If you’re looking for a fun and interesting city to explore, look no further than Berkeley. Situated in the San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley is home to a diverse population and a variety of things to see and do. From its vibrant downtown area to its picturesque parks and gardens, you’ll never run out of things to do in this vibrant city. To help you plan your trip, here are 16 Best and Fun Things to Do in Berkeley. Enjoy!
Things to Do in Berkeley, California
1. Berkeley Marina
The Berkeley Marina is one of the top tourist attractions in Berkeley and a great place to enjoy stunning views of San Francisco Bay. The marina is home to a number of restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as the Berkeley Yacht Club.
Visitors can stroll along the marina’s promenade, go for a run or bike ride, or stroll through the adjacent Shorebird Park Nature Reserve. There are also several piers where you can fish or go for a swim.
If you’re looking for things to do in Berkeley with kids, the marina is home to the popular Adventure Playground, where children can play on wooden pirate ships, build forts, and zip down slides. There’s also a carousel and miniature train that kids will love. The marina is also a great place to watch the sunset or enjoy a picnic while taking in sweeping views of the Bay Area. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
2. Aftel Archive of Curious Scents
Do you love exploring new smells and learning about the history of fragrance? Then, you’ll want to add the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents to your Berkeley bucket list. This unique museum is devoted to the art and science of scent and features a collection of over 300 natural and synthetic botanical essences.
Visitors can explore the museum’s collection through guided smell tours. These tours take place in the Fragrance Library, where visitors can smell different botanical essences. In addition to the scents, you’ll also find a library of books on the history of perfume.
In general, this is a great place if you’re looking for unique and fun things to do in Berkeley. This is a must-visit for anyone who loves fragrance or is interested in learning more about the history of perfume.
3. University of California Botanical Garden
The University of California Botanical Garden is one of the most popular Berkeley’s attractions for nature lovers. This 34-acre oasis is home to more than 10,000 different kinds of plants from all over the world.
The gardens are divided into different sections, including a California native garden, Eastern North America, the deserts of the Americas, the Canary Islands, Central & South America, Australia, the Mediterranean Basin, Asia, and South Africa. The diversity of plant life is amazing, and the gardens are beautiful all year round.
A scenic trail winds through the gardens, and visitors can also take a self-guided audio tour. Picnic tables are available in four different areas for a perfect lunch spot surrounded by nature.
In addition to being a top tourist attraction, the University of California Botanical Garden is also a center for research and education. The garden offers programs and courses for both adults and children, as well as internships.
Even if you’re not a plant enthusiast, I think you’ll enjoy strolling through the peaceful gardens and admiring the beauty of nature. And if you are interested in learning more about plants, the UC Botanical Garden is an excellent place to do so. There is also a small gift shop on site where you can purchase books and souvenirs.
4. Sather Tower and the U.C. Berkeley Campus
Sather Tower, also known as the Campanile, is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the U.C. Berkeley campus and a top tourist attraction in Berkeley. Constructed in 1914, the 307-foot tower is the third-tallest bell and clock tower in the world.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the tower, which includes climbing upstairs to the observation deck for sweeping views of the Bay Area and Berkeley. On a clear day, you can see as far as the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s skyline.
The U.C. Berkeley campus is also worth exploring, especially for architecture and history buffs. Some of the top sights include the Hearst Greek Theatre, where world-famous performers have graced the stage, and Sproul Plaza, the center of student life on campus.
A visit to Berkeley wouldn’t be complete without seeing the famous Sather Gate, a beautiful arched entryway that’s one of the most photographed spots on campus. Make sure to also wander through the campus’s many gardens and green spaces.
5. Berkeley Rose Garden at Codornices Park
The Berkeley Rose Garden at Codornices Park is one of the most beautiful places in Berkeley for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. This 3-acre public garden is home to more than 250 varieties of roses, making it one of the largest and most diverse public rose gardens in the country.
Visitors can stroll along the paths and take in the fragrant smells of the roses. The best time to visit the garden is during the peak bloom season, from April to May. The garden is also open during the winter months when the roses are not in bloom, but the views are still stunning.
Whether you’re a rose lover or not, the Berkeley Rose Garden is definitely worth a visit. It’s one of the top tourist attractions in Berkeley, and it’s a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.
