Located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is situated perfectly to take advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer. Berkeley enjoys a quieter presence compared to nearby San Francisco and Oakland, but still offers world-class cuisine, along with education and research facilities that rival any in the nation.
Even in left-leaning California, Berkeley has long been seen as a harbor for progressive thinkers and those seeking social change. The hippies arrived in the Bay Area in the 1960s and in many ways never left. Berkeley is regarded as one of the most liberal cities in the country. The city claims more than 118,000 residents with heritage from all over the globe, including a strong contingent of American Indians and Native Alaskans. Berkeley is home to some of the most famous chefs in the world. Alice Waters and her iconic restaurant, Chez Panisse, continue to reintroduce eaters to the area’s local food sources. Waters’ exclusive use of seasonal produce helped develop the national trend toward farm-to-table-style dining.
The University of California laid down roots in Berkeley in the 1860s, and the flagship campus is the oldest in the UC family. The university employs more than 14,000 full-time employees and serves nearly 38,000 students. It is routinely named as one of the finest public universities in the nation. Berkeley is linked to the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) system, making travel to neighboring cities a simple task. Public transportation is commonly used to thwart the daily influx of commuter car traffic. Residents and visitors rely heavily on bicycle travel, using city streets marked exclusively as Bicycle Boulevards.
Telegraph Avenue honors the hippie heritage of Berkeley, routinely playing host to street fairs and arts festivals such as the Berkeley World Music Festival, held annually in June. Solano Avenue offers residents and visitors a great opportunity to sample a buzzing array of restaurants and bars. Be sure to take advantage of the bike-friendly region by taking a cruise on the San Francisco Bay Trail. The trail links nine counties along the coast, offering bikers and walkers nearly 350 miles of perfect Bay Area views.