10 Things to Do in Berkeley That You Shouldn't Miss

December 9, 2017 Nobuko Falco

The counter-culture, flower power center of the 60s, bohemian Berkeley has evolved into a culinary and cultural travel scene. Shift into low gear and people-watch along quirky Telegraph Avenue while checking out the bookstores and cafes. After strolling through the UC Berkeley campus, the Berkeley Rose Garden and the Downtown Arts District, head into the hills for an outdoor adventure in Tilden Park or cruise down to the waterfront park, where the San Francisco skyline sparkles across the bay.
Restaurants in Berkeley

1. Tilden Regional Park

entrances at Wildcat Canyon Rd & Grizzly Peak Blvd, Berkeley, CA 94701 +1 510-562-7275
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 478 reviews

Tilden Regional Park

Tilden is one of Berkeley's oldest and most popular parks that offers a variety of family-fun activities like pony rides and carousels.

Reviewed By Ninaad D - Dublin, California

We have visited Tilden Park several times in the past year. Our toddler loves riding the trains and we enjoy the nature walks. The train rides are fun for the entire family. The train models are very well designed and lot of fun to explore. Pack a picnic and enjoy the entire day here.

2. UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720-5045 +1 510-643-2755
Excellent
72%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 421 reviews

UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Past Strawberry Canyon is the 34-acre Botanical Garden, which holds about 13,000 species of plants. The species are organized according to regions of the world, and the garden has a great collection of native Californian plants. Bring a picnic basket and some money for the bookstore and admission (closed the first Tuesday of each month and free on the first Thursday of each month). Be sure to check out the conservatory (for tropical plants) and the Chinese medicinal herb garden.The garden is open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. every day of the year except the first Tuesday of each month, Thanksgiving Day, December 24 and 25, December 31, January 1, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Tours are also available on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Reviewed By DaleRachmeler - Oakland, California

A beautiful garden set in the hills above Berkeley and the university. Dating back almost 100 years this is a beautifully designed garden wandering up and down the hills. The collection is large, the folks are very friendly and it is a lovely place to spend some time just feeling good. Of course from this spot you have magnificent views of the Bay and on a clear day you can see forever. The signage is well done and just about everything is labeled. The store is very nice and they sell plants that are left over from trials, new planting and multiplication. The Docents give an excellent tour and are very very knowledgeable so give it a go you will really like it.

3. Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607-4820 +1 510-318-8400
Excellent
73%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 611 reviews

Oakland Museum of California

The Oakland Museum of California provides unique collections, exhibitions and educational opportunities designed to generate a broader and deeper understanding of and interest in California's environment, history, art and people. Museum programs are responsive, accessible and meaningful to the public, including school children, teachers, scholars, the immediate Oakland community, and an increasingly diverse California population.

Reviewed By KitaTravels - Atlanta, Georgia

I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Oakland Museum on 10/30 during a birthday trip to the Bay area. We checked out the Black Panther exhibit, which was informative and insightful. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the exhibit was curated in a way that was inclusive and demonstrated a bit of Oakland pride.

The exhibit was interactive and thought provoking -- featuring multi-media pieces that gave you a in-depth, behind-the-scenes view into the Black Panther movement. There were several opportunities throughout the exhibit for the view to express their feelings and interact with the artwork and environment.

The staff were very friendly and helpful. I would visit this museum again for other exhibits whenever I'm in the area.

4. Point Isabel

2701 Isabel St, Richmond, CA 94804-5807 +1 888-327-2757
Excellent
68%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 79 reviews

Point Isabel

Park, great for dog walking and windsurf launches.

Reviewed By Gene G - Benicia, California

Point Isabel,,just West of 80 on Central,, has a great bike path up to the old Ford Plant,
the Best Dog Park, and windsurfing,, pretty great little place.

