Berkeley (California) in Berkeley
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.
Berkeley has a reputation for being perhaps the most progressive city in the United States. Rooted in the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, 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 internationally renowned University of California, Berkeley. The Berkeley scene today combines remnants of street life culture, an increasingly Asian campus community, a shrinking low income "ghetto" and many yuppies. The affluent, aging Berkeley Hills look down--literally and figuratively--on the "city of Berkeley", the small but vital urban core. For a city of just over 100,000 people--barely a medium-sized city in the California context--Berkeley is extremely complex.
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 degrees Fahrenheit (between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius). 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 is a good option. 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 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. Take the US Highway 101 north and then Interstate 80 east across the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Stay on 80 east and exit Ashby Avenue, University Avenue, or Gilman Street.
- San Jose International Airport is in the region. A rental car will probably be easiest, public transportation is possible but very time-consuming. San Jose is considerably farther from Berkeley than San Francisco (at least an hour's drive) and should be avoided if at all possible.
- Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), +1 415 989-2278, , the regional metro system, offers excellent service to Berkeley from other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. Berkeley is directly 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. There are three stations in Berkeley: Ashby, Downtown Berkeley (sometimes just "Berkeley" on older signs), and North Berkeley. The Downtown Berkeley stop is located at Shattuck Avenue and Center Street one block from the UC Berkeley campus, and is the best stop for tourists. Fares vary depending with distance traveled; the fare for a one-way trip from any of the Market Street stations in San Francisco (Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell, Civic Center) is $3.65, $1.75 one-way to downtown Oakland, and $2.35 one-way to the Oakland Coliseum/Airport station.
- 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 station is at the edge of the city, located 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, 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 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 the 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 or 2-hour, but free after 6 p.m. . If you are visiting a resident, they can purchase one day, 7-day, or 21-day street parking passes (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 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 UC Berkeley police station near Sproul Hall. You might get a ticket, but you'll definitely get a kick-ass parking spot. 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), a good rule of thumb is that if it seems like the street parking on one side is too good to be true - double check it isn't street sweeping. 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 5 $80 tickets).
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.
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 and San Francisco. 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 1 or 1R). 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; the city requires residents to register bicycles in an attempt to deter theft. 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. 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.
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).
- University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, or "Cal"), Visitor Center, 101 Sproul Hall (at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way), . 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  ($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, . Every day, 10AM-5PM. Adults $17. 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, . 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 in a building that is itself an impressive work of modernist architecture.
- Pacific Film Archive (address: 2575 Bancroft Way)
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.
- Berkeley Marina and Pier, . 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. 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.
- Cesar Chavez Park, .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.
- Berkeley Rose Garden, on Euclid Avenue (at Bayview Place), +1 510 981-5150 (City Recreation Office), . A half-hour's walk north of the UC Berkeley campus. Especially nice for watching the sunset, with a view of the bay.
- Indian Rock Park (address: Indian Rock 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.
- 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. 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.
- Tilden Park, . 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.
- UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, on Centennial Drive (in the hills above the UC campus), +1 510 643-2755, . 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.
- Alternative Music Foundation (address: 924 Gilman St) (directions: 8th & Gilman)
North Berkeley is home to one of the world's most famous punk rock clubs, known simply as Gilman, after the street it located on. Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings, and sometimes Sunday afternoons.
- Berkeley Repertory Theater (address: 2025 Addison Street) (directions: near Shattuck; 2 blocks north of Berkeley BART station) +1 510 647-2949
price: $35-$55 (varies by night; half-price students and seniors, $20 under 30)
open: 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.
- 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).
- Golden Gate Fields (address: 1100 Eastshore Highway) (510) 559 - 7300
open: first race 12:45 P.M.
Horse racing by the Bay.
- Golfing at Tilden
Enjoy the 3-level driving range and rolling 18-hole public course.
- Greek Theatre (address: Located in the UC Berkeley Campus on Gayley Road)
Check the Cal Performances website for upcoming shows or concerts.
