20 Best Things to Do in Berkeley, CA

20 Best Things to Do in Berkeley, CA

Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the city of Berkeley is a warm blend of hippie culture, activism, and scholars.

The city has a diverse historical significance in the making of America.

Truth and tyranny have always been a part of the city.

The Free Speech Movement was started originally by Berkeley activists in the late 1960s.

It is a city with a small but esteemed reputation.

It sits on 10.5 square miles of land, with another 7.2 square miles of land extending over the waters.

Over the years, Berkeley transformed from an old activist city into an exciting travel destination.

You can visit Berkeley during any season due to its pleasant climate all throughout the year—although, to be specific, spring and autumn are when the city is at its best.

Despite being a small city, Berkeley has lots of places to visit and see, and one can choose depending on their interests.

These are the best things to do in Berkeley, California:

Enjoy Captivating Views from Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak
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Grizzly Peak is the highest point of the Berkeley Hills.

You can drive to reach the top to see one of the most fascinating views of San Francisco.

Entrance is free, there is a parking lot for your vehicles, and there are wooden trunk benches where you can have a seat and witness panoramic views of the city.

From this point, you can identify Napa, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, Oakland, and Silicon Valley.

You can start your tour of Berkeley by driving up to Grizzly Peak and witnessing the city's most breathtaking views.

It would be best to visit this place at night to see the entire city lit up.

Embark on a Hiking Adventure in Tilden Regional Park

Tilden Park
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This park is located on Grizzly Peak Boulevard and is a must-visit on your trip to Berkeley.

You can go hiking on the trail in the park.

There is gray, tropical greenery on the path.

There are two estuaries on your hiking path.

You can come here and build a powerful bond with nature.

Several bridges are available to make your hike safer and more manageable.

The hike opens up to the gorgeous Lake Anza and is a perfect way to escape the Californian heat during the summer.

You can take a quaint dip in the lake or walk to Lake Anza Beach and relax on the sand.

View Stunning Scenes from Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve

Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve
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Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve is a regional park on Claremont Avenue.

You can park your vehicles at the entrance.

At the entrance of the park, there are maps available to guide you through the trail.

They call it the Stonewall Panoramic Trail, and the path is even, save for a few steep steps.

The first upland you'll see is impressive.

Once you arrive at the top of the trail, you get to see panoramic views of the city, Oakland, and San Francisco.

You can take some rest at the top because the hike may tire you, but the views will undoubtedly be worth it.

Explore Berkeley's Iconic Telegraph Avenue

Berkeley is a city known for hippies and the liberal movement, and Telegraph Avenue is a symbol of the great historic movement.

The road is picturesque and looks like something straight out of a Hollywood film.

It's lined with shops and restaurants.

One must-visit shop would have to be CREAM, well-known for its delectable ice cream sandwiches.

You can find artists selling art and musicians singing on the roads here.

Telegraph Avenue is located in downtown Berkeley and will lead you directly to the world-famous University of California, Berkeley.

Inside the campus, you can see the entire Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay at some high points.

Watch the Sunset at César E. Chávez Park

When you come to César E. Chávez Park in the evening, you can see the beautiful sunset against the fields overlooking the upstanding San Francisco bay.

There is relaxing music being played here all the time, which may help calm your frazzled nerves.

Just picture this: pleasant views of the waves crashing against the rocks by the shore, calm music in the background, and the sun slowing setting behind the mountains and the night creeping in.

You can buy a warm cup of coffee and get lost in the sights of nature here.

Plenty of people come here for jogging, strolling, and cycling.

You can set up a picnic here and have a lovely time.

Try the Best of Berkeley's Local Cuisine

Berkeley restaurant
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Berkeley has an exceptional cuisine, and the food here is not like that of any other American city.

Some restaurants in the city have been open for a long time and represent the taste of Berkeley.

Bette's Oceanview Diner on Fourth Street is a high-end yet affordable restaurant with a charming setting.

They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner—out of all their menu items, their breakfast options would have to be their best offerings.

In case you would prefer to cook for yourself, the Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo Avenue sells imported products from Japan that you can prepare at home.

View Various Plant Species at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
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Located on Centennial Drive, the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley features over 10,000 plant species.

You can visually learn so much about the indigenous plant kingdom on this trip.

The vast botanical garden is located alongside a park and the Lawrence Hall of Science, from where you can view all the aspects of the garden.

There are rides, benches, and a fishing area in the park.

Some plants in the garden are endangered and are hence carefully preserved.

The garden has a vast collection of succulents that have been collected and grown since the early 1990s.

There is also a tropical zone where herbs of different kinds are grown.

Stop and Smell the Roses at the Berkeley Rose Garden

Berkeley Rose Garden
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The Berkeley Rose Garden is found on Euclid Avenue and is the perfect place to go on a leisurely walk in the summer, with pleasant scents all around you.

