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8 Fun Things to Do in Berkeley, CA

When you think Berkeley, you probably think Cal. And though the Golden Bears are enough of a claim to fame, there’s actually far more to Berkeley than its University of California campus. From POC and queer-focused vintage stores, shops packed with rare books, or countless unexpected outdoor spaces, Berkeley has an adventure for everyone—even if that’s just a game at California Memorial Stadium.

Discover Berkeley by way of our eight favorite things to do, see, and eat, all just steps from Graduate Berkeley.

1

Tilden Nature Area & Little Farm

Meander through 740 acres of hiking trails, native and introduced plants, and even eucalyptus forests at the Tilden Nature Area. This preserve is teeming with woodlands, grasslands, and streams, many of which you’ll come across on the area’s 10 miles of hiking trails. Don’t miss the climb up Wildcat Peak, which offers sweeping views of San Francisco at the top. 

Once you’ve conquered the trails, head over to the Little Farm. Built-in 1955, the farm is home to cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, and pigs, all of which you can interact with up close.

Insider Tip

If you bring celery or lettuce, you or your child can feed the farm animals on the property!

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baby sheep
2

La Note

Savor the flavors of Provence at La Note, a quaint eatery located in the heart of downtown Berkeley. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner take a turn for the Provençal at La Note, from warm brie cheese with tomato pesto to their signature lasagne du jour. 

La Note channels bistros of Southern France, so you’ll enjoy a charming dining experience whether you stop by for breakfast or settle in for a long dinner. Don’t forget to request a seat on their welcoming outdoor patio, open April through October. 

Insider Tip

Make sure to snag a reservation before you go. This spot fills up fast!

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pancakes
3

Eucalyptus Grove

Wander amongst the tallest stand of hardwood trees in North America at UC Berkeley’s own Eucalyptus Grove. These Tasmanian blue gums were planted in 1882 to protect the old cinder track from the wind. 

Today, the Eucalyptus Grove is a go-to for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Catch some shade beneath the trees or simply soak up this outdoor oasis right in the middle of campus. 

Insider Tip

Catch a breath of fresh air while reading your favorite book at Eucalyptus Grove.

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eucalyptus grove
4

Cal Performances

Cal Performances is the go-to destination for Berkeley students and locals alike craving a night at the theater. This performing arts venue welcomes everything from jazz to pop to chamber music, ensuring people of all tastes will find an event to love. 

See a favorite genre in person or discover a new obsession, whether that’s dance set to a piano or a powerful quartet.

Insider Tip

Try to get there early to find a good parking spot and book your tickets at the ticket office rather than online (it’s cheaper!).

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theatre stage
5

Moe’s Books

Used, rare, and collectible books have a home at Moe’s Books. Since 1959, Moe’s has bought used books from Berkeley locals and given them a new life within the store. Today, Moe’s unfolds in an extensive four-story shop.

They specialize in accurate valuations for precious books, but you’ll also find an extensive collection of works on fine arts, photography, and architecture. Moe’s is also known for their online catalogue, which they sell to book lovers around the world. 

 

Insider Tip

Moe’s Books regularly invites authors in for live readings. Check out their website for the schedule ahead of time.

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6

Indigo Vintage

Quality and originality is the name of the game for Indigo Vintage. Though their name comes from the deep hues of perfectly-worn denim, you’ll find much more than jeans in this vintage shop. This female-owned and operated shop prides itself on creating an inclusive space that supports women, queer, and POC.

That’s why you’ll find nothing but independent designers and carefully-curated goods within. Buy tops, bottoms, dresses, and more here in Berkeley or at one of their other two locations.

Insider Tip

Only street parking is available, so get there at the beginning of the day for your best shot at a spot. 

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7

Pappy’s Grill & Sports Bar

At Pappy’s, you’ll find more than just food and beer. You’ll find a good time. This Telegraph Ave sports bar is a Berkeley institution, with the name itself paying homage to Cal football couch Pappy Waldorf. With two full bars, sixteen beers on tap, and 8,500 square feet of space, you’re sure to find exactly what you need for a memorable night out. 

Dig into mouth watering pub grub like burgers and tri-tip steak sandwiches or belly up to the bar to enjoy a cold beer fresh from the tap. Don’t miss weekday specials like Taco Tuesdays or Monday Madness, where you can snag a burger, fries, and a pint of PBR for just $10. 

Insider Tip

Looking to watch a football game and enjoy a cold beer? This is the place for you!

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8

Jack London Square

Get close to the edge of the bay at Jack London Square, an outdoor shopping and outdoor entertainment destination that sits on Oakland’s inner harbor. This is Oakland’s only publicly accessible marina area, which is why it’s been a go-to for locals and travelers alike since the 1800s. 

Dig into burgers, pizza, ice cream, and more before walking the Bay Trail, perusing the Lightship Relief Museum, or catching a movie at the seven-screen theater.

Insider Tip

In town for the weekend? Check out the Farmers’ Market – every Sunday, 9am- 2pm.

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