Arts & Culture

Be engaged.

Former President Bill Clinton. Skateboarder Tony Hawk. Professor of Public Policy and international commentator Robert Reich. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Business leader and former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul. Alternative rock band Wilco.

These are just some of the speakers, celebrities, and performers who recently visited our campus.

Berkeley is so much a part of who I am… - Author Joan Didion

At UC Berkeley, you’ll follow in the footsteps of an amazing political and literary heritage.

This is the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, when a student movement - led by Mario Savio - enabled advocacy by student organizations to take place on campus.

And among the literary lights that graced this campus are Poet Laureate Robert Hass and authors William T. Vollman, Rebecca Solnit, Joan Didion Michael Pollan, Czeslaw Milosz, Michael Chabon, Robert Pinsky, and many more.

Nearby neighborhoods hold their share of literary secrets. Did you know that sci-fi author Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner, Minority Report) moved into a converted barn at 2208 McKinley Avenue, which he shared with Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Gerald Ackerman? Allen Ginsberg lived in a cottage behind 1624 Milvia Street (he wrote parts of Howl there); and Jack Kerouac stayed at 1943 Berkeley Way.

As a Cal student, you can take advantage of an exciting variety of lectures, concerts, forums, seminars, festivals, plays, exhibits, and films offered by world-acclaimed scholars and performers—so many that you need to check the calendar of events to keep up.

Downtown Berkeley, a short walk from campus, offers four movie theaters (22 screens), bookstores, live music, highly-regarded theater, artist cooperatives, and many other cultural venues. You are also close to Oakland, with its own Chinatown, concert venues, and parks.

Learn more

Campus Calendar of Events

Cal Performances

Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

Free Speech Movement Digital Archive