Ah, Berkeley — a city unlike any other. Our friends and family back home probably started making hippie jokes the second we sent in our SIR and people we know have probably called it “Berzerkeley” one too many times, but despite the teasing we endure about our city, we can’t help but love it.
The very words that inspire fear into others’ hearts because of the reputation — such as Telegraph Avenue or People’s Park — to us, mean walking to see our friends and getting incredibly good food. And never is our love for Berkeley so obvious to us as when we’re not actually there. We at the Clog have been daydreaming about returning to Berkeley since the day we left for summer vacation and compiled a list of the things we miss most about it.
- The sheer number of restaurant options: No matter what kind of cuisine you’re craving, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s somewhere nearby that’s both incredibly delicious and relatively inexpensive.
- The public transit: Many of us fully realized the glories of public transit for the first time when we came to Berkeley. A bus and train system that basically allows you to go wherever you want when you want (within reason)? Sign us up! For many of us, there’s little to no public transit options in our hometowns, and we have to drive basically everywhere. Despite its perpetual lateness, AC Transit provides a nice break from that.
- The campus itself: The hilly campus might be the bane of our existence when we have to get from Dwinelle Hall to Hearst Mining Circle in less than 10 minutes, but other than that, the beauty of the campus combined with the exercise we get traversing it is something we can all appreciate.
- The student-friendly vibe: You don’t really realize how many places in Berkeley cater to college-aged students until you leave. You’ll miss the student discounts in restaurants and stores and the way coffee shops stay open well into the night.
- The school spirit: For some reasons, other places just look strange without every other person wearing Cal paraphernalia. For the most part, everyone in Berkeley knows that UC Berkeley is the number one public university in the world and definitely the best school in California, and they show it with a frankly obscene amount of Cal gear. Once we stray outside of Berkeley, however, we have to remind others that no, the nearby community college is not actually better than Berkeley.
- The weather: While other places are reaching jaw-dropping temperatures of over 110 degrees, Berkeley usually hovers around a nice, even 75 during the summer. There’s something to be said for not sweating through your clothes multiple times in one day, OK?
- The mutual suffering: When we try to explain to our families just how intense the courses are at Berkeley, they can’t always picture the kind of pressure we were under, largely because it’s so bad, you have to be there to understand. UC Berkeley students are all alike in that we all suffer together so we understand each others’ pain. Sometimes the sympathy of someone who gets that RRR week, while it may sound deceptively easy, is actually awful is exactly what we need.
- The sheer number of coffee shops: Need somewhere to work with WiFi? There’s probably a coffee shop on your block. If your best friend is a Peet’s Coffee person but you prefer Starbucks, you’re in luck, because they’re located across the street from each other Downtown. If you really love independent coffee shops, Berkeley is probably your heaven with Cafe Milano, Caffe Strada and dozens of others. Are you really into coffee roasting? Places like Philz Coffee are perfect for you. We don’t know the exact coffee shop per capita ratio, but it’s got to be pretty close to 1:1.
- The view: Berkeley has one of the best views in the bay of San Francisco. If you’re in the right spot, you can see the SF skyline, the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge at the same time. And if you’re in that spot at sunset, it’s breathtaking. Nothing can quite compare except for maybe being in San Francisco.
- It’s a walking city: It’s so nice to be able to go almost anywhere you want on foot within half an hour (depending on walking speed). We might complain that going from Downtown to Elmwood is exhausting, but in reality, it’s only a little over a mile and actually quite a quick walk. For those of us who come from places that require cars to get around, the walks are an amazing change.
We miss you, Berkeley.
Contact Taylor Follett at [email protected].