6. Indian Rock Park
Berkeley’s Indian Rock Park is a great spot for hiking, picnicking, and rock climbing. The park features a number of trails with beautiful views of San Francisco Bay.
Indian Rock Park is also a popular spot for rock climbing. There are a number of routes to choose from, ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. If you’re new to rock climbing, there are plenty of classes and clinics offered in the Berkeley area to help you get started.
If you are looking for things to do in Berkeley with kids, Indian Rock Park is a great option. The park has a playground and picnic area where families can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. So no matter what your interests are, this is a great place to spend a day outdoors.
7. Tilden Regional Park
Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park is one of the best places to enjoy the outdoors in the Bay Area. This 2,077-acre park features something for everyone with over 40 miles of hiking and biking trails, a botanical garden, a steam train, picnicking areas, a golf course, and much more.
One of the top attractions in Tilden Regional Park is Little Farm. This working farm allows visitors to get up close and personal with farm animals, including pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and sheep. Families will also enjoy a ride on the historic Steam Train. This narrow-gauge railway has been in operation since 1891 and takes passengers on a 3-mile journey through the redwoods. Tickets can be purchased at the station.
For those looking for a challenging hike, I recommend heading to Seaview Trail. This 3.1-mile trail takes you through oak woodlands, meadows, and redwood groves. The hike can be strenuous in parts, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.
Tilden Regional Park was one of my favorite places in Berkeley, and I think it’s a great place to spend a day or two exploring. Be sure to check the website for a full list of things to do and see in the park.
8. Lawrence Hall of Science
The Lawrence Hall of Science is another one of the top attractions in Berkeley for science lovers of all ages. This science museum is located above the UC Berkeley campus and features a planetarium, animal Discovery Room, Ingenuity Challenges Lab, and a Young Explorers Area.
The Planetarium shows are very popular and offer a unique perspective of the night sky. The Animal Discovery Room is always a hit with kids as they can pet and learn about a variety of animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises, and lizards. The Ingenuity Challenges lab helps budding engineers learn about the principles of engineering through hands-on activities. And the Young Explorers Area is geared towards kids ages 3-5, featuring climbing structures, water play, and other fun activities.
Visitors can also take advantage of the many educational programs offered at the Lawrence Hall of Science. So whether you’re young or old, I think you’ll enjoy exploring the Lawrence Hall of Science. It’s a great place to learn about science and have some fun.
9. Telegraph Avenue
Telegraph Avenue is one of the most popular places to visit in Berkeley. This lively street is the center of Berkeley’s student life and is full of shops, cafes, and restaurants catering to the university crowd.
Some top tourist attractions on Telegraph Avenue include Amoeba Music, an enormous independent music store that has an incredible selection of CDs and vinyl records: Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which houses an impressive collection of art and film; Moes Alley, a music venue that features live blues, jazz, and soul performances; The Berkeley Flea Market, held every Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm; and Yali’s Cafe, a popular spot for breakfast or lunch.
Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, unique gifts, or just want to explore Berkeley’s vibrant downtown area, Telegraph Avenue is a great place to start.
10. Habitot Children’s Museum
Habitot Children’s Museum is another top attraction in Berkeley that’s perfect for families with young children. The museum’s hands-on, interactive exhibits are designed to spark creativity and imagination in kids aged 0-5.
Kids can explore different materials in the Art Studio and create their own masterpieces. The Waterworks exhibit lets little ones experiment with pumps, pipes, and water flow. Kids can role-play in the Cityscapes exhibit, pretending to be a construction worker, doctor, or grocery store clerk. And everyone will enjoy the Bubble Garden, where you can blow giant bubbles.
Habitot offers a variety of classes and workshops for kids, families, and educators. So whether you have young kids or not, this museum is a fun place to explore and one of the top things to do in Berkeley.
11. The Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets
The Ecology Center Farmers’ Markets offer the perfect opportunity to stock up on fresh, local, and sustainable produce while supporting small farmers. There are three markets in Berkeley: Downtown Berkeley, South Berkeley, and North Berkeley.
