A blackboard full of bagels, coffee, tea and sandwiches. Vegan options.
- Gioia Pizzeria, 1586 Hopkins St (at McGee), ☏ +1 510-528-4692, email@example.com. M-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su noon-7PM. Gourmet pizza by the slice (Brooklyn style). Daily specials. Online ordering.
- Acme Bread Company, 1601 San Pablo Ave (between Cedar St. and Virginia St.), ☏ +1 510-524-1327. M-W, Sa 8AM-4PM, Th-F 8AM-5PM, Su 8:30AM-3PM. One of the key bakeries in the Bay Area Bread Renaissance. baguettes, rustic loaves, some sweet and savory pastries.
- Kabana, 1025 University Ave (between San Pablo Ave & 10th St), ☏ +1 510-845-3355. Daily 11:30AM-3PM, 5PM-9:30PM. This great Pakistani restaurant is one of the anchors of West Berkeley. The daily specials are always good and the goat curry is outstanding.
- Picante, 1328 6th St (between Gilman St & Camelia St), ☏ +1 510-525-3121, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-8PM. 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. Online ordering. Outdoor dining only.
- Tacubaya, 1782 4th St (between Hearst Ave & Virginia St), ☏ +1 510-525-5160, email@example.com. M-F 11AM-8PM, Sa-Su 10AM-8PM. An upscale yet affordable taqueria serving Blue Bottle coffee. Everything is made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. Online ordering.
- Vik's Chaat Corner, 2390 4th St (between Bancroft Way & Channing Way), firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Th 11AM–2:30PM, 5PM–7:30PM, F-Su 11AM-7:30PM. Inexpensive and authentic Indian food, served in a converted warehouse. Some of the best in the bay. Free wifi during afternoon business hours.
Downtown and University
- Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave (Near Kittredge), ☏ +1 510-548-6900. Tu-Su 11:30AM-9PM. 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. Online reservations for large groups. Online ordering.
- Gather, 2200 Oxford St (at Allston Way), ☏ +1 510-809-0400, fax: +1 510-809-0404, email@example.com. W-F 11AM-2PM, W, Th, Su 4PM-8PM Sa, Su 10AM-2PM F, Sa 4PM-9PM. 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. Online reservations.
- Kirala, 2100 Ward St (at Shattuck Ave near the Adeline split), ☏ +1 510-549-3486. Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, 5PM-8:30PM; Sa,Su 5PM-8:30PM. 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. No reservations. Online ordering.
- Platano Salvadoran Cuisine, 2042 University Ave (between Shattuck and Milvia), ☏ +1 510-704-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-5PM. Salvadoran entrees and small plates with a good selection of Central American cervezas and wines. Catering available. Reservations required for groups of 6 or more. Online ordering.
- 9 The Butcher's Son, 1954 University Ave, ☏ +1 510-984-0818. M-F 11AM-3PM, Sa,Su 10AM-4PM. Vegan American food: sandwiches, diner fare, salads, donuts, and so on. On the heavy side but the imitation meats, cheeses, and so on are remarkably good. Weekend brunch. Online ordering. Delivery through Doordash.
- Venus, 2327 Shattuck Ave (between Bancroft and Durant), ☏ +1 510-540-5950, fax: +1 510-540-5878. M-F 8AM-2:30PM, Sa-Su 8AM-2:15PM, Th-Sa 5:30PM-9:30PM, Su-M 5PM-9PM. Great for breakfast or lunch, Venus serves some of the most innovative organic and sustainable food in Berkeley. Online reservations.
- Taste of the Himalayas, 1700-A Shattuck Ave (corner of Shattuck and Virginia), ☏ +1 510-849-4983, fax: +1 510-849-1799, email@example.com. Daily 5PM-9:30PM. Nepalese and North Indian food. Online ordering.
- Ajanta, 1888 Solano Ave (at the Alameda), ☏ +1 510-526-4373. Tu-Su 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5PM-9PM. Indian food. Many dishes are organic and sustainable. Rachel Ray listed Ajanta as one of only two "world class" restaurants on Solano Ave. Online reservations. Online ordering and delivery.
- Kirin Cuisine of Northern China, 1767 Solano Ave (between Ensenada Ave & Colusa Ave), ☏ +1 510-524-1677. M-Tu, Th-Sa 11:30AM-2PM, Su-Tu, Th 4:30PM-8:30PM, F-Sa 4:30PM-9PM. Superb Szechuan cuisine in a beautiful dining room with an open kitchen. The kung pao is recommended. Banquet facilities available.