- Long Haul Infoshop (address: 3124 Shattuck Ave) (directions: near Ashby BART)
is 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.
- Takara Sake Co. tasting room and museum (address: 708 Addison St.) (directions: 4th St.)
open: Noon-6 PM daily
Sample flights of Sho Chiku Bai sake and plum wines in a gorgeous tasting room within the brewery. Afterwards, check out the displays of traditional sake-making gear in the sake museum.
- 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 .
- Berkeley City College (address: 2020 Milvia St) (directions: on Center St)
- Graduate Theological Union (address: 2400 Ridge Rd) (directions: next to UC Berkeley)
- 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.
- Telegraph. The five-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue just south of UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza is perhaps one of the city's most well-known and most-visited landmarks, with its independent stores, kooky sidewalk vendors and the unforgettable dynamic streetlife that is the amalgam of students, hippies and (sometimes hostile) hobos. Besides its restaurants (see the Eat section) Telegraph is the site of many bookstores, music shops, smoke shops, and used clothing exchanges.
- Moe's Books, , a four-story bookstore with a large selection of half-price used books. They sometimes have in-store readings.
- Shakespeare & Company Books, A treasure trove of used books since 1964.
- Rasputin Music, . Well known independent music store with a large selection of used music and LPs.
- Amoeba Music, , lowest prices and a huge selection of new and used CDs and DVDs, with that one rare album you've been looking for.
- Berkeley Hat, , a wide variety of normal and eclectic hats.
- Downtown Berkeley (around Shattuck Avenue at Center Street). The city's efficient administrative center is also a popular shopping hub. The Berkeley BART station is located right here. Getting here by public transportation is recommended as parking tends to be difficult to find.
- Games of Berkeley, 2151 Shattuck Ave., Located across from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, this quirky game shop is worth checking out for its eclectic selection of board games, kites, puzzles, figurines, and trading card games. The staff is distinctively "Berkeley": approachable and enthusiastic in a somewhat funky way.
- Half Price Books, 2036 Shattuck Ave., . HPB has recently moved in next to Comic Relief, on Shattuck at Addison.
- Pegasus Books (address: 2349 Shattuck Avenue) (directions: at Durant) (510) 649-1320
Smaller than Half Price or Moe's, Pegasus still offers a good selection of new and used books, and schedules literary events at it's Downtown and Solano Ave. locations.
- West Berkeley (around University Avenue and San Pablo Avenue). This area is the commercial hub of the local Mexican and South Asian community. There are two Mexican groceries, several halal markets, numerous Indian and Pakistani restaurants (including Vik's), and many others (Thai, Turkish, Jamaican, etc.).
- Bombay Music, 2000 San Pablo Ave., . This is one of the best Bollywood / Indian music stores in the bay area. You can find Indian classical music CDs to Bollywood latest DVDs and CDs. Prices are discounted. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
- Black Oak Books (address: 2618 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: at Parker) (510) 486-0698
At it's new location, Black Oak offers the best selection of new and used books in West Berkeley.
- Black Oak Books (address: 2618 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: at Parker) (510) 486-0698
- Premier Cru (address: 1011 University Ave.) (directions: at 10th St.) (510) 644-9463
A wine shop for the affluent afficionado.
- Premier Cru (address: 1011 University Ave.) (directions: at 10th St.) (510) 644-9463
- Fourth Street. Interesting upscale retail center with boutiques. Good food at Bette's Diner (American).
- East Bay Vivarium, 1827-C 5th Street, +1 510 841-1400, . One of the best reptile specialty stores in the nation. Also has a large selection of amphibians and invertebrates. Staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
- Elmwood district (College Avenue at Ashby Avenue). Many interesting stores abound along this corridor.
- North Berkeley (Shattuck Avenue between Cedar and Rose). This area is often referred to as the "Gourmet Ghetto" by locals because of the gourmet food at all price rates. Other North Shattuck stores include a card store, three or four women's clothing stores, and a great produce store. Heaven!
