Berkeley California is a city nestled into the east shore of the San Francisco Bay. It is equidistant from Richmond (to the north) and Oakland (to the south). Although the heyday of political activism peaked in the 1970s during the Vietnam War, the city remains a center for left-leaning political thought and maintains a global image as one of the most liberal cities in the United States. Berkeley is home to the University of California Berkeley, the oldest of all the branches in the UC system. There are a wide variety of things to do in Berkeley, not the least of which is to explore the rich and vibrant art scene as well as the range of cultural points of interest.
There are so many things to do in Berkeley that it may be a good idea to at least have a rough idea for your itinerary prior to arriving. The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Berkeley Marina, the Berkeley History Center, and the Lawrence Hall of Science are just a few of the top attractions that many people place near the top of their lists for places to visit. The Berkeley Rose Garden is a lovely place to enjoy the temperate climate of northern California in the spring. There are also a good number of art galleries, music venues, and bookstores. Berkeley has by no means relinquished its ties to its liberal and activist past. You can still sense that the art and culture that was so prevalent then is alive and well now.
One of the most distinctive aspects of Berkeley California is the unique mix of neighborhoods that each offers its own appeal. As you might imagine, the University of California Berkeley campus is the most populous part of the city. Downtown Berkeley is situated just west of campus and Southside is located to the south of campus and is primarily comprised of student housing.
As you move away from campus you will find neighborhoods like the Claremont District, South Berkeley, the Elmwood District, West Berkeley, and Ocean View. Each one of these neighborhoods offers something distinctly its own in terms of ambiance and environment for everything from shopping to dining to the arts. South Berkeley, for example, is a wonderful place for shopping and is notable for the flea market that is hosted at Ashby Station. North Berkeley, on the other hand, is reputed for its wide selection of restaurants. There is quite literally something for everyone to enjoy in this small but charming city.
You will find that there is a number of options for getting around the city, including public transportation (trains, buses) as well as bike and walking paths. You will become familiar with the sight of signs for the Eastshore Highway (I-80 and I-580). This highway meanders up the coast and has exits for Ashby Avenue and other points of interest. The concierge at your hotel can be abundantly helpful with things like suggesting restaurants in a city that features so many of the unique variety.