There are around 3,000 different rose plants in the garden, a red canopy, and an amphitheater.

There is a hiking trail in the garden if you want to blend in with nature.

The garden has footbridges, a picnic area, and tennis courts.

The amphitheater is structured abstractly.

There are benches on each layer, and each layer has a different rose breed blooming in its soil.

The garden is the ideal venue for a romantic date.

Have a Picnic at the Berkeley Marina

Berkeley Marina
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The Berkeley Marina is an urban delight in the western part of the city.

The harbor is used for sailing most of the yachts in Berkeley.

There is an idyllic park with fresh green grass, where you can lie down and feel the Californian breeze on your face.

There are fishing areas available, so you can have freshly caught fish for a delicious meal.

The marina is calm and picturesque, and summers here are exceptionally splendid and airy.

You can view the Golden Gate Bridge from the harbor.

There is a nature programming center close by if you want to make your visit an educational trip.

There is plenty to do here; there are playgrounds, scenic views, and restaurants that present the dock view.

Take in Views from Sather Tower

Sather Tower
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Sather Tower is a bell and clock tower located on the campus of the University of California, Berkley.

Its bell is the third-largest bell in the world.

It was given by Jane K. Sather in the loving memory of her husband, Peder Sather.

This 96-meter tall structure is the university's most distinguishing feature, and people from across the world come here just to visit it.

The tower is famous mainly due to its similarity to the Campanile de San Marco in Venice, Italy.

The tower is also home to fossils from Los Angeles' La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.

An elevator inside the tower takes passengers 500 feet above ground level, giving astounding views of the Bay, San Francisco, and the Golden Bridge.

Watch Artistic Films at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is another noteworthy site within the University of California, Berkley grounds.

It opened in 1970 and features a massive collection of vintage paintings by renowned artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and many others.

The Pacific Film Archive broadcasts international films on screens and has a library filled with online directories of the films.

The MATRIX Program for modern-day art is a must-see for art enthusiasts.

Make sure you plan your visit when an exhibition is going on, as they are always diverse and marvelous.

You can also witness staged dances and musical events at this museum.

Indulge in Lip-Smacking Cuisine at the Gourmet Ghetto

The cuisine in Berkeley is so delightful.

There are a variety of restaurants for you to choose from.

The Gourmet Ghetto is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Berkeley.

The area gave birth to a lot of food concepts that are popular today.

They serve local and organic food, among countless other culinary delights.

You can start your visit to this district by trying the famous Chez Panisse started by Alice Waters in 1971.

Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria is another well-known restaurant in the area, known to serve one type of vegetarian pizza every day.

Explore the Rocky Trail at Indian Rock Park

This park on Indian Rock Avenue is known for its scenic views of the Bay and the city.

Indian Rock Park is situated at the top of a hill, and you have to take a trail to get to the top, where you can see all the views of the city, the Bay, and the bridge.

You can also go rock climbing here.

People come here all the time to do photoshoots.

There are similar volcanic eruption formations around the area, but the largest ones you'll find are at the Indian Rock Park.

Geek Out at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Lawrence Hall of Science
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The Lawrence Hall of Science is one of the University of California, Berkeley's major attractions.

It is open to the public, and there are lots of scientific experiments on display for visitors to see and learn from.

There is a planetarium that projects constellations and the solar system; it is a fun learning experience.

You can identify the stars, all the planets, the sun, and the moons.

If you come here at night, make sure you carry a pair of binoculars so you can stargaze under the moonlight.

You can identify some prominent stars in the sky on a clear night.

An Animal Discovery Zone is set up, where you can learn about animal history, species, and habitats.

Sample Exquisite Wines at Donkey & Goat Winery

Donkey & Goat Winery has been around since 2004 and takes pride in being Berkeley's first-ever natural winery.

While their wines are handcrafted in Berkeley, their grapes are grown in Napa Valley and various other organically farmed vineyards in California.

The winery features a cellar and tasting room, and you can sample the different kinds of wine they sell and even learn about the art of winemaking.

The best time to visit this place is on a weekend, as there is much less rush and the place is calm.

You can also purchase some of their fine wines to commemorate your trip!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Spend a Day at Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods National Monument
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Muir Woods National Monument is famous for its California redwoods, which are a breed of plant species known for their long lifetime, enormous trunks, and tall height.

Some trees are so huge that you can drive your car through their trunks.

It would be best to come to this place during the daytime, as it can take an entire day to hike around.

There is a two-mile walk to the entrance, and maps are available to guide you to the monument.

Alternatively, you can choose to hike and witness the greenery and the place's area up close.

The hike begins on the Dipsy Trail and ends at the Ben Johnson Trail.

The path takes around two hours to cover, and you can see the ocean views and spend some time with nature.

You can set up a quick picnic in the green area and take in the place's serenity.