The top 10 scents in Berkeley

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MAY 23, 2013

Berkeley is a town known for many awesome things, but its smells are not usually considered one of them. Walking down Telegraph Avenue or lifting weights in the RSF do not always provide holidays for our nostrils, and the occasional not-so-delightful aromas of an overflowing trashcan on your way to class sometimes hit you so hard that you feel a little nauseated and end up holding your breath the rest of the walk. There are a few hidden destinations around campus, however, where you can get a truly heavenly whiff. The Daily Clog set out to find and explore these locations for you. Here’s a list of the top 10 locations that’ll have your nostrils jumping for joy:

1. Berkeley Rose Garden. If you haven’t discovered this gem of a study spot, get on it! This beautiful garden includes hundreds of different types of roses, all of which smell fantastic. Be sure to go between June and late August for prime bloom time.

2. Kingpin Donuts. The Asian Ghetto would simply not be complete without the overpoweringly sweet smell of fresh-baked donuts. Not many things can please the nostrils just so at 2 a.m. — you may not have been aware that you were craving donuts, but trust us: you were.

3. Memorial Glade on 4/20. This one is a bit subjective, but for many Cal students the herbal aroma of the Glade on this national holiday is delightful. Whether passing by or hanging out on the grass, this smell is one that has to be experienced — if for nothing else, for the story.

4. Zachary’s Pizza. The famous deep-dish pizzeria down College Avenue not only provides its customers with delicious pizza but an incomparably delicious aroma. Innocent passersby will instantly become victim its rich scent, and if you’re thinking about picking up a pizza to-go, be warned that it will quickly fill your car with the smell of cheesy goodness.

5. Strawberry Creek. Smell the strawberries? Just kidding. However, it does prove to be a good time to convince your non-Berkeley friends that they can smell them.

6. Subway on Bancroft Way. Whether you’re a fan of the sandwiches or not, you can’t deny that walking by Subway makes your mouth water. You could probably catch a whiff of that homemade bread for miles. And if you’re walking west, be prepared for your next whiff to be …

7. Big Al’s Smokeshop. The burning incense in the doorway floats out onto Bancroft in a lovely manner that seems to draw you inside. Be prepared for your next breath, though, as you will nine times out of 10 be able to detect strong hints of urine. Ew.

8. GBC. The smell of fried chicken strips makes even the vegetarians among us a little hungry. Despite the fact that everything is extremely overpriced, the junk food of GBC is a small guilty pleasure for most non-freshmen.

9. FSM Cafe. The smell of strong coffee mixed with veggie quesadillas and chocolate banana bread makes for a strangely satisfying combination. If only there were actually a table we could sit down at to enjoy it.

10. Main Stacks. While many people will shudder at the thought of anything pleasurable coming out of the prison that is Main Stacks, we at the Daily Clog find a very nostalgic quality in the library air. Visiting campus years from now, we’re sure we will remember perfectly the mix of slight desperation and peaceful dreams that embodies all that is dead week here at UC Berkeley.

Did we miss anything? Let us know what scents scream “Berkeley” to you in the comments below.

Image source: Xtina L. under Creative Commons

Contact Sarah Branoff at 


MAY 23, 2013

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