- Solano Avenue, Albany and North Berkeley (between The Alameda and San Pablo Avenue) . 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.
Berkeley is a paradise for foodies of all sorts.
Downtown and University area.
- Au Coquelet (address: 2000 University) (directions: downtown at Milvia, between Shattuck and Martin Luther King) +1 510 845-0433
open: Open till 1:30AM Su-Th, and till 2AM on F-Sa
The late-night student crowd and the weekend brunchers come to Au Coquelet to enjoy food, coffee, and a constantly revolving art show. You can get a delicious piece of pie here.
- Brazil Cafe, 2161 University Ave. (at Walnut), +1 510 845-8011. M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Not much more than a brightly decorated shack sitting on a corner parking lot, but this shack has been featured in National Geographic, and is famous for its tri-tip sandwiches (supposedly, the best in the Bay) and its mango smoothies. Pedro, the friendly owner of the cafe, might be around passing out free samples as well.
- Crepes A-Go-Go, 2334 Telegraph Ave. and 2125 University Ave. A Berkeley institution.
- Gelato Milano, 2170 Shattuck Avenue at Center Street, . Sun-Thu 1PM to 11PM, Fri and Sat 1PM to 12 midnight. Authentic Italian gelato and non-dairy fruit sorbetto made on the premises.
- La Mission (address: 1255 University Ave.) (directions: between Bonar St. & Chestnut St.) (510) 845-5898
Fresh, delicious Mexican food with an outdoor seating patio.
- Lucky House Thai, 2140 University Avenue, between Shattuck and Oxford. Great Thai food, portion sizes big enough to be shared between two people and low prices. Environment can be low key but the low prices and great food make it totally worth it.
- PIQ Berkeley (address: 91 Shattuck Square) (directions: between University Ave. & Addison St.) (510) 540-7700
A new Italian bakery offering mini-sandwiches, pizza slices, panini, calzone, pastries, salads and good coffee and espresso.
- Ryowa (address: 2068 University Ave.) (directions: between Shattuck and Milvia) (510) 883-0667
Japanese ramen and donburi.
- Taqueria Monte Cristo (address: 1446 University Ave.) (directions: between Acton St. & Sacramento St.) (510) 486-0321
Good quality Mexican food.
- Top Dog, 2534 Durant, +1 510 843-5967, . A Berkeley institution, with locations on 3 sides of campus (Hearst, Durant Ave, and Center St.) Amazing hot dogs for $3 and walls filled with libertarian political writings. The Durant location is the original, and is, really the only one worth going to. Open until 2AM M-F, and until 3AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- Yogurt Park, 2433 Durant Ave. near Telegraph, "+ 1 510" 549-9570. 10 AM-midnight every day. Six delicious flavors of frozen yogurt daily, on a rotating schedule. You can get a heaping, satisfying cup for $2.75. Not to be missed.
- Maoz Vegetarian, 2395 Telegraph Ave (between Durant Ave & Channing Way), "+ 1 510" 356-4090. Mon-Wed, Sun 11 am - 10 pm; Thu-Sat 11 am - 11 pm. Get the Maoz falafel and top it with amazing selections from their salad bar. Only $4.95.
- Barney's (address: 1600 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Cedar) +1 510 849-2827
A small California sit-down burger chain that makes good burgers, curly fries, and milkshakes. Get the oreo shakes.
- Cheese Board Pizza, 1512 Shattuck Ave, +1 510 549-3055 (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), . Tu-F 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-7PM. Sa 12PM-3PM, 4:30PM-7PM. Collective serves pizza two doors down from its gourmet cheese and bread shop in Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto. Only one kind is available each day, always vegetarian [though be sure to ask if they are using animal/veal rennet, their cheese usually does]. Buy it by the slice or take home a half-bake. One of many candidates for best pizza in the universe (though a bit gourmet for some.) Lines can be long in the evenings, and their hours are short. Best seating is on the median of Shattuck (if Berkeley Police is away).
