5 free or cheap day trips to take in Berkeley

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Last week, we gave you five fantastic trip ideas that you could take around the Bay Area. But you might have to devote an entire weekend to some of those trips, and they also can be a little pricey. We still recommend that you save some money to cross those off your college bucket list, but this week, we’ll give you some affordable alternatives.

Don’t be one of those people who sit in their room all weekend because they think they can’t afford to have fun! Give yourself a break from studying or work, and explore Berkeley — especially during the summer when you don’t have to force your way through crowded sidewalks. There are so many places to go that don’t require have admission fees. And even if they do, many offer free admission for Cal students.

Grab your bus pass and a to-go box from Crossroads, if you must. We’re about to show you some free or cheap entertainment options that Cal students on a budget can take advantage of:

1. UC Botanical Garden. You know you’ve heard about this park up in the hills, so why haven’t you gone? We agree that there are plenty of park-like spaces on campus, but do you always want hang out at school on a summer weekend? You can hop on a shuttle — free with your campus ID — that stops at the Hearst Mining Circle and takes you right up to the garden. And the Botanical Garden has a Summer Concert Series that runs June 6 to Aug. 29, so check that out if you’re willing to pay for a ticket.

2. Berkeley Art Museum. There’s no excuse to not go here if you’re a Cal student. BAM is located right across from campus near Bancroft Way and College Avenue. Admission is completely free for Cal students, so if you have any interest in art, you need to go here! Now that you’re a young adult, maybe you’ll appreciate an art museum more than you did when you were a kid. Sure, maybe you still have a childish mentality, but you’ve probably acquired a more eclectic taste since you first started finger painting.

3. John’s $1 Ice Cream. What’s more “summer” than ice cream and more “college student” than $1? We’ll admit, going to John’s on Shattuck Avenue isn’t the farthest you’ll ever travel, but maybe it’s just enough to curb that insanity you feel when you’re in your room all day. Plus, you could have a taste bud adventure if you mix the birthday cake and avocado flavors.

4. Lawrence Hall of Science. You’ve seen the view of the Bay from the Campanile and from the Big C. Why not go all out and get the best possible view in Berkeley? Inside the actual hall, the hands-on exhibits are a way to connect with your inner child-scientist. The best part is that Lawrence Hall advertises free admission for Cal students!

5. Games of Berkeley. Were you that nerdy child who spent hours completing complicated puzzles and solving a Rubik’s Cube behind your back? Well … while we do believe every Cal Bear was a nerd at some point, if we’re completely honest, most of us never had the patience to actually complete those puzzles. Nevertheless, poking around the Games of Berkeley store is a fun trip to indulge that game fanatic part of you that you might be neglecting. This trip will cost you as much or as little as you like, depending on what you buy.

How could we ever narrow down the list of things to do in Berkeley to just five? If we’ve learned anything while compiling this list, it’s that there really is so much to do in Berkeley — and so much of it is inexpensive for students. Get out of your room, check out these places and let us know what other awesome trips students can take in Berkeley!

Image source: Andrionni Ribo, under Creative Commons

Contact Jessica Rogness at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jessarogness.