Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Berkeley, CA

Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Berkeley, CA Featured Image

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Berkeley is a city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area with a vibrant recreation and entertainment scene. The city has various bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks that locals can visit with family or friends.

This vibrant city in California is also known to be the haven of the renowned University of California. Neighborhoods around the city enjoy proximity to many cultural and culinary attractions in Berkeley, CA. No need to drive too far to have a relaxing day out with your loved ones!

Berkeley, CA is overflowing with genuine experiences and activities for everyone. This article aims to give you a more detailed guide about the best things to do in Berkeley, CA and all the famous attractions and landmarks you can explore in the city!

Fun Things To Do in Berkeley, CA

Enjoyable activities suitable for the whole family in the beautiful outdoors are simple to achieve in the thriving city of Berkeley. It is a must-visit place for outdoor activities around the Bay Area due to the city’s proximity to the glistening San Francisco Bay. Its excellent weather and forested terrain make it perfect for nature lovers.

Additionally, Berkeley, California is loaded with exciting kid activities that will keep children of all ages entertained while also allowing them to bond with their parents. Read on to know what places you can visit to experience many fantastic things to do in Berkeley, CA.

Perfect for Families

Perfect for Families
Aquatic Park

Photo by Peter Simmons

Between Ashby Avenue and University Avenue is where you’ll find the long, linear Aquatic Park that spans 100 acres. Walking, riding bicycles, having a picnic, going on a boat ride, observing birds, and playing disc golf are just some leisure activities that may be enjoyed at Aquatic Park.

The lagoon, located within the park and encompasses 67.7 acres, receives its water from two different sources: the salty water from San Francisco bay and the freshwater from the rainwater that falls into the lagoon.

Reviews:
Shannan Leitner
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"I love that my bike route to work includes going through here. It's such a chill, beautiful park that's great for hanging out in or just passing through. Lots of wildlife like herons, egrets, etc. The little covered pier is nice spot and it's usually got no one on it. So grateful for this piece of nature in all the gross industrial stuff."
Anna Ettlinger
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"Walking along side the water is a great experience for me and my pup to get to know each other better! It is also a great view and has many great people of all ages doing many different activities! We like to watch the ducks, geese, other dogs, frisbee players, kids, and much more!"
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AxeVentures

Are you looking for a creative activity for your future birthday party, bachelor/bachelorette party, or company function? AxeVentures provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for you to connect with the primitive and wildly daring side of yourself, drawing on their inspiration from ancient combat and pioneering new trails. Imagine playing darts in a more challenging and exciting way.

Axe tossing is a great way to bond with your loved ones and coworkers while sharing an exciting and unforgettable experience.

Reviews:
Deja McMorris
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"Had a amazing time. Went there for my birthday celebration and had lots of fun. The staff was friendly and helped out when needed. We did a brief how to & safely tips before we got to throw axes own our own. I would definitely go back. On went on a regular day next time I will try the glow in the dark night. I will say it felt like a workout and had to buy waters and ended buying balloons and blood board for more of a challenge."
Agustin De Jesus
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"I have been to this place multiple times now. Each time has been its own exciting experience. Whether axe-throwing is a great time depends heavily on whether the hosts are doing their jobs well, and the people at the store care about whether the patrons are having a good time. After having shared a conversation with most of the staff, I can attest that they are super fun people too and guarantee an exciting event!"
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Codornices Park

Codornices Park offers visitors various leisure activities and entertainment options in a picturesque hillside setting. Codornices Park was one of the earliest parks to be opened in Berkeley. It featured a magnificent field house, a great tennis court, and a variety of other amusement amenities when it originally opened in 1915.

In addition to the Berkeley Rose Garden, this park features grounds for ball games, hiking, picnicking, and play areas for children, making this park one of the top things to do in Berkeley!

