Set on sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a city of diverse districts and great discoveries, where visitors come for the culture, stay for the food, and depart with their imaginations, taste buds and memories fully engaged.
Berkeley begins a beeline east of the Golden Gate Bridge. With the SF skyline in the rear-view mirror, it travels along tree-lined boulevards and the park-like UC Berkeley campus before rising, with topographical drama, into a forested foothill range. Across its 18 square miles, Berkeley offers a cultural and culinary bounty: music and performing arts, great local shops, restaurants, and outdoor recreation.
Berkeley's thriving cultural scene is home to hundreds of arts organizations, artists and performers. Creative spark infuses Berkeley with everyday wonders ranging from vibrant street art and public galleries, to major venues such as the Downtown Berkeley Arts District and Berkeley Art Museum. Aurora Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Cal Performances present world-class productions applauded by audiences and acclaimed by critics.
The food scene in Berkeley is delicious and exciting. Close your eyes, place your finger on the city map, and chances are there's something fresh, local and organic to taste on the block. Berkeley is passionate about food, and it shows - on the menus of the city's innovative, influential restaurants, inside dozens of specialty food stores and stands, and at a trio of farmers' markets spread across the city each week.
With so many cultural and culinary experiences to savor indoors, Berkeley balances it out with at least as many ways to enjoy the great outdoors. Walking, hiking, and biking trails race along the bayfront and through the city's landmark regional parks. Visitors can enjoy championship golf and beautiful botanic gardens. Adventure-seekers will find opportunities for rock climbing, kayaking, skateboarding and sailing.
Berkeley is truly a great place to wander off the beaten path. The city's twists and turns of terrain give its neighborhoods room to establish independent personas, moods and mantras. From foodie North Shattuck and flashy Fourth Street, to hip-hop Telegraph Avenue, chic Solano Avenue and the vibrant Downtown Berkeley hub, each of Berkeley's "boroughs" has hyper-local authenticity.
Berkeley honors and celebrates its heritage with dozens of historic monuments and architectural treasures — many of which are found on and around the sylvan, park-like UC Berkeley campus. For sports fans, Berkeley is “Bear Territory,” home to the Cal Bears and within easy reach of a number of professional sports teams, including the Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.
Berkeley visitors have more places to stay and play than ever before, from "green" boutique hotels, charming independents, and B & Bs to well-known national lodging chain properties.
Yes, Berkeley is a spirited city that may surprise those who still see it as the counter-culture icon of the Sixties. The Free Speech Movement and flower power are forever in the city's "DNA," but Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel destination with a "green" soul. Chances are that you'll still see more tie-dye per capita in Berkeley, but a closer look reveals a small yet dynamic city that is consummately Californian in setting, international in outlook, and filled with superb theaters, restaurants, and shops.