Like a Local
Quirky, under-the-radar highlights only a local could recommend.
Tilden Regional Park
This 2,079-acre gem remains largely undiscovered by Bay Area visitors, leaving the botanic garden, 1955-built Little Farm, antique merry-go-round, and Lake Anza for the taking. Pack a picnic along with sturdy shoes for exploring the nearly 40 miles of hiking trails.
Once a naval air station, Alameda Point is now a work in progress, with plans for polished parks and a sports complex to premier in 2018. Catch the remnants of its history while wandering among the shipping containers and the home base of America’s Cup Prada–sponsored boat, Luna Rossa.
Kitchen on Fire
Michelin-starred chefs share their secrets at this still-somewhat-secret sanctuary in Epicurious Garden, where classes range from Mexican Comida and the Art of Chocolate to the Art of French Sauces and Mastering Knife Skills. Feasts follow the three-hour sessions.
Pizza. Beer. Music. Those are the three key ingredients for a good night, which becomes a great night at this two-story brewhouse based in an old 1890s livery stable. Alongside 12 of Jupiter’s own small-batch pilsners, pale ales, and porters are 30 guest taps; find live bands Thursday through Sunday.
How to spend 36 hours in Berkeley, with Graduate Berkeley as your base camp.
5:30 p.m. | Dinner at Triple Rock Brewery
In 1986, when this straightforward, airy beer hall first opened its doors, it was the fifth brewpub in the US. The fare is as fun as the flowing suds – try the Hot Mess burger made with kimchi, or go for the Superfood salad of quinoa, kale, and Korean pear.
7 p.m. | Art at BAMPFA
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, better known as BAMPFA, stays open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights. More than 450 films are screened here each year, and exhibitions have included the work of Andy Warhol, among others.
8 a.m. | Breakfast at Bette’s Oceanview Diner
Look for a counter seat at this lively 1950s-era eatery, which does not actually have a view of the ocean but does have cloud-like apple-brandy pancake soufflés, jukeboxes and, yes, a Bette (Bette Kroening has been dishing out her home-style favorites here since 1982).
10 a.m. | Tour Telegraph Avenue
While it stretches more than four miles, this four-block section around UC Berkeley is what made Telegraph a California icon and a landmark of 1960s counterculture. Browse through the Hat Shop and Amoeba Records, and prepare to be entertained.
12:30 p.m. | Brunch at 900 Grayson
The names are as creative as the cuisine at this comfort-food café in West Berkeley. Dare to try the Demon Lover, which entails spicy buttermilk-fried Sonoma chicken atop a crispy buttermilk waffle. Or go for the classic Grayson burger topped with applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar, and crispy onions.
2 p.m. | Visit Chabot Space and Science Center
First founded as an observatory in 1883, this campus now includes an 86,000-square-foot facility that features hands-on exhibits, a full-dome planetarium, astronomy classes, simulated space missions to the moon, and more. If the stars align, swing by the Oakland Children’s Zoo and Fairyland afterward — the latter inspired Walt Disney to create Disneyland.
8 p.m. | Dinner at Chez Panisse
From black truffle and grilled endive salad to grilled Sonoma County duck breast and crème caramel with Page mandarins, there is only one Chez Panisse, the fabled restaurant from Alice Waters. Make reservations one month in advance.
10 a.m. | Brunch at Revival Bar & Kitchen
Kick off your brunch today with whiskey-based Dixie Buck cocktails and Hot ‘n’ Bloody Marys, followed by such dishes as challah French toast, late-summer quiche, and baked egg shakshuka in this airy farm-to-table eatery flanked by drapery.
12 p.m. | Discover Dollar Day at Golden Gate Fields
Built in the 1940s on the site of a former gunpowder factory, this racing track now features the explosive speeds of horses, and in the summer drops its prices on Sundays to $1 apiece for parking, admission, programs, and hot dogs. Wear your purchase from the Hat Shop for the races.
When simply “seeing” a destination just won’t do.
Sport-Fishing Berkeley Marina | Berkeley Charter Boats
Reel in Instagram-worthy catches of striped bass, shark, salmon, halibut, and crab during a fishing charter that departs from Berkeley Marina; choose to stay in the bay or head out to the Pacific Ocean.
Windsurfing San Francisco Bay | 101 Surf Sports
Consistent winds make the waters off Berkeley one of the best places in the country to practice catching air with a sail while standing on a board.
Climbing the Summit Trail | Mount Diablo
The four-mile Summit Trail up this 3,849 mountain pays off in views that stretch 200 miles. Plan to go after a winter storm, if possible, to avoid the haze that can impair perspectives in the summer.
The best food artisans, farms, and local markets.
Since 1971, this co-op business has operated a unique model that sells equally unique cheeses – 400 of them, in fact. The cheese counter is one of Berkeley’s most popular gathering spots, while a bakery and nearby pizzeria round out the choices.
Donkey and Goat Winery
Jared and Tracey Brandt – owners of this winery known for “natural wines” (meaning, wines made with minimal sulphur) – source grapes from the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino, and Napa to create pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, chardonnay, and more. Play bocce and cornhole in the urban yard while sipping samples.
Imperial Tea Court
Fine Asian teas – premium green, black, white, oolong, and more – are for tasting and for sale in this serene courtyard-based tea room surrounded by a garden off North Shattuck. There’s also a small menu of hand-pulled noodles – said to be some of the best in the Bay Area.
Takara Sake Tasting Room
Douglas fir and granite construction frame the 2,260-square-foot, airy atmosphere at Takara, where flights of $5 or $10 allow customers to taste six sake varieties and learn about production.
- Like a LocalQuirky, below-the-radar highlights only a local could recommendRead More
- The WeekenderHow to spend 36 hours here, with the resort as your basecamp.Read More
A Gemstone Collection Hotel
Graduate Berkeley, 2600 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702 P: 510-845-8981