Reviews:
Angel Hou
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"Perfect place for kids and adults! There is a short trail for sightseeing or relax. Two playgrounds for kids, one is for little ones, the other is for elder kids. The kid really loves the concrete slide! Several picnic areas, big grassland, basketball courts, tennis courts, you name it. Besides, there's a rose garden for a visit through the tunnel. The restroom of the rose garden side is quite clean with washing facilities, while the slide side without the washing facilities."
Eata Chew
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"Most famous for its huge concrete slide (lots of leftover cardboard everywhere but bring your own quality cardboard!), this place is also just magical and cute- large green space, basketball courts, separate playground for bigger kids and littler kids, and so many little, fun trails to explore. They do have an outdoor bathroom."
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Tilden Nature Area and Little Farm

The Tilden Nature Area is a preserve spanning 740 acres and is situated just north of Tilden Regional Park. It has moderate and tricky hiking paths, spectacular views, and opportunities to spot wildlife. The park is home to various plant species, both indigenous and non-native, including oak/bay woodlands, grasslands, eucalyptus forests, and streams.

For breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay, hikers can either take their time on the self-guided Jewel Lake Nature Path or work up a sweat on Wildcat Peak (at an elevation of 1,211 feet). Jewel Lake is an iconic reservoir, waterworks, and a great spot for wildlife watching, accessible through a boardwalk that stretches 750 feet through the forest.

Reviews:
Kevin Spencer
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"I've lived in the Bay Area all my life and have never been here. What a hidden gem! If you've got little kids, the mini farm is awesome to check out and feed the animals and if you're looking for beautiful hiking trails , Tilden has that in abundance. Oh....and it's free?! Bit of a winding road and drive to get there but totally worth it AND on the way there's BEAUTIFUL views of the Bay overlooking San Francisco. Total photo ops!"
Info 4more
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"This was one of the visit out of many previous to specifically to the petting zoo inside the park. Kids have blast. They have cows, goat, ducks, chicken, rabbit, pigs and you can feed them too. Bring lots of Celery, Carrot, and spinach. Have Fun!"
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Perfect for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Perfect for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Photo by Pavł Polø on Unsplash

Berkeley Rose Garden

The 1,500 rose shrubs and 250 rose species at Berkeley’s Historic Rose Garden make it a popular tourist attraction, and the vistas of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge only add to the garden’s allure.

Some say that the Berkeley Rose Garden is the best in Northern California. The garden is most beautiful around the middle of May, giving you the stunning beauty of its plant collection.

Reviews:
Anne Margaret White
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"What a fantastic spot to visit! Beautiful terraced plant beds chock full of roses. Really appreciated all of the signs denoting the types and loved that multiples of each type we're planted together. Such an impact! Also liked how the colors in the amphitheater part looked like they transitioned from dark to light from the top down and in from the sides. Stunning! Also liked the winding trails, but wish they didn't lead to locked gates. But that just gave us more time to visit. Spectacular!"
Meghan Brooks (Madame Meg)
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"In bloom & looking beautiful! Some of these roses were bigger than my open hand! They have so many different colors & types! They even had the rainbow sorbet & sugar moon roses! Hurry before the petals fall!"
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Lake Anza

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Lake Anza, tucked away in the rolling hills of Tilden Regional Park, is a favorite destination for swimmers from Berkeley and the surrounding area.

It is a natural lake fed by springs and features a sandy beach ideal for lounging in the sun. Lake Anza is the spot to go in Berkeley if you’re looking for wonderful things to do in Berkeley, CA and an ideal place to unwind and relax. Other facilities include areas that are accessible by wheelchair, a sufficient number of parking spaces, picnic sites, and changing rooms.

Reviews:
Sakin Shrestha
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"It's a nice place to go on weekend. Very near from the city. Small lake with specific area for swim. There is standby lifeguard and it's safe to swim there. You can even bring your tent and chairs to relax and enjoy the view. There is one small store where you can get quick snacks and drinks. There is really nice walking trail around the lake. I enjoyed walking too. Loved the place so much. Have a nice weekend to everyone. Cheers :)"
Victor Wang
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"Awesome spot to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Great views of nature and the hike around the lake is a little challenging in some spots but doable for all."
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Perfect for Foodies

Perfect for Foodies

Photo by Adrienn

Chez Panisse is a famed restaurant that offers fresh dishes in an elegant and pleasant atmosphere. The restaurant has a dynamic menu that highlights seasonal, locally-grown produce.