- Berkeley Bagels (address: 1281 Gilman St.) (directions: at Curtis St.) (510) 524-3104
The best bagels in town - organic, with no refined sugar. Try the Seed City bagel with lox.
- Gioia Pizzeria (address: 1586 Hopkins St.) (directions: at McGee) (510) 528-4692
Gourmet pizza by the slice (Brooklyn style). Daily specials.
- Kabana (address: on the corner of University Ave. and San Pablo Ave) +1 510
This great Pakistani restaurant is one of the anchors of West Berkeley. The daily specials are always good. Goat curry is outstanding.
- Luca Cucina Italiana (address: 2057 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: between University Ave. & Addison St.) (510) 649-9718
Affordable, authentic Italian food in a casual atmosphere.
- 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.
- Tacubaya (address: 1788 4th St.) (directions: between Hearst Ave. & Virginia St.) (510) 525-5160
An upscale yet affordable taqueria serving Blue Bottle coffee. Everything is made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients.
- Taj Mahal (address: 1025 University Ave.) (directions: at 10th St.) (510) 845-1145
A new Indian restaurant with budget lunch specials and satisfying dinner entrees.
- Vik's Chaat Corner, 726 Allston Way. Inexpensive and authentic Indian food. Some of the best in the bay. Warehouse environment.
Downtown and University
- Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen (address: 2261 Shattuck Ave.) (directions: at Kittredge) (510) 548-6900
Every cajun item on the menu is a hit. The oyster Po' Boy sandwich and the crawfish Etoufee are highly recommended, and be sure to wash it down with some sweet tea.
- The Bread Workshop (address: 1398 University Ave) (directions: between West St. & Acton St.)
Fresh bread baked onsite, with excellent sustainable brunch and dinner options.
- Cafe Platano (address: 2042 University Ave.) (directions: between Shattuck and Milvia) (510) 704-0325
Salvadoran entrees and small plates with a good selection of Central American cervezas and wines.
- Cha Am (address: 1543 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Cedar) +1 510 848-9664
Berkeley is known for good Thai cuisine, and Cha Am is one of the best. Eat delicious soups and more in a restaurant made up of many nooks and crannies, both in and out of doors.
- Gather (address: 2200 Oxford St.) (directions: at Allston Way) (510) 809-0400
Delicious seasonal, organic meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as organic cocktails and biodynamic wines served in a dining room made from reclaimed wood and natural materials.
- Kirala (address: 2100 Ward St.) (directions: at Shattuck Ave.) (510) 549-3486
The best Japanese restaurant in the East Bay. Don't stop at sushi rolls - the robata grill serves exquisite whole squid, quail, and duck among others. The almond-encrusted shrimp tempura is heavenly. Have a house-brewed Pale Ale in the bar while you wait 30 minutes for your table.
- Venus (address: 2327 Shattuck Ave.) (directions: between Bancroft and Durant) (510) 540-5950
Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Venus serves some of the most innovative organic and sustainable food in Berkeley.
- Cesar (address: 1515 Shattuck Ave.)
Delicious tapas, wine and cocktails.
- Mint Leaf (address: 1513 Shattuck Ave.) (directions: at Vine St.) (510) 540-7900
Indian entrees and tapas made with organic produce and free range meats. Vegan options are also offered.
- Saul's (address: 1475 Shattuck Ave) +1 510 848-DELI
open: Su-Th 8AM-9PM, F-Sa 8AM-9:30PM
In the Gourmet Ghetto. A Jewish deli with outstanding brunch dishes and dinner entrees (try the Beef Stroganoff). Saul's brews its own sodas, with a rotating cast of new flavors.
- Taste of the Himalayas (address: 1700 Shattuck Ave.) (directions: at Virginia St.) (510) 849-4983
Nepalese and North Indian food.