- Vanessa's Bistro, 1715 Solano Ave (at Tulare Ave), ☏ +1 510-525-8300. Tu-Sa 4PM-9PM. Premium Vietnamese cuisine. Happy Hour from 4PM-6PM. Reservations are strongly recommended. Online reservations.
- Zachary's Chicago Pizza, 1853 Solano Ave (Between Colusa Ave and Fresno Ave), ☏ +1 510-525-5950, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-8:30PM. Now accepting credit cards as well as cash. Available in deep-dish or regular. A local and regional favorite with notoriously long lines. The regular is good, but the deep dish is the specialty of the house: a crispy pie crust with big chunks of tomato. Online ordering.
- La Mediterranee, 2936 College Ave (Between Russell St and Ashby Ave), ☏ +1 510-540-7773, email@example.com. Tu-Su 11:30AM-8:30PM. A fun pan-Mediterranean restaurant in the Elmwood District.
- Le Bateau Ivre, 2629 Telegraph Ave (at Carleton), ☏ +1 510-849-1100, firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-F 11:30AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-7PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Beautiful French restaurant and coffeehouse in a romantic 1898 home on Telegraph Ave, but away from the major shopping. Menu changes weekly. Free weekly live music events.
- Summer Kitchen and Bake Shop, 2944 College Ave (Near Ashby Ave), ☏ +1 510-981-0538, email@example.com. M 11AM-3PM, W-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Sandwiches and amazing dry goods abound at this modest temple to baked deliciousness. Online ordering. Takeout available.
- 900 Grayson, 900 Grayson St (Corner of Grayson St and 7th St), ☏ +1 510-704-9900, fax: +1 510-704-9901. M-F 8AM-10:45AM, 11:30AM-3PM; Sa 8AM-2:30PM. 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), ☏ +1 510-848-4015, fax: +1 510-848-4015, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11:30AM-3PM, 4PM-9PM. A Thai restaurant in a modest brick building that is full of the favorites and its own delicious works. Happy Hours both weekdays and weekends. Vegetarian-friendly.
- Breads of India, 2448 Sacramento (Near Dwight Way), ☏ +1 510-848-7684. W-M 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM. Regional Indian restaurant whose menu changes from day to day, each entree on the menu has its own bread recommended with it.
- Café Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave (at Francisco St), ☏ +1 510-525-7544. Daily 8AM-3PM. 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.
- Lama Bean's, 1290 6th St (at Gilman St), ☏ +1 510-528-3435. Daily 8AM-9PM. Lama Bean's is still home to the $15 three-course meal and shawarma that made it a local favorite in its original incarnation. Online ordering. Delivery available.
- Luca Cucina Italiana, 2057 San Pablo Ave (between University Ave & Addison St), ☏ +1 510-649-9718. M-Th 4:30PM-9PM, F-Sa 4PM-9:30PM. Affordable, authentic Italian food in a casual atmosphere.
- Paisan Pizzeria, 2514 San Pablo Ave (between Dwight Way & Blake St), ☏ +1 510-649-1031. Su-Th 4PM-8PM, F-Sa 4PM-9PM. Wood-fired pizzas, sumptuous pasta dishes, organic entrees, and a fine selection of Italian wines make Paisan a local favorite. Banquet facilities available.
- 1 Skate's On the Bay, 100 Seawall Dr (in the Berkeley Marina), ☏ +1 510-549-1900. Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10PM. A first-rate seafood restaurant and lounge right on the Bay. The happy hour drink and appetizer specials in the waterfront lounge are a treat, especially with the fireplace going. The view on the Golden Gate bridge and San Francisco is great. Nevertheless don't expect too much out of the cocktails. There is a fine choices of beers and wines.
- Zut! Tavern, 1820 4th St (between Virginia St & Hearst Ave), ☏ +1 510-644-0444, fax: +1 510-849-1027, email@example.com. M-Th 11:30AM-7:30PM, F 11:30AM-8PM, Sa 11AM-8PM, Su 11AM-7:30PM. Mediterranean and American food in a casual cafe atmosphere. Indoor and outdoor dining. They have great pizza. A nice respite from shopping. Reservations available. Private event space available. $10-30.
- Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave (at Vine), ☏ +1 510-548-5525, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check website for hours. 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 $75, Tuesday to Thursday $100, Friday and Saturday $125) (Jan 2018), 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.
- 10 Revival Bar & Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave (Corner of Shattuck Ave and Addison St), ☏ +1 510-549-9950. W-Th 4PM-8:30PM, F-Sa 4PM-9:30PM, Su 4PM-8PM. New "farm-to-table, organic" restaurant with good wine list. Have the fantastic cornmeal crusted onion rings on the side. Online reservations. Private dining available.
