Life in the Bay

Be curious.

One of the advantages of attending UC Berkeley is your close proximity to world-class destinations such as San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and the Sierra Mountains. It’s the perfect place for adding cultural exploration to your educational experience.

The campus itself, situated near the City of Berkeley, is lush and tranquil, a 1,232-acre campus scattered with tree groves, landmark architecture, and a flowing creek--all overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Fun fact: Berkeley, CA was voted #6 in America's Top 100 Best Places to Live 2015 by Livability

Movie Theatres

California Theatres

The Shattuck Cinemas is the perfect place to go for Hollywood favorites, foreign cinema, and is just one block from the campus. Students enjoy the Screening Lounge™, with unique seating options of home-style couches, loveseats, chairs and ottomans.

Pacific Film Archive

A place to explore cinema from every film-producing country in the world, the Pacific Film Archive reaches out through the art of cinema to the many cultures that make up the lively Bay Area community. No food is allowed, but the films are unique and inexpensive.

Rialto Cinemas Elmwood

Rialto Cinemas is known for showing its best independent, foreign and specialty films from around the world. The theater works with community groups and non-profit organizations to present events that bring new customers to the theatre and to the neighborhood.

Shattuck Cinemas

The California Theatre has a 70mm screen and plays a mix of Hollywood favorites and edgy independent fare. Staff at this theater take the time to personally introduce each movie before it starts.

UA Berkeley 7

Want to catch a movie after class? UA Berkeley 7 is conveniently located on Shattuck. Typically first-run mainstream films.

Coffee Shops

Cafe Milano

Across the street from campus with free wi-fi. Win-win! The baristos do latte art (smiley face) as a bonus.

Caffe Strada

Ranked the 8th best college cafe in America, this is the perfect coffee shop to people watch, catch up on reading, or meet up with friends. A Berkeley tradition is to treat a new resident to a latte here.

Caffe Mediterraneum

Home of the cafe latte and established in 1957, the Med has witnessed the Beat Generation, Free Speech Movement and creation of People’s Park. Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Jerry Rubin and Patty Hearst were all regulars.

Philz Coffee

Brewing one cup at a time! Phil believes coffee is personal and social, and he wanted to make sure each cup taste really great.Phil decided to craft his own coffee station, which would allow him to make each cup individually.

Peet’s Coffee and Tea

Berkeley is home to the first ever Peet’s Coffee & Tea at Walnut and Vine. But, you can check out their beverages on campus.


Berkeley Thai House

Pad See Ew and garlic pepper pork are some favorite dishes. Thai iced-tea anyone?

Blondies Pizza

"Make Pizza, Not War" is the slogan for this venerable Berkeley institution. Their daily specials are a great value.

Pappy's Grill

Built on the site of the legendary Blake's, Pappy's Grill breathes new life—and great burgers—into the space.


The joint is jumping for coffee, drinks, and food. Recently the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society held an informal pub chat with a visiting scholar.

Joshu-ya Brasserie

 Rising Star Executive Chef Jason Kwon is the draw at this eaterie.


The Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)

One of the largest university art museums in the U.S. BAM has featured works by Joan Brown, Paul Gauguin, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Jackson Pollock, among others. The PFA Library and Film Study Center is one of the major film reference services in the country.

The Lawrence Hall of Science

Established in honor of Ernest Orlando Lawrence, UC's first Nobel laureate, this public science center features hands—on exhibits and activities, for parents, kids, and educators. And, oh, what a view!

Good Places To Take Your Parents

Off the Grid

Every Wednesday in North Berkeley and every Thursday in South Berkeley, food trucks meet to serve fusion foods. For a sinfully delicious treat, buy one of CupKates' salted caramel confections.

College Avenue

Only a stroll away from campus, College Avenue offers a great mix of local shops and cozy restaurants. Hop on the 51B bus and ride down to Jeremy's (corner of Ashby & College) to shop for discounted designer clothes. And then hit Ici across the street for a scoop of Earl Grey home-made ice cream.

Berkeley Farmers’ Market

Located at Center Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way, this market is held three times a week. Look for the Coracao's booth and its Mocha Milk.

The Cheese Board COLLECTIVE

In 1971, this Collective—100% worker-owned business—was created. Eating pizza from the Cheese Board on the Shattuck Avenue median is a Berkeley tradition.

The Big C

Weather permitting, the hike to the Big C is the place to go for breathtaking views. Go behind Bowles Hall to the wide parking lot. (Foothill Parking lot). Walk towards the direction of the stadium, and you'll see the beginning of the trail.