20 Things To Do In Berkeley

- This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

As a city that doesn’t even crack the 50 largest in California and is surrounded by more famous locations, such as Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, Berkeley is overlooked by many visitors. However, what it lacks in famous attractions, it makes up for with charm and style and it’s a fantastic place in California to experience life like a true Californian.

Berkeley lies on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. It was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement during the 1960s and is a university town with cafes, shops, parks, museums and galleries. These 20 things to do in Berkeley, California, will help you hit the highlights and get a taste of the Berkeley lifestyle.

Berkeley, California

20 Best Things To Do In Berkeley

1- Explore The Berkeley Art Museum And Pacific Film Archive

things to do in berkeley today bright modern art, with acrylic background
Exploring art museums and galleries is one of the things to do in Berkeley (CA) for art lovers.

First opened in 1963, the Berkeley Art Museum And Pacific Archive feature an archive, museum, and repertory movie theatre.

It was established to preserve and exhibit both static and moving pieces of art.

With a collection that includes exhibits like films, paintings, and sculptures, from both the surrounding area and as far afield as Asia, it is a fabulous destination for art fans of all interests.

Berkeley Art Museum is at 2155 Center Street, Berkeley, 94720.

2- Have Your Eyes Opened At The Lawrence Hall Of Science

things to do in berkeley, ca science experiment with plant laboratory
Spending time at the Lawrence Hall Of Science is one of the educational things to do in Berkeley with kids.

Lawrence Hall Of Science dates back to 1968 when it was established to honour physicist and the University Of California’s first Nobel laureate, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, on the 10th anniversary of his death.

There’s plenty to see at Lawrence Hall with a giant interactive globe, an outdoor science park, astronomical sculptures, and nanotechnology studies.

It also has multi-sensory kid’s areas, a seismograph, insect zoo, memorial, sculptures and labs, and rotating temporary exhibits, making it a fantastic place for people of all ages to learn about science.

Lawrence Hall Of Science 1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, 94720.

3- Appreciate Nature At The University Of California Botanical Garden

things to do with kids in berkeley aerial view of historic University of California at Berkeley with the San Francisco Bay skyline in background.
Hanging around the University of California at Berkeley campus offers some cool things to do in Berkeley. See the San Francisco Bay skyline in the background.

Located on the grounds of the Berkeley campus, the University Of California Botanical Garden was established in 1890 to exhibit species of plants from Africa, Asia, Australasia, California, China, the Americas, and the Mediterranean.

The garden is home to one of the most diverse plant collections in the United States.

Covering 34 acres, the Botanical Garden houses a collection of plants that includes 20,000 accessions covering 12,000 different species and subspecies, 2,885 genera, and 324 plant species, many of which are rare or endangered.

It is a must-visit location for any fans of nature or plants.

University Of California Botanical Garden is at 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, 94720.

4- Catch A Performance At The Greek Theatre

Epidaurus theatre
The original Epidaurus Greek theatre in Greece was the model used to design Berkeley’s Green theatre.

Officially known as the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, the Greek Theatre was first opened in 1903 and is named after the local newspaper magnate who funded it.

It is an iconic venue that has been listed on the National Register Of Historic Places since 1982.

Designed to resemble the Greek theatre of Epidaurus, the 8,500 seater arena regularly hosts musical events, including pop, rock, and world music concerts, and The Berkeley Jazz Festival, as well UC Berkeley graduation ceremonies and speeches by notable public figures.

Hearst Greek Theatre, 2001 Gayley Road, Berkeley, 94720.

5- Listen To The Sounds Of The City At The UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall

things to do in berkeley ca White venetian mask and dry yellow roses on black background
Going to the theatre is one of the popular things to do in Berkeley for entertainment.

First opened in 1917, the UC Theatre was a movie theatre that, with a 2,000 person capacity, was considered large for its time.

After running into financial troubles, it began specialising in arthouse, grindhouse, and revival house pictures from 1974 until its closure in 2001.

However, a short while later, the building was purchased and converted into a live music venue while being renamed the UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall, after one of the largest donors.

Now boasting a large stage and a restaurant and bar, it is a great place to see some of the finest musical performances in Berkeley in truly stunning, historic surroundings.

UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall is at 2036 University Avenue, Berkeley, 94704

6- Explore Tilden Regional Park

things to do berkeley view of a cloudy sunset
Looking for things to do in Berkeley CA?

