Last updated: 08:28 AM ET, Thu April 09 2015

City Pulse: The Only Guide To Berkeley, California You Need

Destination & Tourism | Gabe Zaldivar | April 08, 2015

City Pulse: The Only Guide To Berkeley, California You Need

We Say:

Different is good. Different is interesting. Different is, well, comfortable.

Whether here to scout the school or to enjoy a football game, you are undoubtedly coming with a preconceived notion of Berkeley, which might sit somewhere between hippie heydays and liberal activism. 

We suggest you leave those rigid sentiments at the city limits, because you may just miss out on some exciting events and a thoroughly enjoyable culinary scene.

The students and locals pepper the streets surrounding the picturesque campus, garnering an infectious vitality that’s hard not to enjoy.

From the famed Sather Tower to the iconic Memorial Stadium to one of the myriad shops, you will find this is more than a city easily defined. It’s a multicultural destination that throws so much at you that you can’t help but let it wash over you and invigorate your way of thinking.

It sounds like an exhausting vacation, but it unexpectedly leads to one of the most wonderfully refreshing experiences you can have in the Bay Area. It can, for so many who walk its streets, easily become home.

They Say:

Set between Pacific foothills and the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a vibrant and spirited city that will surprise those who still see it as the counter-culture center of the Sixties. Free Speech and flower power are forever in the city’s “DNA,” but Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural destination with a “green” soul.

Across Berkeley's 18 square miles, a visitor can hear a symphony, rock concert or jazz quartet, take in a Broadway-bound play or first-run film, stroll through a redwood forest or a rose garden, shop for handmade jewelry or organic sportswear, play a round of golf or take a yoga class, embark on a sport fishing excursion or listen to a poetry reading. And that’s just for starters.  

Consummately Californian in its setting but international in its cultural landscape, Berkeley is home to the University of California, Berkeley, which lends a youthful note to the entire city. With its wealth of cultural and social diversity, culinary and shopping opportunities, and recreational pursuits, Berkeley is a small city with a world-class range of visitor options.



Current Traffic: Google Traffic

Airport: Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport

Public Transit: BART, AC Transit

Bikeshare: Bay Area Bike Share is planned for the East Bay in 2015

Walkability Score: 79 at Walk Score

Parking Options/Expense: ParkMe, Best Parking  

Best Accommodations: ( Highest Guest Rated w/ at least 50 Reviews)

Boutique: Hotel Durant

High End: Hotel Shattuck Plaza Berkeley

Mid Range: DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina

Bargain: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Berkeley

Foods to seek out:

Hot Dog: Top Dog — Get a Top and a Cal (Calabrese) at this famed late-night food hangout. 

Chocolate: From Chocolatier Blue to TCHO, Berkeley loves its flavonoids.

Pizza: Tie — We are torn between suggesting the cheesy goodness of Cheese Board Pizza and the delicious deep dish they have at Zachary’s.

Fancy: Chez Panisse — Treat yourself to Alice Waters’ famed French restaurant. 

Known For:

UC Berkeley: Campus Tours

Activism: Free Speech Movement

Eclectic Culture: Explore Downtown Berkeley

Sports Teams:

NCAA: California Golden Bears

Otherwise you are close to Los Angeles teams:

MLB: Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants

NBA: Golden State Warriors

NFL: Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers

NHL: San Jose Sharks  

Cool attractions:


1. Test your liver with the wonderfully detailed Berkeley Brew Trail.

2. You have earned an opportunity to ruin a perfectly good walk at Tilden Park Golf Course.

3. Bet the ponies and test your luck with horse racing by the bay at Golden Gate Fields.


1. Immerse yourselves in some culture at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.

2. Nothing beats mixing it up with the locals and myriad students along streets like Durant, Shattuck, and Telegraph

3. Savor the Northern California air with a concert at the Greek Theater.


1. Enjoy the steam train and walk through a lush botanical garden at Tilden Park.

2. Watch the Cal Golden Bears take on Pac-12 foes at the historic Memorial Stadium.

3. Head up the hill and discover the workings of the world at the Lawrence Hall of Science.


1. Beer: Jupiter 

2. Pub: Albatross  

3. Club: Berkeley Underground

The City is:

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