The Bone Room: A Truly Unique Shopping Experience
The Bone Room is a truly unique store. It is one of the leading Natural History Stores in the country. They sell: Animal skulls and skeletons, a complete selection of genuine human bones; framed insects from around the world, and supplies for building your own collection; fossil specimens of all types, from dinosaurs to mammoths; eggs, claws, horns; jewelry; and more. If you have watched the TV Show Bones; this is where they get their bones for the show. They have now expanded and include an art gallery and exposition hall called the Bone Room Presents. The Mythbusters will be there in October 2009! They are open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM. The people working there are friendly and the owner Ron Cauble is an expert in the field (and my cousin).
Say hi to Ron from "cousin Jimmy".
What to buy: There are a number of things for sale at The Bone Room that would be difficult to find elsewhere.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Wicked: Smoke'n Cloths - Tats - Boards
This is about as modern Berkely-esq as you can get. Although the prices in this shop are steep, it has it all - just about...
When you first walk in, you have the cloths section. The Tattoo/Piercing section is back to your right, while the skate shop is back left, and the ol’ smoke shop is upstairs. If you want to see some of the best local artists who design smoke accessories, you will find it here.
What to buy: leather pants, bowling shirt, tongue ring, tattoo and a 6 ft water pipe.
What to pay: you can spend over $1000.00 for a water pipe if you want.
All over Berkeley: Backpaker's Paradise!
If you are a backpaker, rock climber, or camper - then you owe it to yourself to take trip to Berkeley. The sheer volume and diversity of outdoor stores is amazing. if you are looking for ANYTHING related to outdoor sports, you will find it in Berkeley.
The main "backpaking ghetto" is located off of the Gilman Street Exit on Hwy. 80. There are several well-known shops around here, centered around Gilman & San Pablo. Largest and most well known is the giant Recreational Equipment, Inc. store. REI now has 60 stores accross the country, but in 1975, this was REI #2 - REI's first journey into retail.Their prices are reasonable and there's a good chance you'll find what you're looking for here.
Across the street is Wilderness Exchange, which has a wide variety of slightly (or really) used equipment. REI has a used gear sale the first weekend of every month - mostly their returned stuff (By the way - if you're looking for used climbing equipment, keep in mind that most places won't sell it even if they have it. The liability is just too great, and, honestly, do you really want to put your life in the hands of used climbing gear?)
Also within a few blocks of here are The North Face Outlet, Royal Robbins' Outlet, Title 9 (specializing in women's sports), and a few ski rental places.
Berkeley is also home to Any Mountain, Marmot, Cal Diving, Sierra Designs, several bike shops, and Naraen's - a place that does cleaning and repair of camping equipment (they're not cheap, and you'll probably have to pay extra if you need your stuff in a hurry, which you almost assuredly will).
I could spend all day putting down the addresses and phone #s of these places, but REI actually has a map - that they'll give you just for the asking - which shows the location of all the camping related stores in the area!
- Budget Travel
Telegraph Ave: Best Place to Buy a Berkeley Souvenir
This is where you go if you want young, hip fashion, old hippie tie-dye shirts, smoke shops, and anti-establishment paraphernalia. It’s a good place for a tourist to satisfy their expectations of the Berkeley image!
Fourth Street: The Opposite of Telegraph Ave
This street is the total opposite of Telegraph, as it is far more geared toward an upscale clientele. It is still a great place to people watch, and if you want above-average priced furniture, decorative items, or kitchen tools it will suit well. There is also a great vivarium nearby if you are considering a pet turtle or boa-constrictor.
Potter's Studio: Pottery
Sells a great variety of locally-made pottery - bowls, cups, platters, vases .. Also sells slightly blemished items at a reduced cost. Local artists work in the back of the shop, making sculptures, etc. I almost bought a torso from an artist who works here, but finances prohibited at the time. :-( Beautiful work, though. His name was Christopher Dworin - someday ..
What to pay: $10 and up ..
- Arts and Culture
Berkeley is the place for you when shopping for Indian clothes...the prices are a little over board but then what the hell. You can shop and shop till you drop and rave at the excellent outfits ranging from shalwar suits to shararas to ghagra cholis to sarees. They have it all.
What to buy: Umm...well, take a look and decide for yourself.
