Berkeley

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California Berkeley

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Introduction

Berkeley is a city on the east side of the San Francisco bay. The city is known for its University of California campus and its liberal activism. Set on sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley 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.

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Sights and Activities

  • The University of California, Berkeley is the most famous attraction. 101 Sproul Hall (at the corner of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way), ☎ +1 510 642-5215, e-mail: visitorinfo@berkeley.edu. 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.
  • 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.
  • The Peoples Park was a landmark of the 1960's Free Speech Movement.
  • Berkeley Marina - 201 University Ave (At the west end of University Avenue, near Interstate 80), ☎ +1 510 981-6740, e-mail: marina@cityofberkeley.info. 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.
  • Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St (Corner of Center St and Oxford St), ☎ +1 510 642-0808, e-mail: bampfa@berkeley.edu. W Th Su 11AM-7PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM. 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
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, 1 Centennial Dr (located in the hills of the Berkeley campus), ☎ +1 510 642-5132, e-mail: lhsweb@berkeley.edu. Tu-Su 10AM-5PM. Offers many hands-on science exhibits, especially good for children. This is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of the Bay Area: San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, Oakland and the Bay Bridge. Nearby is the UC botanical garden. Adults $12, kids/seniors $10, members free.
  • Tilden Park, 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. See website for specific attraction fees.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Weather

Like the rest of the Bay Area, Berkeley has a mild climate, with wet, mild winters and dry summers. The high temperature is typically 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.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are several airports nearby of which the San Francisco airport has dozens of international connections. The other two mainly have flights within the US although there are a few flights to Mexico as well and even seasonal flights from Oakland to Bermuda and the Azores.

  • Oakland International Airport (OAK) 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 (SFO) 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 the 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) 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.

By Train

  • BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), +1 415 989-2278, the regional subway 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 and the peninsula. There are three stations in Berkeley: Ashby, Downtown Berkeley (sometimes just "Berkeley" on older signs), and North Berkeley. The Downtown Berkeley stop is 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 $3.90, $1.85 one-way to downtown Oakland, $2.50 one-way to the Oakland Coliseum/Airport station, and $9.25 one-way to the San Francisco International 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 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.

By Car

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.

By Bus

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

By Boat

Berkeley has a 1,000 berth private marina as well as ferry connections to other bay area cities, including San Francisco.

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Getting Around

By Car

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 or 2-hour, but free after 6PM. 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). 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.

By Public Transport

The BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) connects Berkely with much of the bay area, including San Fransisco. 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.

By Foot

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).

By Bike

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.

Bike sharing is a recent development in Berkeley, so most of the action is through Ford GoBike and their trademark blue bikes and docking stations. LimeBike is a more recent appearance, mostly through 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.

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Eat

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.

