Getting out of your house: Best places to safely visit in Berkeley

Photo of UC Berkeley Student Organic Garden
Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff

2020 has been a challenging year. The pandemic has forced us to stay inside and isolate ourselves to ensure the safety and well-being of ourselves and others.

Although social distancing and staying inside have been crucial in the fight against COVID-19, it has unfortunately induced mental health and emotional issues, according to a UC Berkeley School of Public Health report. Now, more than ever, it is vital for our well-being that we take a break from looking at our screens and get out of our houses.

For those of you in Berkeley, check out our recommendations for places to safely visit (while wearing masks) to recharge, de-stress, explore and get some fresh air!

Berkeley Student Farms
If volunteering, gardening or trying out a skill are things that help you de-stress, then there’s no place better to begin your escapade than visiting the Oxford Tract or Student Organic Garden Association, or SOGA. Both gardens are currently open for volunteering!
Oxford Tract is located between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street, and it is managed by the UC Berkeley Rausser College of Natural Resources. It is used for campus plant science research and is open Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

SOGA is a community garden located on the corner of Virginia Street and Walnut Street. It is used for workshops, harvest for the Berkeley Student Food Pantry and as an opportunity for students to engage with agriculture. It is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Both gardens have extended acreage that allows them to host masked, distanced events, and all trays and harvesting equipment are sanitized and washed before usage.

Gourmet Ghetto
In North Berkeley, you can check out Berkeley’s famous Gourmet Ghetto. Sitting along Shattuck Avenue, north of Hearst Avenue, Gourmet Ghetto is home to delicious eateries, such as the Cheese Board Collective (open for grab-and-go service) or Crepevine (open for outdoor dining), where you can treat yourself to new tastes!

Memorial Glade
For the perfect spot for afternoon picnics and socially distanced sports, including volleyball, frisbee and football, visit Memorial Glade. As an alternative, you can visit Willard Park, located on the corner of Derby Street and Hillegass Avenue. Both are low-risk spaces where you can enjoy fresh air and socially distanced conversations or exercises with friends!

Telegraph Avenue
There are many eateries to try out on Telegraph Avenue. If you would prefer to do something else, you might enjoy going to Moe’s Books or Sleepy Cat Books to kick back, relax and gaze at books. Both bookstores include a wide variety of genres, and Sleepy Cat Books has a white, fluffy cat that often sits next to the register and can be petted. Treat yourself to some books that will help you recharge and keep your mind engaged!

Elmwood District
The Elmwood district, which runs along College Avenue, has many boutiques, shops and eateries, such as Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore (open for prepaid pickup) and Baker and Commons café (open for outside dining), to visit. You can also walk around the district, as it is the perfect location for a quick and easy stroll.

Whether you choose to exercise, meet up with friends at Memorial Glade or Willard Park or try out new tastes at Gourmet Ghetto, Telegraph Avenue or the Elmwood District, take the time to get out of your house and reconnect with yourself!

Contact Defne Karabatur at [email protected].