Street Vendors and Berkeley-esq shops: Telegraph Ave
Almost everyday, Telegraph Avenue is lined with street vendors. You can buy your toe ring, incense, get your hair braiding (or Hannah tattoo) on one block, while friend across the street just picked up some blown glass, a carved wooden box and a bumper sticker that promotes some sort of antiestablishmentarism thought.
What to buy: what do you want?
Wicked: tuna sandwiches anyone??
I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare!
First of all, the staff was not helpful and a mean salesgirl even glared at me when I tried to ask her something! It seemed like she was still drunk from the night before!
Also, the store smells like dead fish for some reason - I don't know if it was lunch time for the staff, but I felt like throwing up on the sad-looking clothing racks.
The dressing rooms were tiny and looked like someone peed in one of them.
I'll never go back unless I hate myself that day.
What to pay: too much
North Berkeley Outdoor District: Outdoor gear extravaganza
The Gilman street area has a wide variety of shops that you can take advantage of to outfit your next trip. The main store is, of course, the REI, located at the corner of Gilman and San Pablo. But don't let that be the end of your journey. Should you want to scope out deals, head down Gilman to the North Face Outlet. Good deals on last season's clothing and gear. Speaking of clothing, there are also several stores dedicated to clothes only. Royal Robins is on Gilman between REI and TNF, where for exclusive women's apparel, check out Title Nine on 10th street, just behind the REI. And there is another general outdoors store just across the street from REI, called Wilderness Exchange. Excellent place to swap used gear, find good used gear, or treat yourself to something new.
There is almost nothing these stores can't supply for your next outdoor adventure, be it bicycling, kayaking, hiking, or just traveling. So go check it out, guard your credit card, and enjoy.
REI - 1338 San Pablo Ave. (510) 527-4140
The North Face Outlet - 1238 5th St. (510) 526-3530
Wilderness Exchange - 1407 San Pablo Ave. (510) 525-1255
Title Nine - 1374 10th St. (510) 526-1972
Royal Robbins - 841 Gilman St. (510) 527-1961
- Adventure Travel
Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI): Classic Outdoor Adventure
REI has been in business since 1938, and is regarded as one of the largest and best suppliers of outdoor clothing and gear in the country. Their shop in Berkeley is one of their largest in the nation, stocking everything from climbing ropes to kayak paddles and rolling luggage. If you need something for your adventure, you can probably find it at REI. The staff are helpful and very knowledgeable (most of them are outdoor enthusiasts of their own, there is a wall of pics of them out doing great fun stuff) and are willing to help you find the right tent, bike, or backpack that you need. There is a full bike shop for repairs and alterations, as well as a climbing center for harnesses and ropes.
This store is addictive; you can get lost here for hours drooling over all the nice gear. Outdoor equipment, especially new stuff, is not cheap, but you get the quality you pay for, so it is well worth it. Drop in and see where you'll be swept off to.
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
Cartesian Bookstore: Cute Small Used Bookstore
This place is small and cheap. His collection of books is not the most vast, but he has a good mix of books. You can tell that some books have been in the store for quite some time, they are dusty to say the least, but I think that adds a lot of character to this small used bookstore. The owner is an old man who is just trying to make a living. The bookstore is worth a visit because you never know what rare gem you are going to find. There are a few used bookstores in and around the area (one just a little ways up the street in fact) but this place is cheaper, as a rule. I would definitely check here first. You never know what you will find for a really good price.
What to buy: Used books for cheap.
What to pay: Depending on the book, but most with the 70% discount were cheaper than $3.
Premiere Cru: French Wines
If you like French wines and find the best price, you will probably find it here. The store, itself, is quite impressive. However, they do not do wine tastings. The ABC only issues two types of licenses to an established business and since they have an import license and a license to sell wines, they are unable to have a license to open wines in their store. We thought we would pick up our order but the shipment has not arrived. Not a lost cause since we are traveling to Napa the next day.
What to buy: Wine
- Wine Tasting
Thousand Cranes: Japanese Goods
I so enjoy finding stores that are not so accessible back at home. This was a Japanese retail store that sold kimonos, nekko kitties, dishes, wallets, eye glass holders, origami paper and so much more!
- Women's Travel
Nest: Home Decor and Other Interesting Items
Very cool store with a variety of items for sale. Soap, fountain pens, paper goods - for making fancy cards or invitations, jewelry, etc. Lots to look at and something you would not find commonly in other cities.
- Women's Travel
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