All of the markets feature a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, honey, cheese, flowers, and other local products. You can also find prepared food vendors offering lunch and snack options. Many vendors accept cash, credit, and EBT/SNAP benefits.
The Ecology Center also offers cooking demos and educational programs at the markets. Be sure to check the website for events and programs happening during your visit.
12. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, or BAMPFA for short, is one of the top tourist attractions in Berkeley you won’t want to miss. The museum is home to an impressive collection of art from around the world, as well as a comprehensive archive of films ranging from classics to contemporary works.
BAMPFA offers visitors a variety of ways to engage with the art on display. Guided tours are available for those who want to learn more about the collection, or you can simply enjoy a self-guided tour at your own pace.
In addition to the galleries, BAMPFA also has a state-of-the-art theater that screens independent, international, and classic films. I recommend checking the website in advance to see what’s playing during your visit. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.
If you’re a fan of art or film, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is a top attraction you won’t want to miss. Even if you’re not particularly interested in either art or film, it’s still worth checking out this world-class museum and film archive.
13. BioFuel Oasis
Next on my list of top Berkeley attractions is BioFuel Oasis, a community-based organization that educates the public about sustainable energy sources. One of their goals is to make biodiesel fuel accessible and affordable to everyone.
BioFuel Oasis offers free workshops on how to make biodiesel fuel from used cooking oil. They also sell biodiesel fuel by gallon or in bulk. In addition, they sell all the supplies and equipment needed to make biodiesel fuel at home.
If you’re interested in learning more about sustainable energy sources, BioFuel Oasis is a great place to start. Attend one of their workshops or drop by their store to chat with their friendly staff. You might even walk away with some biodiesel fuel for your car.
14. Gourmet Ghetto
The Gourmet Ghetto is a food lover’s paradise and one of the top tourist attractions in Berkeley. The area got its start in the 1970s when Berkeley resident Alice Waters changed the way we think about food with her focus on fresh, local ingredients at her restaurant Chez Panisse.
Today, the Gourmet Ghetto is home to some of the best restaurants in Berkeley, including Via del Corso, Lo Coco’s, Cafe Fanny, Gregoire, Cheeseboard Pizza, and Gather. There are also several top-notch coffee shops and bakeries in the area, including Crixa Cakes, Philz Coffee, and Peet’s Coffee.
Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a fine dining experience, the Gourmet Ghetto is sure to have something to suit your taste. And with so many great things to do in Berkeley within walking distance, it’s the perfect place to spend a day exploring. Be sure to bring your appetite!
15. Adventure Playground
For a different kind of Berkeley attraction, check out Adventure Playground, an outdoor playground where kids can play and explore to their heart’s content. This unique playground is designed to spark creativity and imagination, with plenty of opportunities for kids to build, paint, hammer, and get dirty. The playground is staffed with trained playworkers who are there to facilitate fun and help manage any risk.
There are also several “secret” play areas hidden around the playground, which can be discovered by following clues left by the staff. Kids must be accompanied by an adult at all times, but adults are not allowed to play on the equipment (unless they’re accompanying a child). This ensures that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
So if you’re looking for something different to do with your kids (or grandkids), Adventure Playground is a great option. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Berkeley if you’re looking for something fun and different.
16. East Bay Vivarium
If you’re looking for something a little different, the East Bay Vivarium is one of the top Berkeley attractions you need to visit. This store is not your typical pet shop; it specializes in reptiles and amphibians. They have a wide variety of animals to choose from, including snakes, lizards, frogs, and turtles.
In addition to being able to purchase animals, the East Bay Vivarium also offers adoption services. They have a wide variety of adoptable reptiles and amphibians, including some that are rare or endangered. They also offer adoption counseling to make sure you’re matched with the perfect animal for your home.
I loved this place because it’s a great place to learn about reptiles and amphibians. They offer classes on everything from basic care to advanced topics like breeding. They also have a wide variety of books and other resources available for use in the store.
There you have it, my top tourist attractions in Berkeley. Be sure to add these must-see sights and activities to your itinerary. And if you have time, explore some of the other great things to do in Berkeley, like visiting one of the many museums, hiking in the Berkeley Hills, or stroll through one of the many parks. I hope you enjoy exploring this beautiful city and all it has to offer.