8 of the best outdoor study spots on campus

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Andrew Kuo/File

With all of the wonderful weather we’ve been having, sometimes all studying in libraries does is make you a little stir-crazy for the fresh air and blue sky just outside your window. The clear skies and warm days aren’t likely to last much longer, so take advantage of the sunshine and ditch your VLSB cubicle for a nice patch of grass. Not sure where to go? You’re in luck! We at the Clog scoured UC Berkeley’s campus and found eight of our favorite study spaces — ones that are hopefully more conducive to actual work than all of the cramming — read: napping — we know you get done on Memorial Glade.

1. Pat Brown’s

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Aside from having arguably the best on-campus food meal points can buy, Pat Brown’s makes for a great study spot. Plenty of outdoor tables as well as ample bench space near the cafe allow for tons of seating. If you like studying with some background noise, go before the restaurant closes for a bustling study environment. And, of course, if you need a caffeine boost, all you have to do is pop inside for a Peet’s iced coffee.

2. Kroeber Plaza

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If sitting in the shadow of the UC Berkeley School of Law doesn’t encourage you to step up your academic game, what will? Kroeber has it all – a fountain to sit by, plenty of benches, shaded grassy areas, tables with umbrellas outside of Boalt Hall and a controlled level of hustle and bustle to fuel your study session. If you get hungry, a panini or rice bowl from Ramona’s is only minutes away. Plus, there are the food trucks — did we mention the food trucks?

3. Eucalyptus Grove

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Eucalyptus Grove is perhaps one of the most unusual spots on campus, and its secluded nature makes for a unique and inspiring workspace. Because students rarely pass through the grove, it’s a great, quiet space to sit with your thoughts and crank out that problem set. Go ahead and inhale that eucalyptus scent, pull up a patch of tree stump, listen to the calmly flowing trickle of water in Strawberry Creek and get to work!

4. Observatory Hill

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If you venture up the hill behind the East Asian Library, you’ll find a beautiful spot with pathways winding between the trees and brush. Welcome to Observatory Hill! The paths in this area are littered with often-empty benches as well as sporadic shady spots if you need a break from the sun. And, if you need to print that paper you were just finishing up, guess what you’re right behind? A library. Problem solved.

5. The Campanile Esplanade

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While a lot of people walk through the main plaza by the Campanile, it still has a lot of value as a campus study spot. The four benches in front of the tower’s entrance are almost always open, giving you an easy choice for a study spot. Trees also surround the plaza, which means you’ll never have to worry about a study sunburn. And if the benches aren’t your jam, go ahead and sit on the west-facing steps and enjoy periodically glancing up at that beautiful, unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Or, maybe sitting on the bench on the tower’s south side and staring up at the bust of Abe Lincoln will get you super pumped for your history midterm. Who are we to judge?

6. North Side of VLSB

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The north side of the Valley Life Sciences Building has plenty of shade and seating space for all your studying needs. Want to sit on a bench? It’s there. Prefer a sunny, grassy space? Got it. Maybe you’d rather curl up with your English reading underneath a willow tree? Just cross the pathway. You’re near the printing services at Moffitt Library if you need them, and there’s something calming and inspiring about sitting in the shadow of some of UC Berkeley’s really, really gorgeous architecture.

7. Chancellor’s Esplanade

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This grassy area on the northern edge of campus looks up at the gorgeous University House. Far from most of the craziness of campus, the Chancellor’s Esplanade is incredibly quiet. Shade is limited, but the few trees near the east side of Giannini Hall are really all you need. Deserted areas such as this on campus are hard to come by, so definitely make use of this one! And, if you need inspiration to excel in your classes, just look up at the University House and imagine that one day you could be the chancellor of a top-ranked university living in a beautiful freaking mansion.

8. Faculty Glade

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Here at the Clog, this beautiful, secluded-feeling glade on southeast campus is perhaps our favorite spot. Faculty Glade always has plenty of available shade and benches, if you prefer them, and Ramona’s just a short walk away. Roll down 4.0 Hill if you feel like you need a bit more luck, and feel free to find a nice spot by the creek bed if the babbling of Strawberry Creek calms you down. There’s something incredibly peaceful about Faculty Glade – we don’t know if it’s the abundant greenery or the beauty of the Campanile standing over it, but we’re super into it.

We hope this list was helpful to you and gave you some ideas for new places to study while still enjoying the recent stretch of phenomenal weather. Did we miss your favorite outdoor study spot? Are you so furious that we left Memorial Glade off this list that you can’t possible contain your anger and need to scream curses at our families? Just let us know in the comment section below. Enjoy the fresh air, and happy studying!

Image Sources: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3,  Image 4Image 5, Image 6, Image 7, Image 8

Contact Kelsi Krandel at [email protected].