The plan is for Berkeley Meadow to restore some of the bayshore plants and habitat with a short easy hiking path through the meadow and interpretive signs along the way to educate you about what you are seeing. They already have the path laid out and a few signs installed. This meadow used to be a landfill so you are walking on reclaimed land over tons of garbage. The meadow should be really interesting and pretty when completed. The photos show how they are trying to make the park better. Note on Photo 5 how this park is located on the edge of urban Berkeley. Check it out.
The Eastshore State Park is very much a work in progress. There are plans for at least 5 parts of the park starting with the Point Isabel Area (near Richmond/El Cerrito) in the north and reaching down to the Emoryville Crescent (near Oakland). I explored the area where they will build "The Brickyard Area" and "Berkeley Meadow". I do not know how the current financial crisis in the state will affect these plans. Hopefully not more than a postponement. As of September 2009 "The Brickyard Area", which is located by the Berkeley Marina, has little more than a walking path, a few benches and some nice views of the bay. It is still worth checking out when you are in the area.
There are a couple of interesting streets in Berkeley that are popular with the university students. One is Telegraph (which I did not see) and another is Solano Avenue. Solano Avenue has a number of nice ethnic restaurants and trendy shops and botiques. One of the shops on Solano is "The Bone Room" owned by my cousin. Part of Solano Avenue is shared by another town Albany.
The last weekend in July, the Berkeley Marina holds the annual Berkeley Kite Festival. This is an awesome collection of kite-lovers from wverywhere. They fly everything from huge anchored kites to small individual kites. There are vendors, lessons, demos, everything kite-related. It is a lot of fun, a great place to take kids for a fun day in the sun. And bring a camera, for the pictures you can find there are quite good.
Visitors can go 200 feet up U.C. Berkeley's Campanile to get a good view of the campus and city.
The tower is open on weekdays from 10 AM - 4 PM, on Saturdays from 10 AM - 5 PM, & on Sundays from 10 AM - 1:30 PM & 3 PM - 5 PM. The elevator ride to the top is free for UC Berkeley students, faculty, & staff (with their IDs of course). It's a dollar for senior citizens and $3.00 for everyone else.
The performance of the 61 bells of the clock tower takes place every day at 7:50 AM, 12 noon, & 6 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. During finals this schedule changes so check here:
Housed within the tower are paleontology fossils (I imagine dinosaurs, mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and the like) but, those are not viewable by the general public.
In the industrial area, located at 914 Heinz Avenue in Berkeley, California, we found the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory. The informative tour begins with an interactive lecture by a very knowledgeable spokesperson who utilizes maps, photos, and props to demonstrate where the cacao bean is grown, how it is harvested, selected, and turned into chocolate. Included are tastings of the various types of candy which Scharffen Berger turns out -- all very dark and very rich. After the introduction, we were led onto the factory floor and were able to observe the various machines used in the production of the chocolates. Then we headed for the packing room and observed the finished products (and more tastings!). The factory also houses a retail sales store and a restaurant. We ate a tasty lunch including a "bowl" of mocha coffee.
The tour is free; however, reservations are suggested. They have a website www.scharffenbergertour.com with more information.
The city of Berkeley has about 100,000 residents packed into the small 17.7 square mile area, making it one of the highest population densities in California. The town was actually incorporated in 1878, 10 years after the university was established.
Shattuck and University Avenues form the main business area of the city where you will find the majority of the shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Berkeley is served by the BART which stops along Shattuck Ave.
Going to the Greek takes you in the footsteps of a billion Norcal hippies and activists of the ages including Deadheads, Jesse Jackson, and the Pomp and Circumstance of the Cal generations. Even if you go to shake them dreads and party, climbing the hill through the University curiously indoctrinates your cause as you walk past this beautiful, premeir institution that churns out brains and culture for the East Bay. I just saw Kinky (Mexico) and Manu Chao (Barcelona) at a 4-hr show filled with energy, crowd-surfing, stage-crashing, encores, and love. The place was packed until Manu's managers apparently begged them not to continue into their 2nd hour of encores.
