My whole page is essentially about the Albany Bulb, but I have to put a tip in somewhere. So this is it. I'll put in driving directions in a bit, though basically it is located behind Golden Gate Fields racetrack, which you CANNOT miss. Any map of the Bay Area will show the Bulb; though it won't be labeled, it will be pretty obvious.
If you want to know what the Bulb is, go to my intro page and read that, and click on the travelogues to see lots of pictures.
Solano Avenue is Albany's 'Main Street' and one of the larger shopping districts in the area. It gets more vibrant and busy the closer you get to Berkeley. The section of the street between the BART tracks and San Pablo Avenue is still recovering from a disastrous street repaving project that lasted much longer than it should have and caused several businesses to move or shut down.
Us Highway 9 West, Glenmont, , Albany, California
Cugini is a nice Italian Ristorante in the bad town of Albany. Thankfully it is right across Solano Avenue from Berkeley. They offer several Italian dishes and pizza baked in a wood fired oven. The owners are very nice people.
Favorite Dish: I enjoyed the Fettucini Alfredo. It tasted authentic and was well prepared. Maybe a little skimpy on the portion.
Solano Avenue is the main area for food in Albany/North Berkeley. It is the major street off of San Pablo Avenue. There are a large variety of restaurants on this long street, including at least three very good Indian places. The farther East (ie uphill) you go, the nicer the places.
My favorite place on Solano is the Burger Depot, which is one block east of San Pablo Ave. They have excellent burgers and delicious shakes and ice cream treats - they run the ice cream shop next door.
Several AC Transit bus lines go to Albany, the two main ones are the 43, which runs up and down Solano Ave from Berkeley, and the 72/73, which runs the length of San Pablo Ave.
Albany is within walking distance of the El Cerrito Plaza and North Berkeley BART stations, although Solano Avenue itself might be too far for some.
Driving here flat out sucks. The streets are extremely narrow, parking anywhere near Solano Ave is almost non-existant, and traffic on Solano Ave is sloooowwwww. Avoid bringing your car if possible.
WALK! This place is so tiny that, unless you can't walk far, you don't really need any other form of transportation. Not to mention the fact that driving and parking is a real pain in the ass. Those little fold-out scooters seem to be more popular in Albany than other places.
On Solano Avenue they have 90 minute parking so you have to move your car every 85 minutes or so. They do not mean 91 minutes. Like a vulture they wait for the moment you have gone over 90 minutes to give you a $38 (as of September 2009) parking ticket. If you arrive at 91 minutes to move your car, "sorry"!
Some unusual views of the surrounding area can be seen by wandering around Albany Hill, west of San Pablo Avenue.