- Saul's Restaurant and Delicatessen, 1475 Shattuck Ave (Near Vine St and the Henry St split), ☏ +1 510-848-DELI (3354), email@example.com. Su-Th 8AM-8:30PM, F Sa 8AM-9PM. An old-school 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. $40+.
Berkeley has a host of fine drinking establishments. Wineries and breweries are also in the mix, with free tours and tastings offered at a number of venues.
- 2 Free House, 2700 Bancroft Way, ☏ +1 510-647-2300, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 11:30AM-midnight. An atmospheric and friendly alehouse that has a wide variety of drinks, many from local brewers and also does burgers, salads and particularly unusual pizza.
- 3 Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave (between Center and Allston), ☏ +1 510 843-8277. Tu-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa noon-11PM (21+ only after 7PM), Su noon-10PM. 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 local and their own microbrews. Food includes wood-oven pizzas in many sizes. Online reservations. $30-50.
- 4 The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave (corner of Shattuck Ave and Prince St), ☏ +1 510-841-0188, email@example.com. Su-W 4PM-2AM. A lively leftist pub that hosts a variety of live events from poetry slams to live bands. Check website for calendar and music stream.
Bars and nightclubs
- 5 Acme Bar & Company, 2115 San Pablo Ave (Between Addison St and Cowper St; south of University), ☏ +1 510-644-2226, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 3PM-closing. An entire wall of whiskey options and a considerable menu of beers and mixed drinks and cocktails. A neat mix of dive bar and hipster. Online orders, same day delivery. Food orders through sister restaurant. $15 and under.
- 6 Triple Rock, 1920 Shattuck Ave (at Hearst), ☏ +1 510-843-2739, email@example.com. Tu noon-9PM (bar 10PM), W-F noon-10PM (bar 11PM), Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Good brewpub with burgers, salads, and the usual pub fare. Online reservations.
Coffee, tea and chocolate
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.
- 7 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 UC Berkeley. No outdoor seating here. A haven for studying students.
- 8 Caffe Chiave, 2500 San Pablo Ave (corner of Dwight and San Pablo), ☏ +1 510-548-5198. Daily 7AM-3PM. Excellent coffee, quiche, desserts and sandwiches. The elderly owner drops by every Sunday afternoon to belt out Italian ballads. Check website for events.
- 9 Caffè Strada, 2300 College Ave (at Bancroft), ☏ +1 510-843-5282. Daily 6AM-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.
- 10 Highwire Coffee Roasters, 2049 San Pablo Ave (between University and Addison), ☏ +1 510-647-5270. M-F 7:30AM-2PM Sa-Su 7AM-4PM. Part of a local chain of coffee shops. Pleasant, well-lit, spacious cafe with good seating and a low-key hipster feel to it.
- 11 Peet's Coffee, 2124 Vine St (between Shattuck and Walnut), ☏ +1 510-841-0564. M-F 5:30AM-7PM, Sa-Su 6PAM-7PM. Although a chain, Peet's has a special place in the heart of many Berkeley residents, as it all started with this tiny shop located on Vine Street. Great tea selection, very intense coffee, and interesting goodies. Mobile payments, order ahead, in-store pickup, local delivery.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||up to $100|
In addition to offering a wide range of lodging accommodations, Berkeley hotels and inns are increasingly eco-travel friendly. As of January 2013, more than 60% of the rooms in Berkeley are certified "Green" by the Bay Area Green Business Program (BAGBP). If you are looking for chain hotels the nearby city of Emeryville is south of Berkeley and is home to more national brands.
It is illegal to park a "heavy-duty" vehicle on city streets overnight (2–5AM) in Berkeley, unless you first obtain a temporary permit. RVs are generally considered to fall into this class.
The nearest camping area is in the Tilden Regional Park, for groups only.
- 1 Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way (at College Ave), ☏ +1 510-549-1000, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Across the street from the University of California campus in a historical 1928 Arts & Craft building. It is a National Landmark hotel. No smoking in or around. $150-200.
- 2 Beau Sky Hotel, 2520 Durant Ave (Upstairs from House of Curries), ☏ +1 510-540-7688. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Upstairs in a converted Victorian house and above a local Indian restaurant, the Beau Sky hotel is one block from UC Berkeley. Your stay here begins each day with a complimentary continental breakfast and fresh-baked pastries and ends with a wonderful pillow-top mattress at night. Pet-friendly. Wi-fi. Continental breakfast. $100-120.
