UC Berkeley, with its prominence and prestige, attracts thousands of travelers every summer. But days spent in extravagant libraries and huge lecture halls can become repetitive and overwhelming, and touristy trips to Powell Street and Fisherman’s Wharf can get boring. That’s why we at the Daily Californian came up with a list of special spots, which are all less than an hour away from campus, for your next weekend adventure.
Lake Merritt is one of the best low-key hangout spots in Oakland. During the day the urban space is usually filled with joggers and skaters. At night, you can enjoy the dazzling view of the string of lights that surrounds the lake. It’s conveniently located near the Oakland Museum of California, an interdisciplinary museum filled with fun interactive art, science and history exhibits for both children and adults. The breathtaking lake resides a few blocks away from Vietnamese bakeries and restaurants with cheap, delicious meals. You can order staples like banh mi, baguettes stuffed with pickled vegetables and creamy pate, and bun bo hue, a soup with rice vermicelli and beef originating from the city of Hue.
If you love political art and heavenly burritos, then you must visit the Mission district in San Francisco. The bold, colorful murals on the walls of Balmy Alley on 24th St. vibrantly illustrate community sociopolitical issues like gentrification. Take a break at the 24th & York Mini Park, a relatively quiet area with vibrant community art and children-friendly structures. Of course, one would be remiss to experience the Mission without trying its amazing food. Check out Taqueria Guadalajara (and about a gazillion other taquerias) for a savory and filling meal.
Craving artisan green tea mochi with red bean filling or seeking a gift for your beloved anime nerd? Look no further. An area with deep historical roots, SF Japantown is one of only three Japantowns left in the United States. At the heart of the neighborhood lies a popular shopping mall with a number of specialty shops like Maido, a stationary addict’s dream come true, and Kinokuniya, a bookstore filled with not only bestsellers, but also manga and fandom goodies. Many of San Francisco’s popular fairs, like the Soy and Tofu Festival and the Cherry Blossom Festival, occur in Japantown. Not to mention, you’re also likely to bump into a cool cosplayer every now and then!
Tilden Regional Park
Take your friends out on a picnic or hiking trip. In a world plagued by screen addiction, Tilden Park slows down the rapid pace of day to day life. It’s a refreshing, verdant retreat away from urban madness. Lush with redwoods, grasslands and evergreens, the the park has incredibly clean and crisp air. For the animal lover, Tilden’s Little Farm allows visitors to feed lettuce and celery to animals like goats and cows.
The Berkeley Marina is a classic Berkeley treasure. Spanning 52 acres of water, it is home to the Berkeley Pier, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge or go fishing. If you’re a stressed student or overworked professional, it is an incredible, quiet place for meditation or exercise. Check out the Marina the weekend of July 25-26 for the annual Berkeley Kite Festival.
Contact Stacey Nguyen at [email protected].