Berkeley, California: 5 Things We Love

A visit to Berkeley soon reveals that is nearly impossible to pin this university town down.

Sather Tower rises over the campus and city at sunset at University of California, Berkeley, photo
Sather Tower at University of California, Berkeley.
Rafael Ramirez Lee / shutterstock

The downtown district at the edge of the University of California, Berkeley, long an arts and entertainment pacesetter, hit a fresh stride with the opening of an eye-catching modern art museum and cultural center.

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) mounts rotating shows of paintings, photos, and sculptures, and presents evening movie series and Saturday matinees.

Fieldwork's bloom service unfiltered pale ale is a perfect companion when the warmth of a late-summer day yields to evening chill off the bay. Find it on tap and in cans and crowlers in the brewery's West Berkeley taproom.

Yani Marin, Al Rodrigo, KC de la Cruz, Jesús E. Martínez, Desiree Rodriguez, Zachary Infante, and Richard Henry Ruiz on stage at the world premiere of Kiss My Aztec! at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

The world premiere of Kiss My Aztec! at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, directed by Tony Taccone.

Courtesy Alessandra Mello/Berkeley Repertory Theatre

The Berkeley Repertory Theatre routinely wins national attention for productions such as Marcus Gardley’s 2014 The House That Will Not Stand. Audiences viewing current plays at Peet’s Theatre, one of the Rep’s two stages, enjoy a state-of-the-art sound system.

During the annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, you can catch floor-stomping tunes at various venues, including the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. It hosts banjo and mandolin players, an open jam session, fiddle workshops, and more.

Gather has been pleasing food-savvy patrons since 2009 but still feels fresh. Vegetables star in seasonal plates such as heirloom grains risotto with delicata squash and shiitake and hedgehog mushrooms. Every dish is made with sustainable ingredients.


This article was originally published in September 2016 and last updated in February 2020.