- Ajanta (address: 1888 Solano Ave.) (directions: at the Alameda) (510) 526-4373
- Bua Luang (address: 1166 Solano Ave. (Albany)) (directions: between Cornell and Stannage) (510) 527-8288
Excellent Thai food.
- Fonda (address: 1501 Solano Ave. (Albany)) (directions: at Curtis) (510) 559-9006
Duck tacos, tuna tartare, cuban mini-burgers and premium tequila flights make Fonda well worth the visit.
- Kirin Cuisine of Northern China (address: 1767 Solano Ave.) (directions: between Ensenada Ave. & Colusa Ave.) (510) 524-1677
Superb Szechuan cuisine in a beautiful dining room with an open kitchen. The Kung Pao is recommended.
- Sushi 29 (address: 1647 Solano Ave.) (directions: between Ventura Ave & Tulare Ave) (510) 559-8229
The most visually appealing dining room of any Japanese restaurant in Berkeley.
- Vanessa's Bistro (address: 1715 Solano Ave.) (directions: at Tulare Ave.) 510.525.8300
open: Wed-Mon 4-9PM, closed Tues
Premium Vietnamese cuisine. Reservations are strongly recommended.
- Zachary's Chicago Pizza (address: 1853 Solano Ave) +1 510 525-5950
open: Su-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F-Sa 11AM-10:30PM
- La Mediterranee (address: 2936 College Ave) +1 510 540-7773
A fun pan-Mediterranean restaurant in the Elmwood District.
- Cafe Colucci (address: 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.
- 900 Grayson (address: 900 Grayson St.) (directions: at 7th St.) (510) 704-9900
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 (address: 1094 Dwight Way) (directions: between 10th St. & San Pablo Ave.) (510) 848-4015
Simply incredible Thai food.
- Bette's Oceanview Diner (address: 1807 4th St.) (directions: between Hearst Ave. & Virginia St.) (510) 644-3230
Kitschy '50s era diner with deeply satisfying brunch food and coffee.
- Breads of India (address: 2448 Sacramento) +1 510
Regional Indian restaurant whose menu changes from day to day, each entree on the menu has its own bread recommended with it.
- Cafe Leila (address: 1724 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: at Francisco St.) (510) 525-7544
Great egg dishes, mediterranean entrees and sandwiches made with organic ingredients are best enjoyed on a sunny day in Leila's large outdoor patio, and sip on a house-brewed tea.
- HS Lordships (address: 199 Seawall Dr.)
Waterfront dining in the Berkeley Marina. Engorge yourself at the extensive buffet including roast beef, omelettes and pasta dishes made to order, multiple entrees, chilled crab legs and shrimp cocktail, a salad bar, and all too many desserts.
- Jimmy Bean's (address: 1290 6th St.) (directions: at Gilman St.) (510) 528-3435
Jimmy Bean's has one of the best brunches in Berkeley, and the grilled sandwiches and nightly dinner specials are worth the visit.
- Meal Ticket (address: 1235 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: between Gilman St. & Harrison) (510) 526-6325
Meal Ticket's California version of the oyster po' boy sandwich never disappoints, and the salmon or trout with eggs is a great way to start your day. Outdoor seating available.
- Paisan Pizzeria (address: 2514 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: between Dwight Way & Blake St.) (510) 649-1031
Wood fired pizzas, sumptuous pasta dishes, organic entrees, and a fine selection of Italian wines make Paisan a local favorite.
- Sea Salt (address: 2512 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: between Dwight Way & Blake St.) (510) 883-1720
The best seafood restaurant in Berkeley, Sea Salt has great brunch dishes like crab cake benedict and the fried oyster, bacon and egg sandwich with black garlic aioli, and lunch and dinner wonders like the trout, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Drop by for happy hour from 3 to 9:30 PM daily for dollar oysters on the half shell and tuna sliders.
- Zut! (address: 1820 4th St.) (directions: between Virginia St.& Hearst Ave.) (510) 644-0444
Mediterranean cuisine and an extensive selection of aperitifs and wines in a comfortable setting.
