Berkeley has a reputation as the most liberal city in the
United States. Originating from the Free Speech Movement of the 1960's, visitors
will find an eclectic mix of people and things that often make one shake
their head and say "Only in Berkeley." Berkeley's free-thinking
environment has seen the birth of quality attractions, great food from many
cultures, and of course the 30,000-person large University of California,
Berkeley. UC Berkeley is listed as Historic
Oakland International Airport (OAK) is the most convenient airport to
access Berkeley by plane. Take the AirBART shuttle
to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Oakland Airport station, and then take a
Richmond-bound train to the Downtown Berkeley station. Alternatively, you
can use a rental car and drive up Interstate 80 to the University Avenue
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is also convenient but will take a
little longer. Similarly, take a BART train to Berkeley. Driving is a bit
tougher, but is possible: take the US Highway 101 north across the San
Francisco Bay Bridge. Take Interstate 80 north and exit University Avenue.
San Jose International Airport (SJC) is in the region but tougher. Rental
car will probably be easiest, but public transit is possible. Consult the
511.org (http://www.511.org) website for more.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) offers excellent service to
Berkeley from other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amtrak offers service to Berkeley from other parts of the United States via
the Berkeley station, Emeryville station, or Richmond station. Consult
511.org for details on how to get from the Amtrak stations to your
destination; sadly the Berkeley station is in an out-of-the-way location of
the city. If you are traveling to downtown Berkeley or the University,
transfer to BART at the Richmond station and travel on BART to the downtown
From San Francisco, Berkeley is a simple 10-minute drive
across the Bay Bridge and up Interstate 80 to University Avenue.
From Sacramento, Berkeley is a 1-hour drive south Interstate 80.
From Los Angeles and Southern California, Berkeley is a 7+ hour drive up
Interstate 5, then west Interstate 580, and finally north Interstate 80.
As in many other American cities, the car is king. Yet
public transportation is prevalent and walking is an option downtown and
near the university. The website http://www.511.org/ provides a trip planner
for those wanting to use the local public transit (BART light rail and AC
University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, or "Cal"): Visitor Center,
101 University Hall (at the corner of University Avenue and Oxford Streets)
- 90-minute student-led walking tours are offered seven days a week. (M-Sa
at 10AM, Su at 1PM). Be prepared to climb the hilly campus terrain. If
you're touring alone, the main attraction is a ride up the Campanile ($2
general admission), which offers sweeping views of the Bay Area. http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/
Lawrence Hall of Science: Centennial Drive (located in the hills of the
Berkeley campus), 510-642-5132. Every day, 10AM-5PM. Offers many hands-on
science exhibits, especially good for children. This is one of the best
places to get a panoramic view of the Bay Area: San Francisco, the Golden
Gate Bridge, Oakland and the Bay Bridge. Nearby is the UC botanical garden. lhs.berkeley.edu
Berkeley Pier: At the west end of University Avenue, near Interstate 80.
Great views of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the bay. Not
recommended at night.
People's Park: While not visually spectacular, a landmark of the 1960's Free
West and South Berkeley, especially near Oakland, can be
unsafe at night. In the past Berkeley was reported to have the second-highest
crime rate for large California cities, though many Berkeley crimes are
drug-related. While the north side is quieter and generally safer, use
common sense and avoid walking alone at night. Free night escorts are
provided by the University of California police near campus: call