10 best vantage points for people-watching

1. Bench by the entrance to East Asian Library

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There is a bench at the entrance of the East Asian Library that overlooks Memorial Glade. It’s not a particularly comfortable bench, but it’s a nice place to relax, eat a sandwich, and … well … enjoy the view. You can chuckle at the antics of UC Berkeley’s Quidditch team as they run around with tiny brooms gripped between their legs, ogle the shirtless men playing Frisbee (creepy? Definitely.) or coo over all the cute dogs running around on the field.

2. Second floor of Morrison Library

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Morrison Library boasts some of the comfiest armchairs and couches on campus, which translates to record numbers of students sneaking naps on the plush furniture. On the second floor, there are a few sundry desks and tables from which you can spy on the students below. It’s entertaining to see students one by one succumb to drowsiness, only to be shaken awake by the unlucky member of staff whose job it is to make sure students don’t fall asleep.

 3. Bridge connecting Sutardja Dai and Cory Halls

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 The air can get pretty cold up here on a windy day, but usually, it’s fairly deserted and a good place to take a lunch break. Grab a latte from Qualcolmm Cafe and enjoy sipping it over the sight of bleary-eyed engineering majors emerging from Bechtel or red-faced students who hiked up from Dwinelle.

4. MLK balcony overlooking Sproul Plaza

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Upper Sproul Plaza is a favorite haunt for some of the most colorful characters in Berkeley. It’s also a hubbub for student groups and organizations. This balcony provides a nice view of all the action going on at Sproul. It’s also a great spot for avoiding large crowds when there is a special performance on the Sproul Hall steps.

5. Stanley Hall

Stanley Hall is a beautiful building with lots of wide windows. There are a couple of places in Stanley that are perfect for people-watching. Because Stanley is at the top of a hill, it overlooks a lot of campus, but it’s not so high up that you won’t recognize people shuffling to class. The south staircase is a good spot for indulging your voyeuristic side. There are also a few balconies overlooking the ground floor of Stanley that are perfect for watching students as they mill in and out of class.

6. Bench on 4.0 Hill

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Located under the shade of the trees at the top of 4.0 Hill, this bench is a breezy, quiet place to meditate and eat — not many students pass by on their way to class. Dog owners love to bring their dogs to this spot, however, and it’s always a delight to see a happy golden lab running around in the grass with his tongue lolling out.

7. Second floor of the RSF

Yes, ogling students as you work the elliptical is creepy. Yes, it is.

8. Literally any study lounge in Maximino Martinez Commons

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There are windows everywhere in Max Martinez. Everywhere. And though they do give the residence hall a spacious, open feeling, they also have the unfortunate (or perhaps fortunate?) side effect of making privacy an impossibility. If you are inside the building, rest assured that someone can see you. And to those walking past it: Someone is watching you.

9. Second floor of the SLC

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On a particularly crowded day, the SLC is not very conducive to studying, unless you’re meeting with a group. If you find yourself too distracted by all the commotion in the background, you can always creep on people from the second floor. You might feel guilty spying on these diligent, productive students, but that guilt will be mixed in with a fair amount of schadenfreude, especially during finals week. You can practically smell the anxiety wafting up from the chaotic sprawl of paranoid, sleep-deprived students down below.

10. Main Stacks’ spiral staircase

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There’s a nifty spiral staircase connecting Doe Library to Main Stacks. On each floor, there is a lounge with couches where you can prop your feet up on the coffee table in front of you and peer at people from behind a book. Or you can go to the very top of the staircase and look straight down — just beware of vertigo!

Contact Lilia Vega at [email protected].