Start your second artistic day in Berkeley with an Italian-inspired breakfast at PIQ, “Pane Italiano Qualita,” in downtown Berkeley. Da Vinci would approve of PIQ’s artisan breads, pastries, pizzas and sandwiches.
If you’re here during a December weekend, the Berkeley Artisan Holiday Open Studios are an annual must-see. All across town, local artists and artisans showcase their works and wares, with open studios, galleries and shops. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind. It’s a festive, fun and free way to see working craft studios and get a glimpse into the creative process. Pick up the free studio map online.
Of course, Berkeley is a veritable showcase of public art year-round. The Civic Center presents a free gallery of contemporary art, with five floors of artworks gracing its walls. The Addison Street Windows Gallery entrances walkers-by, as does the West Berkeley Rail Stop’s blend of poetry and murals on display near Fourth Street.
If you’re heading north toward the Gourmet Ghetto, check out the ACCI Gallery just a few blocks down on Shattuck. The Arts & Crafts Cooperative, Incorporated (ACCI) was started by Berkeley artists and craftsmen in the mid-1950s; today the handsome brick building, formerly a French laundry, shows work by member artists, including ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, textiles, sculpture, paintings and other fine art.
World-class headliners of step, song and stage come to Berkeley to perform via Cal Performances, the performing arts presenter for state-of-the-art venues including Zellerbach Auditorium, Zellerbach Playhouse, Hertz Hall, and Wheeler Auditorium.
Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse is the longest-running full-time folk and traditional music venue west of the Mississippi. The “Freight,” as it’s known locally, hosts nationally- and internationally-known musicians in an acoustically sparkling new 440-seat, green and LEED-certified venue in the Downtown Berkeley Arts District.