- Chez Panisse (address: 1517 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Vine) +1 510 548-5525
price: ">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
- Five (address: 2086 Allston Way) (directions: between Shattuck and Milvia) (510) 225-6055
Modern American Bistro serving classic American fare reinvented with a seasonal California flair, with local, organic and sustainable farms and produce.
- Le Bateau Ivre (address: 2629 Telegraph Ave) (directions: at Carleton) +1 510 849-1100
open: Su, Tu-Th 9AM-2:30PM and 5PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 9AM-2:30PM and 5PM-10:30PM
Upscale French restaurant and coffeehouse in a romantic 1898 home on Telegraph Ave, but away from the major shopping.
- Revival Bar & Kitchen (address: 2102 Shattuck Ave.) (510) 549-9950
- Trattoria Corso (address: 1788 Shattuck Ave) (directions: between Francisco St. & Delaware St.) (510) 704-8004
Gourmet Northern Italian cuisine with an excellent wine list.
Berkeley has a host of fine drinking establishments. Have a pint of Trumer Pils, brewed in West Berkeley
- Acme Bar & Company (address: 2115 San Pablo Ave) (directions: one block south of University Ave) +1 510 644-2226
Newly renovated bar with over 100 whiskeys and DJs on the weekend spinning oldies and 80s pop. Great vibe.
- Albatross (address: 1822 San Pablo Ave) (directions: two blocks north of University Ave) +1 510 843-2473
open: Su-Tu 6PM–2AM, W-Sa 4:30PM–2AM
What a fantastic bar. It has several dart boards, a pool table, lots of board games behind the bar, and a surprisingly good art collection. Sunday nights at 8:30PM they run a trivia contest.
- Hotsy Totsy Club (address: 601 San Pablo Ave., Albany) (directions: at Garfield St.) +1 510 526-5986
open: Mon-Thurs 3:00pm - 2:00am Fri-Sun 11:30am - 2:00am
A former dive bar was refashioned by the owner of Cesar into a bar too hip for Albany. The shuffleboard table is the main diversion, though a pool table is also in the back.
- Jupiter (address: 2181 Shattuck Ave) (directions: between Center and Allston) +1 510 THE-TAPS
open: M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-1:30AM, Sa Noon-1:30AM, Su 1PM-Midnight
The backyard patio is fantastic. On weekend nights they usually have live music in the beer garden. They have a huge selection of beer, including their own microbrews. Food includes individual-sized wood-oven pizzas.
- Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub (address: 2033 San Pablo Ave) (directions: at University Ave) +1 510 845-1652
open: Daily 11:30AM-12:30AM
Lots of great beers, a large backyard patio, and superb pizza. And rock music - this place is more of a bar that happens to serve pizza than a restaurant.
- Missouri Lounge (address: 2600 San Pablo Ave) (directions: at Parker) +1 510 548-2080
open: Daily 4 P.M.-2:00AM
The only real dance club in Berkeley, Missouri has DJs spinning hip hop and older hits most nights. It also a large outdoor smoking patio/BBQ area serving burgers and fries late at night.
- Manny's Tap Room (address: 2438 Telegraph Ave) (directions: 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. Previously named Raleigh's.
- Skate's On the Bay (address: 100 Seawall Dr.) (directions: in the Berkeley Marina) +1 510 549-1900
The happy hour drink and appetizer specials in the waterfront lounge are a treat, especially with the fireplace going.
- Starry Plough Pub (address: 3101 Shattuck Ave) (directions: three blocks south of Ashby, two blocks east of Ashby BART) +1 510 841-2082
open: M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 4PM-10PM
Relaxed atmosphere. The walls are decorated with fantastic anti-government posters. Every Wednesday is a poetry slam that is quite good and popular. They have Irish dancing on Monday nights, and local bands during the rest of the week.
