Places to steer clear of on Cal Day if you’re with your parents

An empty dormitory court yard as a tall building looms above.
Kaho Otake/Staff

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If you’re a newly admitted student, congratulations! You made it into the sometimes, almost, maybe best public university in the world! Cal Day can be a great time to explore what the campus has to offer, and really understand student life and academic departments at UC Berkeley. You probably suspected this coming in, but college students aren’t perfect. If your parents are accompanying you on Cal Day, here are five places you should avoid to make sure they’re still on board with letting you commit by the end of the day:

1. Sproul Plaza

Sproul Plaza is meant to be the hub of student activity, and sounds like the perfect place to roam around to discover student organizations, and in the process, impress your parents. But on Cal Day, it’s a place you really need to avoid. Unless you’re open to being weighed down by rogue flyers, pushed and shoved to get a picture under the gate and interrogated about whether or not you’re interested in consulting by sweaty, tipsy students in Patagonias — this isn’t the place for you. Skip Sproul and roam around the tables in front of Dwinelle and Wheeler Hall instead: they’re usually less rowdy and there’s room to actually walk.

2. Greek Row

You may have heard this, but we’ll confirm that UC Berkeley students party hard on Cal Day. Whether you’re on campus bright and early at 9 a.m. or amble in at noon, there will most definitely be lots of loud, raucous parties happening on Greek Row. Unless you can divert your parents’ attention away from stray Solo Cups scattered on the streets and people stumbling out of foam parties, we recommend completely avoiding Piedmont Avenue. You’ll probably be spending enough time there during freshman year, anyway.

3. Southside residence halls

As an incoming student, we understand the need to see the place you’ll be living in for a whole year. Even though Cal Dining and other campus facilities are on their very best behavior when parents are around, students definitely aren’t. Instead of walking right into the living spaces when students are at their absolute rock bottom, climb up the hill to a more sober residential hall and tour the engineering residences in Foothill instead. You’ll be able to show your parents some spectacular Bay Area views and people who look like they’re actually studying at school instead of just day drinking.

4. Anywhere on Southside, really

As a general rule of thumb, avoid most of the south side of campus. Once frat parties lose their allure, restaurants and bars start filling up, and it’s just safer and easier to not have to navigate any of that with your parents in tow.

5. Memorial Glade

Last, but definitely not the least — the beautiful Memorial Glade is another place you might want to steer clear of. Cal Day isn’t on 4/20 this year, but it’s still our favorite day of the semester, so you might find yourself pulling your parents through a cloud of smoke, instead of marveling at Doe Library.

There are lots of exciting new things to learn about campus on Cal Day — some might just be better suited for when you’re alone or with your friends. Parents can sometimes be quick to worry and jump to conclusions. To make sure they get the most out of Cal Day and don’t leave with the wrong takeaways, be strategic with what you show them. It’s a good idea to actually stick to the official UC Berkeley events list. We recommend attending the presentations, rallies and lectures the campus organizes to make sure that your parents learn about academics and everyone leaves happy.

Contact Mahira Dayal at [email protected] .