A tranquil place in the Berkeley hills.
A tranquil place in the Berkeley hills. Credit: @xipuli

Spend a Weekend
in Berkeley

Across the Bay Bridge lies a community known for its creativity, activism, and cuisine. It's Berkeley, and here's how you can spend a terrific weekend there.

Set between a Pacific ridge and sparkling San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a spirited city that has grown from counterculture roots to a hip hub of intellectual and cultural diversity, with a thriving art and culinary scene. Free speech and flower power are forever in the city’s DNA, but Berkeley has become a celebrated place to enjoy an authentic and off-beat college town vibe.

People worldwide come to Berkeley seeking acclaimed restaurants, museums, shopping and arts. Along the way, they discover fabulous diversions—and a bit of themselves. Berkeley’s diverse neighborhood districts frame a perfect weekend getaway, walkable within and in-between, inviting you to mix flavors, change tempos, explore, reflect, and get lost – in the best way.  Come, explore, and discover why everyone’s a little Berkeley.

Berkeley hotels follow CHLA Clean & Safe guidelines and procedures to ensure your health and peace of mind during your stay. From bay views to chic new boutiques and historic landmark properties, find a hotel that works for you.

Day 1: Telegraph Avenue, Elmwood, and UC Berkeley

Start your trip with a walk along Telegraph, Berkeley’s iconic avenue. In a city known for its inviting diversity and unparalleled academia, the avenue serves as both conductor and conduit for Berkeley’s hip and youthful energy.  Telegraph is lined with tie-dye touting street merchants, independent specialty stores, vintage boutiques and international cuisine cafes.  For many, Telegraph Avenue is where Berkeley begins.

Moe’s Books is a world famous destination for book lovers, with four floors of amazing finds.  Check out Rasputin and Amoeba for the latest beats, and stop in for a bite at Nom Nom Bahn Mi for a sandwich or Top Dog, where the pups come with sides of mustard, banana peppers and philosophy. Get the self-guided Telegraph Tour app for the full manifesto.

A short stroll from Telegraph takes you to College Avenue and the Elmwood District, one of Berkeley’s original destination boulevards.  Radiating out from the intersection of Ashby and College avenues, the Elmwood glows with great coffee, shopping and dining.

The University of California, Berkeley is more than the world’s top public center of learning. The park-like campus offers a constellation of public attractions that take things to a whole new level.  Take a splendid walk at the University of California Botanical Garden or explore science and the sky at The Lawrence Hall of Science, both set high in the Berkeley Hills.  

Day 2: Fourth Street and Gilman

Fourth Street is a shopping destination with world-class restaurants, retailers and art galleries, all offering creative merchandise of high quality and contemporary design.  Start the day with breakfast at Bette’s Oceanview Diner, a Berkeley institution, where pancakes and eggs rule. 

Window shopping on Fourth Street can build up a powerful thirst, and in a stroke of good fortune, the nearby Gilman District offers craft beer and urban wineries chock-a-block. Sip and swirl at Donkey & Goat and Vinca Minor, and get hoppy-go-lucky at Fieldwork and Gilman Brewing.  After you've worked up an appetite, swing by Joyride for some of the best Detroit-Style pizza on the West Coast. 

Day 3: Downtown, North Shattuck, and Solano

Finish your Berkeley getaway strong by hitting the districts that embody Berkeley’s cultural and culinary keynotes.  The Downtown Arts District is a fulcrum for music, performance and visual arts. The Freight & Salvage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive are leading lights.

Shopping and strolling are kings on Solano Avenue in Berkeley’s northern district.  Pick up a handmade memento of your time in Berkeleyland at Fern’s Garden and take the gentle hike to the summit at Indian Rock Park, where you may see free climbers honing their chops.

At the end of the day, bring it into North Shattuck, where Alice Waters led the California cuisine revolution at Chez Panisse Restaurant & Café.  Another food radical, Alfred Peet, took weak joe out of your cup and replaced it with fresh-roast craft coffee. Visit the original Peet’s Coffee & Tea alongside artisan foodie stars like the Cheeseboard Collective

Highlights, Sights & Bites is Berkeley’s monthly e-news highlighting what’s new and happening.  Get it here!


Book a Hotel Room
in Berkeley


Tyler Cohn headshot
Tyler Cohn

Tyler is the Sr. Manager of Global Content & Communications at San Francisco Travel. He has lived in San Francisco since 2015 and has been part of the San Francisco Travel team for just as long. He enjoys splashy production numbers and outdoor sporting events equally, which means you can usually find him at one of San Francisco’s many great theaters or at Oracle Park, cheering on the Giants. 

The Golden Gate Bridge at sunset with a multicolored sky and the San Francisco Bay in the foreground.
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