Each Wednesday through Saturday, customers can walk up to the front door of Chez Panisse and pick up a fully cooked meal, including sides, pantry goods, sweets, wine, and beer. In the courtyard next to Chez Panisse, they host a weekly organic vegetable box market on Sundays, with selections hand-picked by the restaurant’s chefs.

Reviews:
Pim Kang
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"Best dining experience in Bay Area hands down. Book 30 day in advance for reasonable dining time and options. They open reservation slot for that day at 9 AM, so be prepared.

The menu is changed daily so there's always new things to try. You don't have to dress up but it's fun to go with the place's theme and vibes!"

Tia Cocopuffs
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"Beautiful restaurant with attention to detail also represented in food both in presentation & palate. Restaurant set menu prix fix option wine pairing. Upstairs cafe more vibrant atmosphere. New England clam chowder is divine."
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Atelier Crenn cuisine pays homage to the bountiful state of California by accentuating the flora, fish, and seafood indigenous to the area. Visitors will experience a voyage across time and space that emphasizes California’s cultural and natural splendor.

Reviews:
Jennifer Blair
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"I was introduced to Dominique Crenn on CBS Sunday Morning in July 2020. After watching her interview, I ordered both of her books, The Rebel Chef and Metamorphosis of Taste, and knew that someday, I needed to experience her creativity and passion first hand.

Atelier Crenn is a renowned delight in the heart of San Francisco. It was awarded 3 Michelin Stars and the Icon Award for the World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2021. This far exceeded all of those expectations. Every bite of this fourteen course experience was exceptional, a dance of visual beauty alongside a blend of unique and surprising flavors that left you awestruck time and time again. As if this wasn't enough, we finished the evening with a tour of the kitchen, an introduction to the chefs behind the scenes, dessert at Bar Crenn and a signed copy of The Rebel Chef."

Debbie Longinetti
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"The food was beyond amazing both in flavor and artistic presentation. The staff was very friendly, informative and seemed like they loved working at Atelier Crenn. No stuffiness what so ever, just professional youthful enthusiasm, which added another dimension of enjoyment to our experience. The tour of the kitchens and dessert in the nextdoor room also added to the experience. We all would love to return each season as the menu changes. Truly a three Michelin star experience. So far it is one of the dinning highlights in our lifetimes to date."
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Acquerello has provided diners with an exceptional Italian fine-dining experience for over 30 years. Many accolades have been bestowed upon Acquerello, including two Michelin stars and the Wine Spectator Grand Prize every year from 2012 to 2019.

Enjoy elegant Italian food and wine served in a sophisticated setting with soaring wooden ceilings and arched windows.

Reviews:
Chloe Tula
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"Fantastic meal and service from start to finish. The wine pairings were both thoughtful and exciting. The food was out of this world. Especially for someone like me, with a few very specific food allergies, everything felt extremely personalized with great attention to detail. The brand new dish with Liberty duck and cherries was to die for; I hope it remains a staple on the menu. The red wine that it was paired with was exquisite, as well. Thank you for a wonderful evening!"

Wrap Up

Whether you are a visitor or a long-time resident, you will have a wonderful time in the city because Berkeley, CA has many exciting and interesting things to do.

If you want to know more about Berkeley or other cities in Alameda County, please contact me at (510) 746-8240 and follow me on my social media platforms below.

living in Berkeley

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Frequently Asked Questions

Berkeley is known to be a student-friendly city. If you live in Berkeley, you can easily stroll to restaurants, shops, and even your friends’ houses. Several restaurants and boba parlors that are open late may be found in the neighborhood that surrounds many colleges in the area.

Several ideal places to study or catch up with a buddy also offer high-speed internet access that you can use.

Despite its prominence as a university town, Berkeley also boasts many parks, stores, eateries, and opportunities for active citizenship. Berkeley has many fantastic recreational facilities catering to art geeks, nature enthusiasts, and foodies.

Here are some of the hidden gems worth visiting in Berkeley, CA:

  1. Morrison Library
  2. Fish House
  3. Moe’s Books
  4. Games of Berkeley
  5. Strawberry Creek