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Berkeley

See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

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A haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But while California’s spirited city of free speech still stands strong, Berkeley can also boast of a booming food, wine, and craft-brew scene, sprinkled throughout with arts and culture. Add an easy-to-use public transit that makes San Francisco a quick light-rail ride away, and Berkeley rates high on any Bay Area must-see list.

You will be hard pressed to ever say, ‘OK, I did Berkeley,’” says Dan Marengo of Visit Berkeley, the city’s local tourism group. “There's too much to cover, which is a little amazing considering it’s roughly a quarter the size of Oakland.” The town, originally named in 1866 after Irish philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, is great for exploring, with welcoming neighborhoods that bustle with shoppers, parents walking dogs and pushing strollers, and joggers and skateboarders gliding by. Top-notch University of California, Berkeley gives the city an energetic jolt, and students from around the world add an international and intellectual flair. How diverse is Berkeley? Along the main drag of University Avenue, you can buy an exotic outfit at Sari Palace, sample Indonesian food at Jayakarta, and enjoy house-roasted beans at Algorithm Coffee Co.

Stop by the visitor information center a block north of the downtown Berkeley BART station (the hub for the local light-rail system that accesses San Francisco and other Bay Area towns). There you can chat with helpful staff, pick up brochures and maps, and find out what to see and do along dozens of do-it-yourself walking tours. 

Harriot Manley & Lisa Trottier

 

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