This is a beautiful venue, just the right size. Ground level is seats or standing depending, then cement benches a la Greek tradition shared with feet behind you, a grass lawn above for hillside picnics, and a small rack of bleachers beyond that for the diehard. Large trees surround; if you want a view of the tower, sit stage left. Modern concert technology fills most of the columned stage with scaffolding, but it fills the large stage which could otherwise make headliners look small and provides a quality sound. If you are on the cement rows and don't plan on shakin' it all night, bring something to soothe your rear. Dress in layers since Berkeley can be variably foggy, drizzly, or nice. Policies are lax regarding things you might expect in Berkeley, rendering the stage's smoke machines redundant. Cameras are relegated to cell phones, and dinner is a welcome carry-in. We brought in Naglenes easily, but glass and drink tops didn't make it in. Food and drinks were sold, get alcohol ID bracelets when you come in. Free samples of trendy things like Cliff Bars and stickers filled the entrance, and every trash bin had recycling next to it.
Take Bart or park somewhere downhill and walk, but judging by the traffic that we beat on foot after the show, there must be somewhere to park. Visit http://www.511.org to plan your mass transit trip.
I personally love to see the street sellers on this avenue. I can not dissociate Berkeley and its unique Telegraph Avenue. It's a pleasure to walk by and look for the hand-crafted Art created on the spot. Lovely.
Bring some cash and hit Telegraph Avenue. Grab hand-blown glass pipes, custom leather belts, any and every CD or record you've ever wanted, used clothing, new clothing, Body Time goodies, tie dye, pizza, gigantic salads - these are unlike any salad you've ever eaten - from Cafe Intermezzo, Korean BBQ, Cheese fries, every book you've ever wanted, every piercing you've ever dreamt of, handmade jewelry, knitted tam hats from the Rasta lady in the hard hat with the Brad Pitt fetish...totally one-of-a-kind place and definitely a good slice of multi-cultural overstimulation. Berkeley is also known as the most disability-friendly city in the U.S.
Telegraph Ave. is more "Haight Street" than the actual Haight St!
Telegraph Ave. is the epicenter of hippie Berkeley. Especially on the weekends, dozens of stalls line both sides of the street with hippie artisans selling all manner of jewelry, clothing, artwork, henna tattoos, and inflamatory bumper stickers. Beggars and bums are just as plentiful as the vendors, but they're part of the show.
Don't just look at the street vendors; there are wonderful shops along Telegraph, too. Many cool stores selling all kinds of weird stuff from all over the globe abound, so you're bound to see something new and interesting.
One word of warning: Always ask about a store's return policy before buying! This is good advice anywhere, but its especially true here in Berkeley!!!
Telegraph Ave in Berkeley has a special place in the history of the city and the hippie movement in 1960's along with its connection to the people's park. At the end of the street is the University of California, Berkeley's campus hence the street is a commute for many students as they make their way to class or to one of many coffee shops in Berkeley to get some reading done. The Closer you get to the university on Telegraph ave, the more you see street vendors on each side of the street selling merchandise. Items sold range from Artist's own art such as drawings, photographs, T-shirts with 70's designs, etc.. There are many vendors selling silver jewelry along with local arts, bumper stickers and even a little stall where they sell books on how to grow your own marijuana..
It is a very interesting street to walk and observe and maybe even purchase a local art to remind you of the craziness about Telegraph Ave and its locals.. There are famous second hand book vendors such as Moe's Books or Cody's Books on Telegraph Ave.. There are also many inexpensive food vendors on both sides of the street obviously geared towards students but never the less, some have good food.. I will include a few of my favorites in the restaurants section..
A definite must for the tourist for the first time visiting Berkeley.
My friend who grew up in Berkeley says he always craves an It’s It when he’s away from Berkeley too long. It’s similar to an ice cream sandwich, except the cookie part is a crunchy wafer and the whole thing is covered in chocolate. You can get them at most convenience stores, and they come in vanilla, chocolate, and coffee flavors.
sidewalk shopping at its best . . . incense in the air a cool breeze . . .a little tie-dye . . . have a taco plate at Marios . . . .. great afternoon . . .all the coeds and the "out of towners" fine sightseeing , great handmade arts and stuff. . . .
Here is a closer look at the Cirlce of Freedom on University of California, Berkeley campus. The circle is said to be protected and free and nothing is unlawful and everything is permitted on the 3 feet diameter of the ground.
This picture was taken by me when I was a student at UC Berkeley in 1990's. The circle is worth a visit when you're in Berkeley and would like to be a part of history of the Free Speech Movement and the Political days of Berkeley in California.
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