Berkeley Law offers more fascinating activities than any student can possibly plumb. But student life doesn’t end at the school’s perimeter. It spills spontaneously across the Berkeley campus, the city of Berkeley, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The options are infinite, whether a person’s interests run to politics or poetry, food or film, nature or nightlife. Restaurants within a one-mile radius represent more than 30 cuisines from every continent but Antarctica. And our music, dance, and film scenes are every bit as international as our culinary landscape.
We believe that everyone should experience Berkeley and the Bay Area for themselves. In case you can’t visit, we wanted to give you just a taste of what Berkeley and the Bay Area has to offer.
As a law student, you’ll soon become familiar with the dynamic and lively halls of Berkeley Law.
You’ll also get to know the greater UC Berkeley campus and what makes it so amazing.
Don’t just take our word for it; see what the New York Times says about the City of Berkeley.
When you are ready to venture beyond Berkeley, it’s hard to beat what Northern California have to offer.
Want to learn even more? Expand the sections below for some information and our recommendations for things to do and see in the area.
It’s never been a better time to be a food lover in the East Bay. Oakland’s exploding food and drink scene is recognized nationally and has been spilling into neighboring cities. Near campus, a walk down Telegraph Avenue can transport the adventurous diner around the world in the space of a few blocks. Vietnam, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, Japan, Jamaica, China, France, Italy, Ethiopia, Greece, Burma, Mexico, and Lebanon all have culinary embassies here in Berkeley—many within lunch distance. Across the bridge in San Francisco, diners can select from a planet’s worth of choices, whether their tastes run to the hot, the haute, or the hybrid.
Some of our favorites:
Gregoire – French cuisine and sandwiches
The Cheese Board Collective – #1 Pizza in the U.S. according to Yelp
Philz Coffee – Try the mint mojito
Burma Superstar – Tea leaf salad is our go-to
The list of local film festivals offers something for everyone. The grande dame of them all is the San Francisco International Film Festival, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007 with showings of 120 films to more than 80,000 people. Not to forget, a collection of more than 14,000 films and videos can be found just down the road from the law school at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Festival.
Music is a through-line of the Bay Area cultural scene. Berkeley itself boasts dozens of music venues, from small jazz and bluegrass spaces, to DJs spinning dance music. Over in Oakland is the Fox Theater and Yoshi’s, where music lovers can take in a set of Incognito or Tower of Power over a plate of sushi. In San Francisco, the possibilities run from the sublime—Beethoven’s Ninth at Davies Symphony Hall, say—to the rambunctious: Indigo Girls and Patti Smith at the Fillmore or Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers at Biscuits & Blues. For big-name rock acts, there are major venues dotting the region, of course.
Some of our favorite venues:
When it comes to sports, we have major-league venues on both sides of the Bay, including O.co Coliseum, home of the Oakland A’s, and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The World Champion Golden State Warriors basketball team holds court in San Francisco. And if you’re into pro hockey, the San Jose Sharks are just 45 miles down the road. But our athletics scene is far richer than that. When World Cup soccer time rolls around, fans tap into the madness by watching the games with frenzied expatriates of almost any nationality in their favorite hangouts: Italian cafés, Algerian coffee shops, or Brazilian bars. And for a very local form of madness, thousands of people sign up to walk or run in the annual Bay to Breakers race across San Francisco—a serious race for the few, and a jubilant, costumed stroll for the many.
Just east of campus is Tilden Regional Park, with a golf course, swimming spots, and more than 30 miles of hiking, biking, and horse trails. On the far side of the Berkeley Hills is Wildcat Canyon, with 22 miles of hiking trails. And fewer than 200 miles farther to the east lie three national forests, the soaring granite splendors of Yosemite National Park, and Lake Tahoe, home to nearly two dozen winter ski resorts. And that’s to the east. A look to the north, west, or south will yield comparable opportunities for hikers, boaters, campers, surfers, rafters, picnickers, bird watchers, and wine lovers.
Some of our favorites:
The diversity that characterizes Berkeley Law and U.C. Berkeley makes for a lively local scene. The blocks bordering the law school are practically international fairs in themselves, offering a microcosm of global cuisine, clothing, and music. And throughout the Bay Area, cultural diversity and pride play out in the streets via countless festivals a year: Cinco de Mayo; Carnaval; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride; Aloha; Urdu; Filipino; Bulgarian; Dragon Boat; Mandolin; and Moon. Between Berkeley and San Francisco, some group of like-minded people is dancing in the streets almost every week.
It is easy to get around Berkeley via foot, bicycle, or public transportation. U.C. Berkeley runs a campus shuttle service, with routes that connect with city bus stops and the downtown Berkeley subway (BART) station. Plus, UC Berkeley students get a free AC transit bus pass during the school year.
For information on how to get around the City of Berkeley, visit our Getting Here page.