Located on the eastern edge of Berkeley, Tilden Regional Park covers more than 2000 acres (809 ha) between the Berkeley Hills and San Pablo Ridge.

With its beautiful panoramic vistas, rolling hills, lakes, and picnic areas, as well as attractions like a botanical garden, carousel, golf course, steam train, an events venue, and an educational centre, it is the perfect place to escape the press of the city and appreciate the natural landscape of the region.

Tilden Regional Park is at 2501 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda, 94563.

7- Take A Ride On The Redwood Valley Railway

Located in Tilden Regional Park, the Redwood Valley Railway is a miniature steam railway that allows visitors to take a 12-minute ride through a 1.5-mile stretch of wooded ridge on an authentic steam locomotive.

First established in 1952, Redwood trees were carefully planted to create an aesthetic that could immerse the 160,000 yearly passengers the railway receives in the spirit of California’s historic logging industry.

The Redwood Valley Railway is at 2481 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Orinda, 94563.

8- Enjoy The View From Grizzly Peak Vista Point

berkeley hills hills covered with trees
The hills around Berkeley.

Grizzly Peak is the highest point in Tilden Regional Park and the second-highest location in the Berkeley Hills, although is just seven feet (two metres) shorter than Round Top.

Named after the grizzly bears that traditionally inhabited the area, adventurers that make the hike to its summit and the Grizzly Peak Vista Point will discover some of the best views of the city of Berkeley you will find anywhere.

It’s the ideal spot to take a photo or watch the sunset.

Grizzly Peak Vista Point is at 3092 – 3148 Grizzly Peak Boulevard, Berkeley, 94705.

9- Play A Round At Tilden Park Golf Course

things to do in berkeley golfer concentrating on the 18th hole
One of the fun things to do in Berkeley is to play golf.

Located in the west of Tilden Regional Park, the Tilden Park Golf Course is a public, 18 hole golf course and driving range.

Set on hilly terrain, surrounded by groves of trees, and offering stunning views over the San Francisco Bay, it is a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy a little exercise or practice your swing while making the most of your stunning surroundings.

Tilden Park Golf Course is at 10 Golf Course Drive, Berkeley, 94708.

10- Enjoy Unique Street Art

The Albany Bulb is was once a landfill site at the end of the Albany Waterfront Trail, which has been converted into a waterside park.

Its hiking trails and beach are great places for people to relax and enjoy panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay.

Sculptures made from trash and pieces of graffiti art, such as Mad Marc’s Castle, provide a unique attraction for street art fans to enjoy.

Mad Marc’s Castle & The Albany Bulb is at 1 Buchanan Street, Albany, 94706.

11- Visit An Iconic Landmark At The Campanile

best things to do in berkeley Historic Sather Tower
One of the best things to do in Berkeley for a great view is to take the elevator to the viewing platform at the historic Sather Tower. It’s the third-largest bell tower in the world.

Located in the heart of the University Of California, Berkeley campus, The Campanile is an iconic bell and clock tower.

With its beautiful façade, daily carillon concerts, and incredible views of the entire campus and its surrounding areas on offer from its top, The Campanile is a destination that many different people can enjoy in many different ways.

The Campanile is at Campanile Esplanade, South Hall Road, Berkeley, 94704.

12- Treat Your Senses At The Aftel Archive Of Curious Scents

fun things to do in berkeley hands sorting through bunches of lavender
Visiting the perfumery or attending a perfume mixing class is a fun thing to do in Berkeley.

The Aftel Archive Of Curious Scents is a quaint little museum dedicated to the art of perfumery.

Visitors will get to see and touch raw botanical ingredients before watching the process they must go through to be turned into perfume.

With visitors getting to do their own experiments, learn the history of many different natural perfumes, and see attractions like a Perfume Organ, it is a wonderfully diverse destination and a true treat for the senses.

The Aftel Archive Of Curious Scents is at 1518-1/2, Walnut Street, Berkeley, 94709.

13- Embrace Diversity At The Orly Museum Of Hungarian Culture

The Orly Museum Of Hungarian Culture is a small independent museum owned by a Hungarian American family.

It’s dedicated to teaching visitors about Hungarian culture and its connection to other parts of Europe and the United States.

With exhibits of historical items and artifacts that are constantly rotated and playing host to a range of Hungarian cultural events, it is an excellent destination for those who love learning about new cultures.

Orly Museum Of Hungarian Culture is at 1720 Arch Street, Berkeley, 94709.