  • Au Coquelet, 2000 University Ave (at Milvia, between Shattuck and Martin Luther King), ☎ +1 510 845-0433, fax: +1 510 845-0511, e-mail: info@aucoquelet.com. (Cafe) Su-Th 7AM-1:30AM, F Sa 7AM-2AM; (Restaurant) M-Th 7AM-1AM, F 7AM-1:30AM, Sa 8AM-1:30AM, Su 8AM-1AM. 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 11:30AM-8:30PM. 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. Online ordering.
  • Dojo Dog, Bancroft Way and College Ave, ☎ +1 510 859-3814, e-mail: hello@eatdojodog.com. M-F 11AM-4PM. A student-run food truck started by local Cal students, serving newly designed Asian-style hot dogs. It is a brightly colored food truck sitting right at the entrance to Cal. Under $10.
  • 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.
  • La Mission, 1255 University Ave (between Bonar St & Chestnut St), ☎ +1 510 845-5898. M-Sa 9AM-midnight, Su 9AM-11PM. Fresh, delicious Mexican food with an outdoor seating patio.
  • Little Plearn Thai Kitchen, 2283 Shattuck Ave (Between Bancroft Way and Kittredge St), ☎ +1 510 704-1442. Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM. A comfy little spot with art on the walls and some tidy exposed brickwork and a sizable menu.
  • 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.
  • PIQ Berkeley, 91 Shattuck Sq (between University Ave & Addison St), ☎ +1 510 540-7700, e-mail: berkeley@piqbakery.com. M-Th 7AM-9PM, F 7AM-9:30PM, Sa 8:30AM-9:30PM, Su 8:30AM-8PM. A Italian bakery offering mini-sandwiches, pizza slices, panini, calzone, pastries, salads and good coffee and espresso. Free wifi.
  • 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 10:30AM-11:30PM. At the back of a small court of restaurants.
  • Top Dog #1, 2534 Durant Ave (between Telegraph & Bowditch), ☎ +1 510 843-5967, e-mail: office@topdoghotdogs.com. 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, e-mail: ryan@yogurtpark.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.
  • Angeline's Louisiana Kitchen, 2261 Shattuck Ave (Near Kittredge), ☎ +1 510 548-6900. M 5:30PM-9PM, Tu-Th Su 11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM. 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.
  • Gather, 2200 Oxford St (at Allston Way), ☎ +1 510 809-0400, fax: +1 510 809-0404, e-mail: info@gatherrestaurant.com. M-F 11:30AM-2PM, Sa Su 10AM-2:30PM, Su-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F Sa 5PM-10PM. 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. M-F 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-9:30PM; Sa 5:30PM-9:30PM; Su 5PM-9PM. 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.
  • Platano Salvadoran Cuisine, 2042 University Ave (between Shattuck and Milvia), ☎ +1 510 704-0325, e-mail: nicolas@cafeplatano.com. Su-Th 11:30AM-9PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10PM. 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.
  • Venus, 2327 Shattuck Ave (between Bancroft and Durant), ☎ +1 510 540-5950, fax: +1 510 540-5878. Daily 8AM-2:30PM. Great for breakfast or lunch, Venus serves some of the most innovative organic and sustainable food in Berkeley. Online reservations.
  • Skate's On the Bay, 100 Seawall Dr (in the Berkeley Marina), ☎ +1 510 549-1900. (Lunch) M-F 11AM-3PM (Dinner) M-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F 5PM-10PM, Sa 4PM-10PM, Su 4PM-9PM (Lounge) M-Th 3PM-10:30PM, F Sa 3PM-11PM, Su 3PM-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, e-mail: info@zutonfourth.com. M-Th 11:30AM-9:30PM, F 11:30AM-10:30PM, Sa 10:30AM-10:30PM, Su 10:30AM-9PM. 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. 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), 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.
  • Corso, 1788 Shattuck Ave (between Francisco St & Delaware St), ☎ +1 510 704-8004, e-mail: manager@trattoriacorso.com. Su-M 5PM-9PM, Tu-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F Sa 5PM-10PM. Handmade Italian Fine Dining, with an emphasis on Tuscany cuisine. In-house cured meats and dishes with fresh ingredients abound - come for dinner, stay for dessert and cocktails. Online reservations.
  • Revival Bar & Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave (Corner of Shattuck Ave and Addison St), ☎ +1 510 549-9950. Check website for hours. 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.

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Drink

  • Albatross, 1822 San Pablo Ave (two blocks north of University Ave), ☎ +1 510 843-2473. Su-Tu 6PM–2AM, W-Sa 4:30PM–2AM. A lively drinking spot with regular games, pool tables, dart boards. An excellent example of a popular neighborhood pub with friendly staff and plenty to do.
  • Free House, 2700 Bancroft Way, ☎ +1 510 647-2300, e-mail: manager@berkeleyfreehouse.com. M-W 11:30AM-11PM, Th F 11:30AM-11:30PM, Sa 4PM-midnight, Su 11AM-4AM. 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.
  • Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave (between Center and Allston), ☎ +1 510 THE-TAPS (843-8277). 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 local and their own microbrews. Food includes wood-oven pizzas in many sizes. Online reservations.
  • Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub, 2033 San Pablo Ave (at University Ave), ☎ +1 510 845-1652. Daily noon-11PM. 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. Online ordering. Delivery. Lanesplitter doesn't do tips.
  • The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave (Corner of Shattuck Ave and Prince St), ☎ +1 510 841-0188, e-mail: booking@thestarryplough.com. M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa Su 2PM-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.

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Sleep

  • Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way (at College Ave), ☎ +1 510 549-1000, e-mail: reservations@bancrofthotel.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Across the street from the University of California campus in a history 1928 Arts & Craft building. It is a National Landmark hotel. $150-200.
  • Beau Sky Hotel, 2520 Durant Ave (Upstairs from House of Curries), ☎ +1 510 540-7688. 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. $119-169.
  • 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, e-mail: reservation@berkeleylabguesthouse.org. 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.
  • Downtown Berkeley Inn, 2001 Bancroft Way (at Milvia St), ☎ +1 510 843-4043, fax: +1 510 843-4046, e-mail: info@downtownberkeleyinn.com. 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.
  • 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. $240-450.
  • 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, e-mail: hotel@berkeleyfacultyclub.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. $98-310.
  • Graduate Berkeley (Formerly Hotel Durant), 2600 Durant Ave (at Bowditch St between College Ave and Telegraph Ave), ☎ +1 510 845-8981, e-mail: info@graduateberkeley.com. 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. $250-300.
  • 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, e-mail: 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.
  • Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way (at Shattuck Ave), ☎ +1 510 845-7300, fax: +1 510 845-7320, e-mail: info@hotelshattuckplaza.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.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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Accommodation in Berkeley

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This is version 13. Last edited at 13:10 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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