Start the day with a coffee and pastry from one of the numerous downtown Berkeley cafes, and check in with Berkeley’s Visitor Information Center at 2030 Addison Street, #102, for maps, directions, restaurant recommendations, and travel tips.
A well-preserved historic downtown the size of Berkeley’s is rare in California. City Hall (2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way), listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was the first building in Berkeley to be designated a city landmark in 1975. When it was completed in 1909, its design, scale and elegant profile were in step with Berkeley’s town-to-city transition. The Golden Sheaf Bakery (2071 Addison Street) was built in 1905, a Classical-inspired building designed by Clinton Day. Located squarely within the Downtown Arts District, today it houses the Aurora Theatre Company. The Chamber of Commerce Building (2140-44 Shattuck Avenue) was Berkeley’s first “skyscraper,” designed by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. and built in 1926-27 in Classic Revival style.
The Hotel Shattuck Plaza (2200 Shattuck Avenue) occupies an entire city block in the center of downtown Berkeley. Recently restored to its original grandeur, the National Register of Historic Places property was designed in Mediterranean Renaissance Revival style by architect Benjamin McDougall. It was originally developed in 1909 by the heirs of Francis Kittredge Shattuck, one of Berkeley’s original settlers and civic leaders, on the former site of his family home. Today it also offers a great restaurant and bar, FIVE, where past, present and future historic leaders gather nightly.
The Berkeley Public Library (2090 Kittredge Street) is a vibrant example of the Art deco style. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was designed by James Plachek and built during the Depression in 1930.
Called the most “romantic” building downtown, the Tupper and Reed Building (2271-75 Shattuck Avenue) was designed by architect/painter William Raymond Yelland and built in 1925. It features whimsical details and colorful second-story tiles. Look for the iron piper at the top of the building, an homage to The Sign of the Piper Restaurant, an original tenant.