Outdoor Summer Adventures

Fresh produce is always on display at the Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market.
Jeffrey Joh/Staff
Fresh produce is always on display at the Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market.

Take a Hike

One of the best ways to take advantage of the summer weather is to hike around Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park. Should you arrive early, you can join the sun as it rises to greet the city of Berkeley at Inspiration Point. Besides being a hiker’s dream, the park features Lake Anza, a botanical garden, a steam train and a merry-go-round. If public transportation is your only option to get to Tilden, take the 51B to the Downtown Berkeley Bart Station on Shattuck Avenue. You should then transfer to the 67, which will take you to the entrance of the park on Canon Drive.   On days when you want to cool off, you should head up to Strawberry Canyon Pool tucked behind Memorial Stadium on Centennial Drive. Three of the six lanes are dedicated to lap swimming, and the rest are for play. You can get a day pass for $5, but a Recreational Sports Facility membership will get you in for free.

— Jonathan Tam

Take a Hike Take 2: Online Exclusive

Ours is one of those campuses where the walk from the Valley Life Sciences Building to Stanley Hall can feel more like a mountainous trek than a stroll from one class to another. Such is the nature of being tucked into the hills of Berkeley. We get beautiful views of the Bay, but they come at a price — sore thighs and a healthy amount of sweat.

For the sportier folks among us, this place is paradise. The nearby marina makes for a peaceful running path and, closer to campus, the hillside trails offer everything a college-aged hiker could want. The fire trails wind upward and through enough redwoods to make you forget that Yosemite is hours away. And the lookout spots along the way make the huffing and puffing entirely worthwhile.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be walking on dirt paths to get a solid workout around here: exploring Northside’s hilly neighborhoods is an easy way to admire the architectural variety Berkeley has to offer, so long as you’re wearing some comfy kicks. If you’ve left your running shoes at home, though, and are looking for a relaxing excursion, saunter down College Avenue. The many coffee houses, quaint boutiques and gourmet eateries are broken up by residential patches, showcasing the more upscale side to Berkeley that the oh so famous Telegraph Avenue doesn’t embrace quite as readily.

What’s best about this broad range of paths to explore, is that it allows anyone to have their own adventure in Berkeley. Whether you already think of the city as home or are just getting ready to move, pick a direction and start walking — you won’t be disappointed.

— Jillian Wertheim

Weekend Getaways

Strenuous hikes, beautiful bike rides, a dip in the Pacific, backpacking, even rope swinging into a lake are all adventures to be found not too far from Berkeley. The variety might lead one to expect these are strewn across Northern California; the surprise is that they are all one hour northwest of Berkeley in the Marin Headlands. Point Reyes National Seashore offers hikes including quick one-milers and 13-mile loops. The scenery is spectacular — in a one-mile stretch, hikes can lead from expansive views of the ocean into the foothills of Mt. Tamalpais. If hiking is too rough on the knees, Marin’s hills provide great scenic bike rides. Cyclists have the option of cruising along mellow coastal routes in the Stinson Beach area or testing their anaerobic levels on grueling hill climbs. If a day is not enough, one can extend his or her stay by backpacking for a night or two. Overnight campsites dot the trails, allowing hikers to breathe in ocean breezes at Coast Camp or venture deeper inland to Sky Camp. It’s no wonder John Muir spent a fair amount of time exploring this area — its natural beauty and serenity beckon those that come once to return.

Christopher McDermut

Farmers’ Markets

Finding relaxing and relatively inexpensive places to eat at during the summer is usually difficult, especially with hot and sticky crowds overtaking popular joints all over Berkeley.

However, the Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way is the perfect place to experience the Berkeley lifestyle, complete with fresh and organic produce.

As you walk up and down the market with white tents on either side, with a troubadour’s rendition of “So Happy Together” gently wafting toward you, it is impossible not to feel relaxed and in full summer mode.  Wild peaches and plums are available for tasting, squash and zucchini lie waiting to be purchased and with the scent of magnolias lingering in the air there is nothing left but to conquer everything in your path. Before getting some Thai iced tea and chicken curry for lunch at the cultural cuisine booths, head on over to the massage area and indulge for 15 minutes. Finish off your day by eating a meal and people-watching with a companion on the grass at the park behind the market.

Anjuli Sastry