- Takara Sake Co. tasting room (address: 708 Addison St.) (directions: 4th St.)
open: Noon-6 PM daily
Sample flights of Sho Chiku Bai sake and plum wines in a gorgeous tasting room within the brewery. Afterwards, check out the displays of traditional sake-making gear in the little sake museum.
- Thalassa (address: 2367 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Durant) +1 510 848-1766
open: M-F 2PM-2AM, Sa-Su Noon-2AM
A billiards hall of grand proportion with a nice jukebox and a couple of pinball machines and lots and lots of undergraduates. Famous for not having a sign -- look for the neon martini glass.
- Triple Rock (address: 1920 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Hearst) +1 510 THE-BREW
Good brewpub with burgers, salads, and the usual pub fare.
Cafes and Coffeehouses
Being a college town, Berkeley has a number of great cafes catering to a variety of interests. From quiet places to read to live music, Berkeley has a cafe for you.
- Caffe Trieste (address: 2500 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: at Dwight) +1 510 548-5198
The West Berkeley branch of the famous North Beach favorite of the Beat Poets, Trieste serves excellent coffee, quiche, desserts and sandwiches. The elderly owner drops by every Sunday afternoon to belt out Italian ballads.
- Espresso Roma (address: 2960 College Ave) (directions: at Ashby) +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 (address: 2300 College Ave) (directions: at Bancroft) +1 510 843-5282
open: M-Sa 6AM-Midnight, Su 7AM-Midnight
Practically located on the UC Berkeley campus, Strada is a second home to student and professor alike. It's a popular meeting place, and often busy. Great outdoor seating.
- Cafe Milano (address: 2522 Bancroft Way) (directions: between Telegraph and Bowditch) +1 510 644-3100
open: M-F 7AM-10PM, Sa-Su 8AM-10PM
Milano is a few blocks away from Strada, and also practically on campus. No outdoor seating here. Also a haven for studying students.
- [www.local123cafe.com Local 123] (address: 2049 San Pablo Ave.) (directions: between University and Allston) +1 510 647-5270
open: Mon-Sat 7am - 8pm, Sun 7 am - 6 pm
Using the slow pour method with locally roasted beans, Local 123 serves simply the best coffee this writer has ever had, literally. Local microbrews and even wine are poured from taps. Very hip decor and music. An outdoor patio is in the back.
- Peet's Coffee & Tea
Although a chain, Peet's has a special place in the heart of many Berkeley residents, as it all started with a tiny shop located on Vine Street (and it's still there). Great tea selection, very intense coffee, and interesting goodies. Locations in Berkeley:
- (address: 2124 Vine Street) (directions: between Shattuck and Walnut) +1 510 841-0564
open: M-Sa 6AM-8PM, Su 6AM-7PM
The original location.
- (address: 2255 Shattuck Ave) (directions: at Kittredge) +1 510 225-0451
open: M-Th 5:30AM-9PM, F-Sa 7AM-9PM, Su 7AM-8PM
- (address: 1825 Solano Ave) (directions: between Coulsa and Fresno) +1 510 526-9607
open: M-Th 6AM-8PM, F-Sa 6:30AM-9PM, Su 6:30AM-7PM
- (address: 2916 Domingo Ave) (directions: between Russell and Ashby) +1 510 843-1434
open: M-F 5:30AM-8PM, Sa 6AM-8PM, Su 6AM-7PM
- (address: 1776 4th St) (directions: between Virginia and Hearst) +1 510 525-3207
open: M-Th 5:30AM-9PM, F 6AM-9PM, Sa 6:30AM-9PM, Su 7AM-8PM
Has outdoor seating with excellent people-watching
- (address: 2501 Telegraph Ave) (directions: at Dwight) +1 510 225-7700
open: M-F 6AM-9PM, Sa-Su 6:30AM-9PM
- (address: 2124 Vine Street) (directions: between Shattuck and Walnut) +1 510 841-0564
- People's Coffee and Tea (address: 2015 Shattuck Avenue) (directions: at University) +1 510 666-0666
open: Daily 7AM-Midnight
People's is located downtown, a block and a half from BART on Shattuck Avenue. It offers free Wi-fi and computers for those laptop-deficient. Try the Mediterranean plate for a filling and very cheap lunch. Good coffee and a huge selection of teas!
