Why Berkeley being close to San Francisco is both a blessing and a curse

The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Battery Spencer
Zainab Ali/File
The Golden Gate Bridge as seen from Battery Spencer

To many, Berkeley is the promised land. It has food, shelter and a university campus. Perfect.

But there’s one thing that elevates its status ever so slightly among other basic college towns: It’s near the great, bustling city of San Francisco, California. Whether or not this is a good thing, we’ve explored both sides of the issue!

Blessing #1: Berkeley is close to San Francisco

This one is a no-brainer. SF is a compact town with something to do on every corner. It has more food options, jobs, shops and attractions. It’s like here, but on steroids (as is every big city compared to smaller, local ones). If you’re ever bored in Berkeley, just head over to SF to instantly turn the volume up to 11. It is right across the bay, after all.

Blessing #2: San Fran is close to the bay, and Berk is close to San Fran; therefore, Berk is close to the bay

Aka, it’s close to the waterfront. Think about it that way. You get prime access to the San Francisco Bay and its cooling weather technology. If you remember what you learned in bio/chem, you’ll know that the amazing properties of a large body of water keep temperatures pleasantly in the 50- to 70-degree range all year round. Science.

Blessing #3: SF makes for a great view

If you go up to the Berkeley Hills (or even to the sororities/frats), you can get a great view of the iconic bridges and skyline on one of those rare fogless days. Enjoy it in the short time that you can.

Curse #1: Fog

San Francisco is notorious for its excessive fog. Unfortunately, Berkeley is right in the Bermuda Triangle of the Bay Area. Every night, we watch the fog roll in from the west and rain down on us. Sometimes we’re greeted with the pleasant surprise of the fog sticking around well past the next morning (and its welcome).

Curse #2: It’s cold

Berkeley? More like Brrrrrkeley. Well, not really, but we just had to use that pun. Winters here are ideal, but summers rarely go above the mid-70s. Berkeley sometimes even experiences temperatures in the low 60s smack in the middle of summer. A warm afternoon can easily give way to a low-50-degree night. Hey, we’re just used to lukewarm weather; don’t judge us, rest of America.

Curse #3: No matter where you go, something will smell like pee

Whether it’s the BART station or the sidewalk outside of a restaurant, the familiar stench of urine is slightly present in both cities. Is it from dogs? Cats? People? Probably a combination of all 3, with an occasional messy baby thrown in there somewhere.

Berkeley and its proximity to SF has its ups and downs, but we love it anyways, don’t we?

Contact Pooja Bale at [email protected].