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Berkeley Travel Tips

4.0 stars

Insider advice for your Berkeley vacation , west coast

Bastion of Loveliness 5 stars
Perhaps I am a bit biased, having attended school here for a few years, but I am still of the impression that Berkeley is one of those many wonderful places in the world that fall just slightly off the radar of many travellers, situated as it is just across the bay from San Francisco and largely overshadowed by this eminent neighbor. One of the reasons I find it so wonderful is that it is one of those rare places, in the United States especially, where the simple act of walking from place to place becomes its own lovely, small adventure. The characters you find here are really rather unique, as are some of the shops, street vendors, and general attitude of the local public at large. Whle it might take a little effort to find the really good stuff to visit, here are a few tips: 1) Telegraph Avenue @ Bancroft (just across from the university)--interesting people and ideas abound, 2) The Rose Garden on Euclid--lovely flowers and Greco-Roman cascading trellis/ terraces abound, 3) The Marina @ 4th street--upscale shops and restaurants abound, and just down the way over the freeway a wonderful pier and children's play park (wonderful for a family picnic!), 4) North Berkeley "Gourmet Ghetto" on Shattuck past Hearst--home of the incredible Chez Panisse, 5) Tilden Regional Park--lakes to swim and mountains to hike abound, 6) The University itself--stuffy intellectuals, redwoods, and grassy knolls abound, 7) 3 Farmer's Markets (Tues.--Derby and MLK-- Thurs.--Shattuck and Rose-- Sat.--Center and Milvia)...just to name some of its many attractive qualities.


General Berkeley 3 stars
Berkeley, California is one of those quintessential college towns, and while I had fun there when I went to visit, I can not imagine ever needing to return any time soon. I traveled to Berkeley to visit a friend who lived there, so I did not get to explore U.C. Berkeley, the University that takes up the majority of the area. What I did see is about what I expected to find, plus a few surprises. The area itself doesn’t have a lot of available entertainment. I found out pretty quickly that most people travel to the nearby San Francisco for most of their city needs, while the live or study in Berkeley itself. The suburbs of the town are set up in something of a bordering sprawl, with small houses bordering the center of town, and larger homes appearing further outside of town. What I found present in Berkeley that is similar in most college towns is a lot of town pride. I found myself arguing why Berkeley is better than Los Angeles with many college students, but after that I discovered why Berkeley is also different than most University locales. Everybody I met there was really nice to me. From potheads that wanted to talk about philosophy to families that wanted to know my life story, I continually ran into people that reminded me more of the people of Missouri than those of L.A. (or the moody citizens neighboring of San Fran). While the stores in the area include your run of the mill shopping centers without a lot of independent products (another norm of the University surroundings), Berkeley was still a great place to stay for a few nights while exploring Northern California, and a great place to get started for a cross-country road trip (from Berkeley across Arizona towards Chicago and NY). While I don’t recommend Berkeley as an all important place to stop, I at least felt that it was worth visiting as an oasis for decent people and hospitality.


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