- Philz Coffee (address: 1600 Shattuck Ave) (directions: (between Cedar St & Lincoln St)) (510) 705-1083
Customized blends of different beans from around the world in light, dark or medium roast.
The city of Emeryville nearby to the south has more chain hotels, and many of the most modern hotels in the general vicinity are located there.
- Piedmont House (address: 2434 Piedmont Ave) (directions: between Dwight and Haste, 3 blocks south of UC campus) +1 510 849-4800
price: Shared rooms from $32, private rooms from $55
Affordable rooming-house style accommodation rents nightly or weekly and offers a “scholars hostel” approach to shared housing, with private, lockable rooms and shared kitchen. Free wi-fi, movie/music/reading/living room, cheap bike rentals for guests.
- Bancroft Hotel (address: 2680 Bancroft Way) (directions: at College Ave.) +1 510 549-1000
Located across the street from the University of California campus. Located in a history 1928 Arts & Craft building and is a National Landmark hotel.
- Beau Sky Hotel (address: 2520 Durant Ave) (directions: between Telegraph and Bowditch) +1 510 540-7688
price: Rates $119-169
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.
-  (address: One Cyclotron Road, Building 23) (directions: On the LBNL Campus on the Hill) +1510-495-8000 email@example.com
price: $129, $100 for guests of the national lab
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.
- Downtown Berkeley Inn (address: 2001 Bancroft Way) (directions: at Milvia St.) +1 510 843-4043
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 (address: 2086 Allston Way) (directions: at Shattuck Ave.) +1 510 845-7300
Located close to campus and just a few steps from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Historic 1910 downtown hotel has gone through an extensive renovation in 2009. Hotel bar FIVE features happy hour from 2pm to 7pm daily. Chef Scott Howard constantly creates amazing farm fresh dishes for the new FIVE restaurant.
- Doubletree Hotel (address: 200 Marina Boulevard) (directions: in the Berkeley Marina, at the west end of University Ave.) +1 510 548-7920
Hotel is in the marina.
- The Faculty Club (address: 2222 Piedmont Extension) (directions: University of California at Berkeley) +1 510 540-5678
Located right on the UC Berkeley campus. Rates are cheap, but rooms can only be booked by active members of the faculty club for their guests, therefore occupancy is usually limited to visiting scholars and guests of the university.
- Hotel Durant (address: 2600 Durant Avenue) (directions: at Bowditch St. between College Ave. and Telegraph Ave.) +1 510 845-8981
Great if you want to be next to the University of California campus.
- Rodeway Inn - Berkeley (address: 1461 University Ave) +1 800-598-4912
- The Claremont Resort and Spa (address: 41 Tunnel Road) (directions: between Domingo and Oak Ridge, east of Claremont) main number: +1 510 843-3000, reservations: +1 877 206-1781
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.
- Berkeley, like most of the East Bay, is in the 510 area code.
- Internet access is widespread. Most coffee shops offer wireless internet access. Public terminals are available at the UC Berkeley Doe library. University guests can request access to the "AirBears" campus-wide wifi network.
- Mobile phone coverage is generally understood to be excellent.
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. Also be aware of your surroundings: the more bars on windows, generally the less safe the area. 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 (9255).
Do not ever wear red (Stanford color) especially if a Cal football or basketball game is scheduled for the day. Wear blue (but not UCLA light pasty blue) or gold (yellow passes) to be safe. If you do wear red, expect to be showered with chants of "Take off that red shirt!" more and more as you go closer to campus. If you wear a red shirt to a Cal game near Cal students, be prepared to get kicked out.
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 strictly nonviolent. 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.
Note that 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.