Will you be visiting Berkely, California in the near future? If so, there are so many amazing things to see and fun things to do that your biggest dilemma will be figuring out which to do first. To give you a head start on planning your itinerary, we’ve put together a list of 10 things that first-time visitors absolutely must see and do before anything else.
1. Visit Grizzly Peak
Grizzly Peak is one of Berkely’s top attractions. It is located in the Tilden Regional Park in the vicinity of the University of California campus. The peak was named after a famous local grizzly bear that made the area his home during the late 19th-century era. This attraction is loaded with picnicking and bbq areas as well as a basketball court, a sand area, a steel slide and much more.
2. Tour the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley
The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley is one of the most beautiful locations in the city. It’s situated on the UC campus and offers 34 acres of botanical wonders with more than 20,000 different plants from a variety of plant families from all over the world. If you are a plant lover or just enjoy a total immersion in natural beauty, then this is a must-see.
3. Visit the Lawrence Hall of Science
The Lawrence Hall of Science was established to honor UCs first Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Orlando Lawrence. It first opened in 1968 and provides science exhibits with hands-on fun and excitement for people of all ages from kids to adults. It’s a great place to take the family for a day of fun and learning.
4. Eat at Viks Chaat and Market
Viks Chaat and Market is Berkeley’s authentic Indian restaurant that offers a variety of tasty street snacks and specialty foods. Here you will discover a taste of India in food and culture. All of the food served at Viks is fresh and hand prepared while you wait. It may take a little while, but it is well worth the time you’ll invest. The restaurant is combined with the store that offers authentic Indian ingredients from all parts of the country.
5. Walk through the Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets
The Ecology Center Farmer’s Markets is located in downtown Berkeley, North Berkeley, and South Berkeley and here you will find the freshest agricultural products in the area. This is California’s celebration of sustainable agriculture and products that are brought into the markets by small farmers who take pride in the quality of their produce. They offer a variety of products in an open-air setting that allows you to come and browse through their offerings of baked goods, cheese, plants and flowers, vegetables, fruits, olive oil, jams and preserves and more.
6. Eat at the Iyasare Restaurant
Iyasare is a unique Japanese-Californian restaurant with a name that is interpreted as “to heal.” You’ll find it on Fourth Street in Berkeley and it’s one of the most highly recommended restaurants in the city. The atmosphere is intimate and features soft lighting and a lovely woodwork with an open atosphere so you can see the master chefs prepare your meal from your table. It’s the ideal atmosphere for a romantic dinner for two, compliments of Chef Shotaro Kamio.
7. See the Berkeley Rose Garden
The Berkeley Rose Garden is the property of the city of Berkely and it was built in 1933 created under the WPA project. It has the appearance of a lovely terraced amphitheater and it’s located in a small canyon. The garden offers some of the most breathtaking views of the Golden Gate bridge and the city of San Francisco. Here you’ll find over 3,000 rose bushes representing 250 different varieties.
8. Catch a performance at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre
The Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located on Addison Street. It began as a storefront stage in the late 1960s, and continued to grow and evolve into one of the most famous stages featuring live performances in the nation. Check out the schedule when you’re in town and catch a live stage performance.
9. Go to the Habitot Children’s Museum
The Habitat Children Museum is an ideal place to take the entire family when visiting Berkeley. It was established by teachers and parents, opening its doors in 1992. At the museum, you’ll find hands-on activities for children from infants through preschoolers to play and to learn in a safe environment. There are several exhibits that are designed to inspire wonder and creativity as well as learning for the very young. If you’re the parent or grandparent of young children, you won’t want to miss out on this wonderful opportunity.
10.Spend the day at the Berkeley Marina
The Berkeley Marina is one of the best places in the Berkeley area for water sports and fun in the sun. The Marina encompasses 52 acres of water and features a yacht club, a hotel, a fishing pier, multiple bicycles and walking paths and several interesting restaurants. There are also several other attractions including an Adventure Playground, a zip line, climbing toys for children and much more.