Berkeley Activities

Parent Q&A

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  • My daughter is attending the German Summer Camp in Berkeley (every week-day for 4 weeks, 9am-3pm). During this time I'd like to explore Berkeley rather than drive back to our home in Hercules. Please give me some ideas as to what I can do in Berkeley essentially all day. I'm up for cafes, bookstores (especially used books), fitness classes like yoga, zumba, martial arts. Given how popular coding is these days, maybe even a coding class? Please help!

    I love Half-Price Books in downtown Berkeley - great selection of cheap used books and records.  Fantastic historical fiction section.


    There are still a number of lovely bookstores in Berkeley; Moe's on Telegraph, Pegasus and Half Price Books downtown, Mrs. Dalloway's on College, University Press Books on Bancroft. If I'm looking to camp out in a cafe for a while, I favor Au Coquelet on University and Milvia; there's also Caffe Milano and Caffe Strada on Bancroft (the former will be full of grad students, the latter full of undergrads, but both have good pastries and a nice atmosphere ;)), and The Beanery on College. Telegraph, University, and College also have a number of general hole-in-the-wall type stores. You might also consider the university libraries; the main library is not open to the public, but anthropology, music, education and a number of others are there to be browsed. :)

    Don't limit yourself to Berkeley! You can explore Oakland, San Francisco ( just take bart)

    take a class at city college

    go to the Berkeley museum

    go to a matinee at landmark theatres

    go for walks at the Berkeley Marina or around Lake Merritt in Oakland

    go for walks at the Regional parks

    have great lunches everyday

    bring your laptop to any of the public libraries

    take yoga at yoga for the people ( donation base)

    go swimming at Temescal pool ( or even Mills College in Oakland) ( I'm not familiar with the Berkeley ones)

    go window shopping on College Ave

    have a lavender cafe at the Elmwood Cafe

    so great to have all that free time all for yourself!!!!!!!!

    It's not that far back to Hercules at off-commute hours, maybe 20 minutes. The problem with "exploring" Berkeley is parking. Either not available, or expensive. If you can somehow solve the parking problem, check out the Berkeley YWCA, which offers a lot of low-cost classes.

    The Berkeley Art Museum has a nice cafe, and is worth the time. There's also the Magnes downtown and the Anthropology museum on campus.

    Here's the page for UC collections.

    Bookstores -- I would second Mrs. Dalloway's because of the large number of cafes nearby, and there are also some little parks and green spaces in that area. You could also get a Berkeley library card and use the Claremont branch of the library. Further down College Avenue there is Diesel Books which is in Oakland, but is the best literary bookstore we have left. Also on College is the Rockridge branch of the Oakland library. Between that section of College and campus there are many cafes and stores.

    On North Shattuck there is a branch of Printer's Ink, which has a parklet right in front. A block away is Cheeseboard/Cheeseboard Pizza which is a good place for coffee, pastries and after 11:30, pizza. There also several cafes between Hearst and Cedar.

    There are large areas and pockets where you can park all day. Here is a residential parking map to help you find places where you don't have to move your car all day.

    You can hike in Tilden Park. The UC Botanical Garden is beautiful, but you have to pay to go in. The botanical garden in Tilden is free and beautiful. Berkeley has many hidden staircases and paths that are great to explore.

    If you bring a bike you can bike the Ohlone Greenway or ride down to the Marina and ride along the bay.

    Highwire Coffee on San Pablo is a nice place with great coffee to sit with your computer.

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Campus (!) on the weekends and during breaks, little ones can run on paths, play in creek. Bring peanuts for the tame squirrels near the eucalyptus grove.
The Museum of Paleontology has a huge T-Rex, pterodon, giant snail & more
The Campanile is 50 cents for a ride up to the top and a 3-bridge view.