Hike to the Big C
If you’re a senior and you still haven’t been to the Big C, you are a sad Bear. Now is the time to remediate that. They tell you many things about how great the Big C is: You can take a wonderful hike, you can have sex outdoors, you can have a nice picnic. All of that, sad Bear, is false.
The hike is not wonderful but exhausting and steep. The sex is impossible, especially with handfuls of other Cal students around. And even if you go at an odd hour, it’d just be gross in nature that has been pissed on by too many dogs and just as many humans. You can try to have a nice picnic, but the bugs and dear old nature are sure to get in the way.
But you know what? You haul yourself up there anyway, despite the hike and the bugs and possibility of catching too much PDA. You do it for the view. Instead of describing it for you, I’m going to tell you that it’s well worth it and leave you to find out for yourself.
I add an extra challenge: Scream at the top of your lungs when you get up there. Do it Garden State style. You’ll feel great afterwards. Ignore anyone up there who stares at you and judges you for it. You’re graduating, fellow Bear. You deserve some solid catharsis.
— Lynn Yu
Perched on a quiet hillside in residential North Berkeley, Indian Rock Park offers a sweeping, unobstructed view of the San Francisco Bay and is a perfect location to structure a workout around. Depending on where you live, the park is most likely on a few miles’ round-trip bike ride or run. And if you’re coming from Southside, the trip can take you on a scenic journey through campus, Northside and the Gourmet Ghetto. The park is also a perfect place for a picnic, so you can easily grab some Cheese Board and bring it up to Indian Rock for an outing or a quick romantic getaway to watch the sunset.
The rock itself is great for climbing — according to the city of Berkeley’s website, Richard Leonard, “father of modern rock climbing,” and David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, “learned rock climbing and developed their mountaineering techniques at Indian Rock.” Brower then made World War II training manuals using the skills he learned there. But no matter your purpose for going, the park — located at 950 Indian Rock Ave. — is a must-visit for anyone who wants to see one of the best views of the Bay in its entirety.
— J.D. Morris
Get naked in public
When having an uneventful evening during which one is looking to have fun, there’s always an easily accessible activity that is immature, trashy and reminiscent of high school. Get naked — preferably in a public place, in front of other people you’re not intending to have sex with.
Everyone should experience being naked in a public space — not necessarily to make political statements about body image or sexuality or to feel liberated and sexually free, whatever that means. Everyone should try getting naked with other people in a usually populated location for no other reason than that it’s funny. It’s the small fact that you’re not supposed to be doing it that makes it a fun, cheap thrill. Stomach the fear that someone might see and be uncomfortable — those are the parts that make it a great, hilarious story later.
I’m not telling everyone to frolic stark naked on Memorial Glade during prime time on a sunny afternoon. Do it in a safe space with people you trust who won’t exploit your nudity by posting your goods online — yes, I’m ruling out the naked run, but there are still some clothing-optional cooperatives that uphold safe space rules, including my favorite vegetarian, nudist elves. Going to campus at night with an alcohol jacket to streak or have a dip in a fountain is always memorable.
Berkeley is an awesome place to be naked because most people around here won’t think anything of random nudity. We’re used to seeing weird, quirky things. Bored, ratchet naked college students are hardly the strangest sight we’ll see during our time here. So strip down, chase cheap thrills and walk away with beautiful memories — just be careful not to walk into the Hearst Mining Circle reflecting pool barefoot.
— Nadia Cho
Watch the races at Golden Gate Fields
Any UC Berkeley student who enjoys the perfect combination of fresh air, cheap beer and moderate gambling must go see a horse race at Golden Gate Fields on the edge of the San Francisco Bay.
The best day to go is Sunday, when the racetrack offers its special Dollar Day. As the name suggests, virtually everything is a dollar — admission, parking, hot dogs and, of course, beer. Although AC Transit lines 18 or 52 will get you pretty close, the easiest mode of transportation is driving. Go with a group of friends or a date, grab yourselves a beer and hot dog and watch a few races to get yourself acquainted with the way it works before you place your first bet (hint: Russel Baze wins EVERY time). There are nine races every day, and you can only place bets for a limited amount of time before each one. Betting can be a little confusing for a first-timer, so don’t be afraid to ask for some clarification.
Once the last race has been run or you’ve had your fill of Miller Light, there’s a nice beach nearby where you can sit and watch the sunset or go for a walk on the Albany Bulb to explore its strange art and curious structures — there’s a “public library” consisting of a shack with a small collection of books anyone is free to borrow or contribute to.
For families and college students alike, Golden Gate Fields is a fun, cheap place for everyone to go and enjoy a sunny afternoon by the Bay.
— Adelyn Baxter
Go sliding at Codornices Park
You may have heard of the park in North Berkeley where a long concrete slide offers the fleeting feeling of being a kid again as you shoot down on a piece of old cardboard.
That place is called Codornices Park and is, in fact, one of the quaintest and prettiest spots to spend a few sunny hours in the Berkeley Hills. Head straight up Euclid Avenue from Northside either on the AC Transit 65 line or by foot — although I suggest renting an electric scooter from Green Choice Moto on Bancroft Way and making an afternoon of it. You’ll eventually pass the Berkeley Rose Garden overlooking the Bay on your left side. Just across the street, you’ll find the park, where a playground and basketball court surround the famed slide. By day, you’ll typically find the slide covered in adorable kids enjoying their idyllic Berkeley childhoods. While you can always wait your turn with them, visiting the park by night usually gives you exclusive access, made all the more fun by darkness and the optional addition of alcohol.
Besides the slide, there are some nice picnic areas further back in the park and a hidden waterfall tucked away beyond the creek and up a certain staircase. Try to find it if you can!
— Adelyn Baxter
We have all heard the chime of the bells and the music of the Campanile’s carillon in between classes, but if you haven’t actually been to the top of the tower to hear that music at its origin and look out across the entire San Francisco Bay, then you haven’t really lived.
Visible from miles away — on the ground and from the sky — the Campanile, also known as Sather Tower, is probably UC Berkeley’s most recognized symbol. At 307 feet tall, it is the third-tallest bell tower in the entire world, rising about 30 feet above its counterpart at that school across the bay.
Going to the top of the tower is not a strenuous activity in the least — you just hop into an elevator and walk up a few stairs. And the view is, without a doubt, worth the 20 or so seconds of claustrophobia on the ride up.
You can go alone or go with friends or a date, the lady in the elevator will keep you company on the way up and tell you the history of the nearly 100-year-old tower. Tours of the Campanile are free for UC Berkeley students and the tower is open every day at 10 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. or 4:45 p.m., so there’s no excuse not to go. You can’t leave Berkeley without experiencing its most impressive landmark, so seniors, run over to the esplanade and get in that elevator.
— Stephanie Baer