For instance today , it was 90 degrees in Benicia, and 70 degrees for a bike ride by the water from point Isabell up past the Richmond Marina

5. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA 94720 +1 510-642-6000
Excellent
66%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 796 reviews

University of California, Berkeley

California's most prestigious public university is the home of liberalism and revolution.

Reviewed By Nando T - Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

As a university professor elsewhere I can really appreciate the environment at this academic campus. The educational quality of this institution is worldwide recognize and its location is definitely ideal: relatively small community (Berkeley) near a rather cosmopolitan city at large like the bay area.

6. Tilden Park Little Farm

Central Park Dr, Berkeley, CA +1 888-327-2757
Excellent
68%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 124 reviews

Tilden Park Little Farm

Reviewed By Kent S

This area of Tilden Park is a popular local gathering of young children and parents who enjoy seeing farm animals and feeding them. You need to bring "greens--celery works best or lettuce" to feed the cows, goats, sheep and horses. This is my grandson's (just turned 3 years) favorite place to visit and run around. The Tilden park area is vast and had several other areas to explore (train ride, carousel rides, nature hikes, botanical gardens). It's a wonderful area to spend several hours with your family.

7. Mountain View Cemetery

5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611-4294 +1 510-658-2588
Excellent
69%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 144 reviews

Mountain View Cemetery

Reviewed By Shamiracle D

Generally well kept. It was nice to drive and walk through this 200+ acre cemetery to see the creativity in the structures, the inscriptions, historical relevance (like the plots with babies that died from polio). This was a first where I consciously toured a cemetery, but clearly lots of folks do it or they do here. A couple instances I felt were a little disrespectful to the dead or their living family. For instance, I saw a family w/ a 10-12yr old that climbed on top of a mausoleum to take a selfie. WTH!!! Another were young men that were up there smoking and playing cards on the steps of another mausoleum. Lots of Bay Area contributors. Who knew the guy (Frederick Olmsted) that designed this cemetery was the one that designed NYC's Central Park, among other park systems!!!! Breathtaking views just outside Oakland's city limits. Go see it.

P.S. They have porto-pots too if a bathroom emergency comes upon you :)

8. Sather Tower

S Hall Rd, Berkeley, CA 94720-0001
Excellent
65%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 105 reviews

Sather Tower

Reviewed By SatyendraGarg - New Delhi, India

Sather Tower is UC Berkeley’s most beloved and well-known symbols. Visible for miles, the Tower is the third-tallest bell and clock-tower in the world, and an integral part of the campus experience.There is a spectacular, sprawling view of the Bay Area from the observation platform of the Tower. There are three daily carillon concerts. The Tower cannot be missed and is visible all over Berkeley. Money for its construction was given by Jane K Sather, for her husband banker, Peder Sather. This Beautiful Tower was completed in 1914 and opened to Public in 1917. Its height is 94 meters. An elevator takes visitors 200 feet up to an observation deck with sweeping views of the campus, the surrounding hills, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate.
The Beauty of Tower which has clock on all four sides is such that one keeps coming to it, while in Berkeley, again and again. The Tower is most photographic and beautiful.

9. Berkeley Marina

201 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710-1618 +1 510-981-6740
Excellent
47%
Good
42%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 236 reviews

Berkeley Marina

One of the recommended windsurfing launch spots.

Reviewed By tiredandtravelled - Portland, Oregon

And fancy boats a lovely walk and very few restaurants some hotels. Lots of boat horns going off especially at night not sure why. Parking along the side of the road. Great views.

10. Lake Merritt

Lakeside Park, Oakland, CA 94612 +1 510-238-7275
Excellent
56%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 779 reviews

Lake Merritt

Saltwater lake in the middle of the city.

Reviewed By June I - San Francisco, California

A beautiful Fall day around the Premier tourist spot, The Lake.
Worth a visit and 3.5 mile walk around it. Bird and people watch. Ride the gondola at the Lake Chalet and go to the large Cathedral at Grand and Harrison.
Within walking distance to Oakland Museum and Chinatown.

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