UC Berkeley is one of the world's leading educational and intellectual centers. It is renowned for the distinction of its faculty and students, scope of its research and publications, and quality of its libraries. The Cal campus also serves as Berkeley's unofficial "Central Park," with beautifully landscaped grounds, historic architecture, and wide walking paths through stands of redwood and eucaplytus trees that connect Downtown Berkeley with the Telegraph Avenue business district.
On a sparkling clear May morning in 1866, the trustees of the College of California gathered on a hillside overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Below them was the rough-and-tumble port settlement of Ocean View; surrounding them were 200,000 acres of clear land that would someday become the University of California.
“Westward the course of the empire takes its way,” recited one trustee thoughtfully, recalling a poem by bishop George Berkeley. Moved by the moment, the trustees agreed to name their town-to-be after the good bishop. And so Berkeley was, from the outset, a college town, with all the amenities, innovation, curiosity and exploration that influence a great place of learning.
Founded in 1868, Berkeley is the original campus of the University of California system. Today, UC Berkeley is one of the world’s great centers of learning and perennially top-rated among universities both public and private worldwide. By any standard, UC Berkeley, or Cal, as it is known by many alumni and friends, is one of the world’s leading intellectual and research centers. It is renowned for the distinction of its faculty and students, the scope of its research and publications, size and quality of its libraries, and excellence of its intercollegiate sports programs and achievement of its scholar athletes.
Berkeley ranks first nationally in the number of graduate programs in the top 10 in their fields. There are 7 Nobel Laureates, 28 MacArthur Fellows, and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners among its active faculty. The campus is an urban oasis that preserves much of the tranquil beauty of California’s early years.
101 Sproul Hall
Berkeley CA 94704
The UC Berkeley Visitor Center is located at 101 Sproul Hall, on the ground floor. Open weekdays 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., the students and staff here answer questions about the campus and conduct tours for individuals and groups. Free guided campus walking tours are offered seven days a week. Monday through Friday, tours depart from the Visitor Center, 101 Sproul Hall, at 10:00 a.m.. Saturday and Sunday, tours depart from the Campanile (Sather Tower), Saturdays at 10:00 a.m and Sundays at 1:00 p.m.. See public tour website for online tour reservations (required) and current information. Group tour reservations are required for groups of 10 or more; see group tour website for details and reservations.
Near the top of campus on Centennial Drive, Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS) is a public science museum and center for research. Named after Ernest O. Lawrence, Berkeley’s first Nobel laureate, its interactive exhibits, games, labs, classes and demonstrations (not to mention its spectacular, panoramic bay view) attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. LHS is a renowned resource center for preschool through high school science and mathematics education, and a public science center with exciting hands-on experiences for learners of all ages. Admission fee.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is one of the largest university art museums in the United States. BAM/PFA opened the doors of its distinctive Modernist building on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus in 1970. BAM/PFA’s exhibitions and collections of more than 16,000 objects and 14,000 films and videos are characterized by themes of artistic innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary, and reflect the central role of education in BAM/PFA’s mission.
BAM/PFA is currently planning a new visual arts center designed by the internationally acclaimed architect Toyo Ito. Its new home will be built on campus property at the intersection of Oxford and Center Streets in downtown Berkeley, across from the main entrance to the UC Berkeley campus. This location is just one block from the Berkeley BART station and adjacent to Berkeley’s Downtown Arts District. Please see the museum website for hours and admission details.
One of the finest in the country, the University of California Botanical Garden is home to some 13,000 species of plants grouped according to world regions. The garden has an especially impressive collection of California native plants. You will also find picnic tables, gift and book store, and conservatory for tropical plants. Admission fee.
An enduring symbol of UC Berkeley, Sather Tower (popularly known as the Campanile) was completed in 1914 and stands 307 feet tall. An elevator ride to the observation platform at the 200 foot level provides visitors with a spectacular view of the entire campus and the Bay Area beyond. Sather Tower, named after campus benefactor Jane Sather, is modeled after the tower that stands in the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Italy. The Campanile houses a 61-bell carillon. The bells weigh from 19 to 10,500 lbs. and are located above the observation platform. Carillon concerts take place every day at 7:50 am, 12:00 noon, and 6:00 pm. Longer concerts are conducted Sundays at 2 pm. See the Campanile’s web page for current hours and admission costs.
Sproul Hall (1941) is named for Robert Gordon Sproul, the first Californian and alumnus of the University to serve as UC president (1930-58). It houses Admissions, Student Activities, Financial Aid, Public Affairs, the Graduate Division, UC Police, and the Registrar.
The bustling hub of campus, Sproul Plaza is where students meet, musicians perform, and political, religious, and social activists expound, especially at noon during the academic year. In the center of Sproul Plaza is Ludwig’s Fountain, named after a favorite dog that spent most of his waking hours in and around the fountain in the 1960s.
Sather Gate (1910) is another famous Berkeley landmark. Until WWII, it was the south entrance to campus. It was a gift from Jane Sather in 1913 to immortalize her late husband, Peter Sather, a trustee of the College of California, forerunner of the University of California.
The Hearst Greek Theatre (1903) is a 6,000-seat amphitheater set into the Berkeley hills. The first campus structure designed by campus architect John Galen Howard, the theater was a gift from the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Berkeley’s Greek Theatre uses the ancient amphitheatre at Epidaurus, Greece as a model, but also includes Roman elements.