- 3 Berkeley Lab Guest House, 1 Cyclotron Rd, Building 23 (on the LBNL Campus on the Hill), ☏ +1 510-495-8000, fax: +1 510-495-8800, email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 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. No smoking. No minors. No pets. Please contact first if you have an assistance animal, which are permitted. $129, $100 for guests of the national lab.
- 4 Downtown Berkeley Inn, 2001 Bancroft Way (at Milvia St), ☏ +1 510-843-4043, fax: +1 510-843-4046, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: 11AM. Two blocks from the Berkeley BART station, this hotel 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. $120-130.
- 5 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Berkeley Marina, 200 Marina Blvd (in the Berkeley Marina, at the west end of University Ave), ☏ +1 510-548-7920, fax: +1 510-295-2580. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Large luxurious hotel directly on the Berkeley Marina. Long list of amenities, and a full menu of accessibility options. Service animals allowed. Pets - restricted to dogs only, with non-refundable fee. No smoking. Paid parking. $270-350.
- 6 The Faculty Club, 2222 Piedmont Extension (on the University of California at Berkeley campus), ☏ +1 510-540-5678 Ext 0, fax: +1 510-540-6204, email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. 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. Cancellations must be made 48 hours or no later than 11:00 a.m., two days prior to the arrival date. $155-350.
- 7 Graduate Berkeley (Formerly Hotel Durant), 2600 Durant Ave (at Bowditch St between College Ave and Telegraph Ave), ☏ +1 510-845-8981, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. With a landmark Spanish Colonial Revival exterior and an interior that is a blend of Art Deco and Bohemian styles and influences, the Graduate maintains the history of the 1928-vintage Durant. A long list of amenities includes complimentary bicycle rentals and electric vehicle chargers. A blend of the vintage and the contemporary. $350-425.
- 8 Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel, 41 Tunnel Rd (between Domingo and Oak Ridge, east of Claremont), ☏ +1 510-843-3000, toll-free: +1-888-560-4455, fax: +1 510-549-8582, Claremont@fairmont.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. 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. Many amenities and services. Travelers from outside North America: Check website for phone numbers nearest you. $250-300.
- 9 Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Ave), ☏ +1 510-845-7300, fax: +1 510-845-7320, email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Close to campus, a few steps from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Historic 1910 downtown hotel has gone through an extensive renovation in 2009 and offers rooms with upscale linens and furnishings. Free wireless internet with good connectivity. Parking is only available for $15 per day in the public garage across the street. The second-floor "gym" has only two treadmills and an elliptical, but the front desk offers free passes to the YMCA gym that is a block away. Pet-friendly ($75 non-refundable fee, part of which is donated to the Berkeley Humane Society). $300-450.
- Berkeley, like most of the cities in Alameda County, is in the 510 area code. 10-digit dialing is required for all outgoing calls.
- Internet access is widespread. Most coffee shops offer wireless internet access. Public terminals are available at the Berkeley Public Library in Downtown as well as the UC Berkeley Doe library. University guests can request access to the "AirBears" campus-wide Wi-Fi network.
- Mobile phone coverage is generally understood to be excellent.
West and South Berkeley, especially near Oakland, can be unsafe at night. While the north side is quieter and generally safer, use common sense and avoid walking alone at night. Also be aware of your surroundings: the more bars on windows, generally the less safe the area. Bicycling is generally 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 (9255).
Berkeley has a well-deserved reputation for protests, riots, and strikes, and you may see a protest or two in progress during your visit. However, the vast majority of protests today are raucous but protesters are typically strictly nonviolent. (The same cannot always be said of the police, and it's worth keeping a wide berth of any in-progress police action unless you're willing to risk a rib or two.) The last time the National Guard was called in to patrol the city was 1991.
The eastern 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 Telegraph at Ashby has massage therapists standing by to ease your tensions.
The entire downtown and campus area is extremely packed, and traffic correspondingly congested, on Cal football game days. These take place on about half the Saturdays during the fall semester, from late August to mid December.
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. You might also try wine tasting in the Napa Valley. Northeast is Sacramento, the state's capital city.
|Routes through Berkeley|
|Sacramento ← Richmond ←||N S||→ Emeryville → Oakland|
|San Francisco ← Emeryville ←||S N||→ Albany → Sacramento|
|San Rafael ← Albany ←||N S||→ Emeryville → Oakland|
|Richmond ← Albany ←||N S||→ Emeryville → Oakland|
|Richmond ← El Cerrito ←||N S||→ Oakland → San Francisco/Daly City/Millbrae|
|Richmond ← El Cerrito ←||N S||→ Oakland → Warm Springs/South Fremont|