Great places to go gift shopping for your friends

Jessica Rogness/File

It’s crunch time. Your best friend’s, roommate’s or significant other’s birthday is coming up quickly, gaining on you after weeks and weeks of procrastination until it’s right on your tail. Stop right there. Before you self-induce a panic attack, look around you. You’re in Berkeley — one of the most vibrant and colorful college towns in the country. Where better than here to stumble upon unique finds for the people you love most in your life?

To help you navigate the great gift-shopping experience Berkeley has to offer, we at the Clog have compiled a list to help guide you. You won’t be a shitty friend this year! No, sir — no more gift cards.



Kai Ridenoure/Staff

You really can’t go wrong with flowers. Not only are they beautiful and fragrant, but they also earn you major points with your friends. With this gift, you’re sure to immediately delight, because who doesn’t love flowers? We suggest a beautiful bouquet from Campus Flowers or Moe’s Flowers on Durant Avenue or from the stand next to Urban Outfitters on Bancroft Way. You could also pick up a sweet little succulent for your friend’s desk, while you’re at it.


5. Sheng Kee Bakery

File/Jessica Rogness

Stop by one of the multiple bakeries around campus to pick up a slice of your friend’s favorite cake, then surprise him or her with a powerful rendition of “Happy Birthday.” We recommend UCafe on Durant Avenue or Sheng Kee Bakery on Telegraph Avenue.

Another gift idea is to put together a bountiful food basket with all of your friend’s favorite goodies, be it from Trader Joe’s or Walgreens. This gift will never go unappreciated, especially for a broke, hungry college student.

Record stores


Staff/Mary Zheng

This gift has to do with really knowing your friend and his or her taste in music. Because of the incredible sale items that are always present in these stores, you can get your friend a record for every artist you have ever jammed out to together — even on a college-student budget! Plus, you can get posters for your friend to plaster his bare walls with or T-shirts for him to proudly proclaim his devotion to his favorite artists. We recommend Amoeba Records or Rasputin Records, both on Telegraph Avenue.

Gift shop


For your trinket-junkie friend, look no further than one of the multiple gift stores around campus. Find an array of intricate boxes, masks and jewelry from all over the world to suit your friend’s cosmopolitan tastes. We recommend Rapten Gift Shop, Gifts of Tara or Kathmandu exports, all on Telegraph Avenue.



Personally, we like to avoid buying clothes for friends because of issues with fit, suitability, etc. But a great way to make a splash with your stylish friend is to pick out a few statement accessories to brighten up her wardrobe. We recommend shopping around Francesca’s on Bancroft Way or 2bella Boutique on Telegraph Avenue.

Street artWith regular police patrols, loitering on Telegraph has experienced a marked reduction, resulting in fewer public disturbances, according to business owner Al Geyer.

One thing in which Berkeley is definitely not lacking is a diverse and extensive street-art scene. Support our local artists and pick up a beautifully handcrafted piece of jewelry, a painting, a vase or a one-of-a-kind T-shirt from one of the many stands set up near Telegraph and Durant avenues.

Smoke shops


While picking out a stellar glass piece from a smoke shop can be a little pricey and time-intensive, it can also be well worth your effort. If you have a friend who likes smoking accessories more than any other accessory, smoke shop gifts are the perfect option. You should look closely at the different styles and craftsmanship of the pieces to find one that really catches your eye. We recommend checking out Big Al’s Smoke Shop, Gypsy Trader and Hi-Times Smoke Shop, all on Telegraph Avenue.

Image Sources: sputnikrent, Ellie, LondonDave under Creative Commons

Contact Sravya Singampalli at [email protected].