I stayed mostly within a 1.5-mile radius of the campus for almost 5 days and never ran out of things to do. Most of my time was spent on College, Bancroft, and the actual campus. One day I walked down University to Trader Joe’s, another day I walked to lunch on Telegraph with my friend, and another day I cycled to Berkeley Bowl. I also walked to the library. It was a dream come true.
I’ve tried to organize this post in the most efficient manner, but there are still quite a few words and photos. Below you’ll find my recommendations for places to eat and drink, places to shop, and places to see. Leave your favorite Berkeley spots in the comments!
P L A C E S T O E A T & D R I N K
Caffe Strada. I mostly liked this location for the outside seating arrangement. There are trees and shade and sun, and lots of people. I will readily confess that I went cheap and just drank iced tea every time I visited, so I really can’t speak about their other offerings. But if you want a nice place to journal or just people-watch, Strada is it.
Elmwood Cafe. A delightfully bright and airy spot on College Avenue, Elmwood has many sandwich options, made on local Acme bread. One time when I walked by after dark around 9pm, many people inside simply had pots of tea on their tables! While that sounds like a healthy way to end the day, I was busy licking my ice cream cone from Ici…
Ici Ice Cream. In a word- marvelous. You can read a little more about this place here.
Cream. Cream is Berkeley-famous, and my banana fudge walnut ice cream sandwich on gluten free snickerdoodles was a good indication why. The cookies are fresh and warm and you can mix and match flavors to create your ultimate sandwich.
Philz Coffee. The Ecstatic Iced Coffee is hands-down the most genuine iced coffee you will ever taste. However they do it, this coffee maintains all of its integrity in the cooling process, leaving you with the most intense, satisfying flavor. It’s magical.
Cheese Board Pizza. Honestly, this is a must. Go for the amazing organic pizza that changes every day, go for the green sauce that might change your life, go for the live jazz,
go for the experience of picnicking in the median on Shattuck if there’s no other seating available (which is now prohibited by the city :( ). Just go. It’s wonderful.
P L A C E S T O S E E
Berkeley Public Library. It’s on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Still not convinced? You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from the fifth floor, and the late afternoon light is glorious up there. Libraries are my happy place.
College Avenue. Many of the places mentioned in this post, like Cotton Basics, Collector, Elmwood Cafe, and Ici are located on the block between Russell Street and Ashby Avenue. With plenty of window displays and tiled store entrances, this section feels more like Main Street than anything else.
The campus, obviously.
Finally, the best way to see things is just walk to no place in particular. That’s how I found this “You Are My Sunshine” mural in a random alley on Oxford and that beautiful tile and door on Telegraph.
P L A C E S T O S H O P
I don’t have photos of these specific places… taking pictures inside stores always feels suspicious ;)
Collector Art Shop. Even if you aren’t in the market for any art, this place is definitely worth 15 minutes of your time. There are art prints small and large, as well as greeting cards and many miscellaneous knick-knacks. Most of the art is from local Bay Area artists and affordably priced.
Cotton Basics. This store is full of simple, high-quality cotton clothing. There was a cute, un-touristy Berkeley shirt that I really wanted to buy, and still might :)
Other notable shops include Therapy, Mrs. Dalloway’s book store, and Elmwood Stationers for paper lovers.