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It's Parents' Weekend! Here are 15 things to do

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OCTOBER 10, 2014

If there’s one thing that gets us to attack the pile of laundry overtaking our desk chairs, it’s having our parents come to visit. Once you’ve got your apartment or dorm all tidied up for Parents and Reunion Weekend at Homecoming this weekend, you’ll have to figure out how to entertain them for the next three days. Check out the options below for activities to do with your parents, besides having them take you out to expensive restaurants for every meal.

Get outdoors:

1. Fire trails

Take a hike on the infamous fire trails. We recommend starting at the stairs at the corner of Derby Street and Tanglewood Road and following the trail for a 6-mile loop. The hike in total takes about two hours to complete and is a nice way to connect with your parents and to show off the beautiful scenery that Berkeley has to offer.

2. Tilden Regional Park


Stop by Trader Joe’s and pick up some scrumptious snacks, then drive up to Tilden Regional Park for a beautiful picnic overlooking the bay. Tilden Regional Park is home to Lake Anza and it has awesome hiking trails and fishing year-round, just in case your parents brought their poles.

3. Lake Merritt


Located in the heart of Oakland, Lake Merritt is roughly a 15-minute drive from campus. Take a walk or jog around the lake and observe the bountiful wildlife in the middle of the lively city. Lake Merritt is just east of downtown Oakland and is about 3 miles around.

4. Give them a campus tour

Michael Drummond/File
Michael Drummond/File

Impress your parents by showing them how easily you navigate the hills of the UC Berkeley campus. You can ride up to the top of the Campanile, tour the inside of Doe Library and take a family picture in front of Sather Gate. While you’re at it, share some of UC Berkeley’s rich history by taking them inside Bancroft Library to see the Free Speech Movement’s 50th anniversary exhibit.

Eat good food:

1. Elmwood Cafe


Elmwood Cafe is a staple of the Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley. On the corner of College Avenue and Russell Street, Elmwood Cafe opened its doors in 1921, and it is a historic part of the Berkeley experience. The menu is 100 percent organic, includes plenty of pastries, and currently has a tempting seasonal pumpkin waffle breakfast entree. If your parents are early risers, we recommend taking them here for a cup of joe and breakfast. The line is typically out the door, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

2. Philz Coffee

Mint mojito, anyone? Take a drive or nice walk to Shattuck Avenue and stop by Philz Coffee, located at Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street. The mint mojito is a staple at the coffee shop, and your parents can pick up a roast to take home with them! Just be warned, Philz can be addicting — your parents might ask you to continue supplying them with coffee grounds.

3. Off the Grid 


Off the Grid happens at the North Berkeley BART station at Delaware and Sacramento streets Sundays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Stop by for dinner, and experience live music and local food trucks. This week’s vendors include Cupkates, KoJa Kitchen, the Taco Guys, Bacon Bacon, Doc’s of the Bay, El Porteno and Liba Falafel.

Shop ’til you drop: 

1. College Avenue 


College Avenue extends through the Elmwood and Rockridge neighborhoods of Berkeley and Oakland. Take a stroll down the 1.5-mile avenue, and stop in the local boutique shops for a fun afternoon of shopping. If you get hungry, don’t fret. There are plenty of delicious restaurants along the way, including La Mediterranee, Toast, Manpuku and Summer Kitchen, just to name a few. Make sure you stop by Ici for ice cream on your way back to campus for a treat!

2. Fourth Street


Fourth Street is a shopping district in Berkeley, located near the Berkeley Marina, just 3 miles from campus. The strip has a variety of high-end stores including Apple, Anthropologie, the Stained Glass Garden art studio and BeneFit Cosmetics. Make it a day trip to shop and eat good food. Dine at a famous restaurant such as Zut!, Bette’s Oceanview Diner or Spenger’s Seafood Grotto. After a day of shopping, drive across the overpass to the Berkeley Marina and watch the sunset near the water.

3. Berkeley Farmers’ Market


Open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Downtown Berkeley, the Berkeley Farmers’ Market is the perfect spot to take your parents before the football game. Enjoy a variety of fresh produce, in-season flowers and even oysters! The weekly market attracts students, local families and tourists alike.

4. Visit Rockridge 


The Rockridge Out & About festival is Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. If you haven’t explored the far edge of College Avenue yet, this is your chance to listen to live music, watch cooking demonstrations and shop at more than 100 local business’ booths with your parents — and their wallets.


1. Homecoming rally



If your parents will be here Friday night, take them to the homecoming rally in Wheeler Auditorium at 8 p.m. Cal Band, the dance team, the cheer team and more will be performing, so it’s a great way to show them just how spirited we all are.

2. Cal Performances


If you’re looking for a more refined performance, check out what Cal Performances is offering this weekend! Options include a talk from Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston and a performance by the Takacs Quartet.

3. Cal vs. Washington homecoming game

Michael Tao/File

Even if your parents didn’t buy tickets to the game, you can head to Henry’s or Pappy’s to watch the game on multiple huge screens. This way you can actually sit with your parents to watch the game with your parents, and if you’re 21 or older, have them buy you drinks!

4. Attend a different sporting event

Kore Chan/File

If your family isn’t a fan of football, there are two men’s soccer games and a women’s softball game to cheer at instead. Students get into these games for free, and tickets for your parents are much less expensive than football tickets.

We hope this guide to Berkeley activities helps you and your parents experience the vibrant culture that Berkeley has to offer!

Images: Jono HeyFlannery626Maria LyBrad GreenleeSusie Wyshak~dgiesPaul Millersina.pourcaleb haleyMiskatonict-betwww.bluewaikiki.comDaniel Parks under Creative Commons, 

Contact Rebecca Stifter at [email protected]. Contact Elise Laguna-Aliotte at [email protected].

OCTOBER 11, 2014