Hey, you, would ya like to come see the roof?
This has been a pervasive jest throughout UC Berkeley Greek life as long as frat house roofs have been accessible. And while some may interpret this as a lighthearted, untroubling question, it can point to the harmful masculinity complexes and sexualizing stereotypes associated with college fraternities. This article intends to dismantle this stereotype; it’s meant to unveil the wholesome magic found in wasting nights away on rooftops. Roofs can be centers for friendly congregation, spots for sparking creativity and platforms for making your voice heard — and Berkeley has a lot of amazing ones. Whether you’re trying to read, write, talk or silently admire a golden California sunset, this article is your guide to the rich world of rooftop romance — a romance that’s deeper than sex. Here are some of the best roofs in Berkeley.
The Lothlorien co-op — known as a place that offers people from all walks of life a space to connect and better themselves together — has a roof with a view that is a wonder to behold. This roof is not only unique in its accessibility and 360-degree views of everything from the Campanile to the Golden Gate Bridge to Downtown Oakland, but it’s also home to four solar panels! Presenting a glimpse of hope for the future of our planet, Lothlorien’s roof can inspire zeal for environmentalism while giving a view of all that makes it worth caring about. Although not open to the public, the inclusive nature of Lothlorien’s members may allow you to catch a glimpse. If you have a friend who lives in Lothlorien, consider asking them to show you the roof!
The apartment complex behind Thorsen House
This rooftop has played a major role in cultivating friendships and a love for literature; it’s a great place to read and write quietly. Many rooftops in Berkeley are good for watching sunsets, but not many overlook the backyard of Thorsen House — noteworthy for band nights and marvelous architecture. If you follow the fence around the back of Thorsen to the first apartment building on the left, you may be able to make your way up to the very top floor and catch the spectacle.
Campbell Hall is home to one of the top-ranked astrophysics departments in the world and — better yet — free stargazing, open once a month to the entire community. While people take turns using the telescope situated in a dome structure, transporting themselves into the galaxy far, far away, the rooftop of Campbell Hall invites a wide community. Whether you’re merely interested in constellations or you’ve dedicated your life to astronomy and astrophysics, there’s a place for you here. Catch the upcoming 2019 summer Astro Nights on July 11, Aug. 5 and Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.
Last but not least — the rooftop of Berkeley, or Grizzly Peak. Best known for its miraculous views during sunset, this “rooftop” allows one to absorb the electric oranges and blues lighting up the sky. But the views are breathtaking at all times of the day — the soft shades of morning light and the turquoise tint of the sky in the afternoon surely should not be overlooked. In addition to the view, you might enjoy the 10 miles of winding road it takes to get to Grizzly Peak. You can also hike 40 minutes up the scenic fire trails and escape the “Berkeley bubble.” Every New Year’s Eve, Grizzly Peak serves as a place for people to watch fireworks and welcome the new year. But any day is a good day to relax atop this roof, a stellar spot for recharging the mind.
These views never seem to disappoint. Even during the foggy mornings of summer in the Bay Area, these rooftops will steal your heart. And what better way to spend a slow summer evening than laughing and talking with your friends on a roof, seated above and away from the streets and fast-paced world below? Go sit on a roof — you might just fall in love with what you find.
Contact Skylar Schoemig at [email protected].