The Hearst Memorial Mining Building was built in 1907 and funded by Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the first woman named a UC Regent. Inside, visitors can admire the ceiling that curves upward into three arched skylights, or take a look at the aging models of underground mining operations and the mineral collection.
The Valley Life Sciences Building is named after major donors Gladys and Wayne Valley and houses the departments of Integrative Biology and Molecular and Cell Biology. The building holds the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, the Museum of Paleontology, and the University and Jepson Herbaria. Covering three acres, Valley Life Sciences is one of the largest academic facilities in the nation.
Zellerbach Hall is a 2,000-seat performing arts venue that hosts the world’s best in music and dance, as well as major campus events. It is the primary venue for Cal Performances, the performing arts presenting, commissioning and producing organization based at the University of California, Berkeley. The adjoining 500-seat Zellerbach Playhouse is the site of dramatic art, dance and other presentations of the Center for Theater Arts.
Hertz Hall was built in 1958 and named for Alfred Hertz, conductor of the S.F. Symphony Orchestra from 1915 to 1930. A 678-seat concert hall, it hosts the Department of Music's free weekly noon concert series (inaugurated in 1953) as well as evening and weekend concerts by 10 department ensembles, and professional recitals presented by Cal Performances.
California Memorial Stadium (1923) is the home of the California Golden Bears football team. Designed by John Galen Howard and constructed in less than a year after a statewide fundraising drive, Memorial Stadium is dedicated to University students who lost their lives in World War I. President John F. Kennedy spoke here on Charter Day, 1962, to 90,000 people.
International House (1930), also known as “I-House,” is a residential and social center for foreign and American students. A gift of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., it has a pleasant cafe and terrace on the ground floor open to the public.
The Faculty Club is a landmark redwood structure tucked in amid the trees of the Faculty Glade. Its focal point is the Great Hall, originally built in 1902. The Club was founded “out of a practical need for warm lunches at reasonable prices, and a need for companionship in an early-day community which lacked the cultural, social and residential amenities to satisfy the needs of a new faculty.” Today, The Club provides a variety of services for University of California members, guests and departments. Designed by Bernard Maybeck, renowned architect and the first instructor of architecture on campus.
Doe Memorial Library (1917), the main (north) entrance to Doe Library overlooks Memorial Glade, a memorial to Cal alumni, faculty and students who served in World War II. Named after donor Charles Franklin Doe, a prominent San Francisco businessman and book lover, Doe Library houses the research collection in humanities and social sciences, as well as the library’s core services. The campus library system included Doe (the main library), Moffitt, and 19 branch libraries.It is the largest university library system in the western U.S., with more than 9 million volumes in every printed language, 90,000 currently received journals, and countless manuscripts. In Doe alone, there are more than 3 million volumes.
Up the main staircase, on the second floor, is the library’s magnificent Reference Room, which also functions as one of the main study halls on campus. Look for the enormous 1854 painting, “Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth,” on the far wall of the adjacent Government and Social Science Information Service room. The painting, by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, is a companion piece to “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The painting was given to the University in 1882 by Mrs. Mark Hopkins.
Bancroft Library (1948) was founded with the collections of Hubert Howe Bancroft. Today, the Bancroft Library holds the University’s special collections, including rare books and archives. It is famous for outstanding collections of early Californian and Mexican history, and it also maintains the world’s largest collection of Mark Twain papers. The Bancroft holds more than 54 million manuscripts, 345,000 books, 70,000 pamphlets, and 2 million lithographs, photographs, drawings, and paintings. On permanent exhibit are the Drake “Plate of Brasse” and the first gold nugget mined in California.
Berkeley’s C. V. Starr East Asian Library (2008) contains one of the most comprehensive collections of materials in East Asian languages in the United States. Its combined holdings, totaling over 900,000 volumes in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and other East Asian languages, make it one of the top two such collections in the United States outside of the Library of Congress. Construction of the Starr Library, the first freestanding structure built to house an academic East Asian collection on an American university campus, was completed in the fall of 2007. The Library opened to the public in the spring of 2008.
Alumni House (1954) is headquarters of the more than 95,000-member California Alumni Association. Facilities include a large lounge, patio, kitchen and conference rooms.
Berkeley Lab (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) is part of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California and conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Berkeley Lab offers group tours of its facilities by special request; call the Community Relations Office at (510) 486-7292.
Haas Pavilion (1999) is named after benefactor Walter Haas. It seats 12,000 and contains several large venues for athletic and special events. It replaced Harmon Gymnasium (1933), which was the site of many exciting basketball games, as well as volleyball and gymnastics contests. Its original facade is contained inside the new Haas structure. The adjacent Spieker Aquatic Complex hosts swimming and water polo events.
The Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) is the University’s largest, most complete fitness center with over 100,000 square feet of activity space, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, 3 weight rooms, seven basketball courts, seven racquetball/handball courts, six squash courts, treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowing machines and stationary bikes. Additionally, there is space reserved for volleyball, badminton, indoor soccer, group exercise classes, martial arts, and table tennis.
Edwards Stadium/Goldman Field (1932), seats 22,000 and was originally named for George C. Edwards, class of 1873, mathematics professor and the third student to enroll in the new University. A new state-of-the-art soccer field in the middle of the stadium and a track renovation were completed in 1999.
1995 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94710
UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education arm of the University of California. Its academic standards attract leading instructors and highly motivated students for unparalleled personal and professional achievement.