14- Drink Local Beer And Listen To Music

things to do in oakland and berkeley beer glass on vintage wooden surface
Drinking craft beer is another of the fun things to do in Berkeley.

Cornerstone Craft Beer & Live Music is a unique spot on the corner of Durant and Shattuck avenues that acts as a restaurant, taphouse, and live music venue.

At 13,000 square feet, the venue includes two full bars, 42 beer taps, two stages, a kitchen, and a beer garden with fire pits and ping pong tables.

It is an ideal destination for anyone hoping to enjoy a thrilling and unique evening out, dining on fabulous food, sampling amazing craft beers, listening to wonderful live entertainment, and generally having fun.

Cornerstone Craft Beer & Live Music is at 2367 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, 94704.

15- Stroll Around The Berkeley Rose Garden

things to do in berkeley california yellow roses
Wandering around the Rose Garden is one of the tranquil things to do in Berkeley.

Established in 1933, the Berkeley Rose Garden is a terraced amphitheatre boasting thousands of rose bushes of more than 100 different types.

Bordered to the north by tennis courts, to the south by groves of redwoods, evergreen oaks and bay trees, it also has stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s a lovely place to relax while surrounded by beautiful scenery and to smell the roses.

Berkley Rose Garden is at 1200 Euclid Avenue, Berkeley, 94708.

16- Cruise Around San Francisco Bay

things to do in berkeley boats moored in Berkeley Marina
Another of the things to do in Berkeley is to take a cruise from Berkeley Marina, which is west of the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80 and 580) at the foot of University Avenue on San Francisco Bay.

Berkeley is less of a tourist destination than some of the other, more famous cities in the region, yet it still provides many of the same opportunities.

With the Berkeley Marina offering ferry trips across to San Francisco, as well as smaller boats that tour the bay, you can explore the entire San Francisco Bay, both on land and water, with much smaller crowds than you would find when taking such a tour from one of the bigger cities.

Berkeley Marina, Berkeley, 94720.

17- Snap A Photo Beneath The Sather Gate

things to do in berkeley this weekend People walking beneath the Sather Gate
One of the things to do in Berkeley is to walk under the historic Sather Gate on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, which is a prominent landmark leading to Sproul Plaza.

Located at the edge of Sproul Plaza, the Sather Gate in the historic southern entrance to the University Of California, Berkeley.

Erected in 1910 and boasting Beaux-Arts architecture and ornate bronze metalwork, the gate was donated by the Sather family, who are among the main trustees and benefactors of the university.

Considered both a Berkeley and California Historic Landmark, while also listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places, it is a great place to snap a photo while appreciating one of the most important examples of the city’s art and history.

Sather Gate is on Sather Road, Berkeley, 94720.

18- Indulge Your Appetite At Skates On The Bay

fun things to do in berkeley pier at sunset
One of the fun things to do in Berkeley is to head to the pier at sunset for drinks and dinner.

Located on Berkeley Point, at the foot of Berkeley Pier, Skates On The Bay is a fabulous restaurant serving a combination of casual and gourmet American cuisine.

With its location offering the best views of any restaurant in the city, you can sit back, sip drinks, and dine on dishes like seafood, steaks, and sushi while relaxing and taking in your watery surroundings.

Skates On The Bay is at 100 Seawall Drive, Berkeley, 94710.

19- Support Local Athletes At Edwards Stadium

Located on the grounds of the University Of California, Berkeley, Edwards Stadium is the home venue of the school’s California Golden Bears soccer and track and field teams.

First opened in 1932, it boasts a seating capacity of 22,000, so there is plenty of space to come and cheer on the young athletes.

Its Art-Deco design and stunning views of the San Francisco Bay give you plenty to admire.

Edwards Stadium is at 2223 Fulton Street, Berkeley, 94704.

20- Watch A Game At Stu Gordon Stadium

what to do in berkeley
Checking out San Francisco Bay is one of the things to do in Berkeley.

Stu Gordon Stadium is the home ballpark of the University Of California, Berkeley California Golden Bears baseball team.

Known for being reasonably priced, spacious, and creating a family-friendly atmosphere, it is the perfect opportunity to relax while watching some baseball.

Stu Gordon Stadium is at Frank Schlessinger Way, Berkeley, 94720.

For more California ideas, see:

Previous article20 Things To Do In Merida Mexico
Next article20 Wisconsin Beaches
steve burden photo
Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.