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Trip List by denverflora

If I only had 3 days in Berkeley...

Jun 19, 2006  SF Bay Area Native And UC Berkeley Alumnus
4.5 of 5 stars based on 14 votes

I would make sure to visit these attractions and restaurants in and around Berkeley. Sure, the list is heavy on the dining highlights, but that is one of the wonders of the Berkeley/San Francisco area--the food there is better than probably anywhere on earth, so enjoy all you can!

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Berkeley, Oakland
  • Category: Perfect weekend
  • Traveler type: Culture, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Business travelers, Couples/romantics, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Bette's Oceanview Diner
    Bette's Oceanview Diner, Berkeley, California

    DAY 1: BREAKFAST

    The name of this restaurant is misleading. There is no view here, but the food is good, the place is very popular, and like every other restaurant on this list, there is always a wait.

    Just be patient and remember that there is a reason so many people are lined up waiting for a table at the same places you are.

    While you are down here, take a quick walk around the 4th Street Business District, a relatively new (and upscale) commercial strip in Berkeley. The Takara Sake Brewery (see below) is near this area.

  • 2. Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden
    Regional Parks Botanic Garden, Berkeley, California

    DAY 1: AFTER BREAKFAST

    Stroll this beautiful, serene garden within Tilden Regional Park to help walk off breakfast. Here it is possible to view representative plants from every region of the state of California AND see a tree grown from a seed that was taken to the moon during one of the Apollo missions.

  • 3. Cha-Ya Japanese

    DAY 1: LUNCH

    Owned and operated by a former Buddhist monk, Cha-Ya on Shattuck Ave in North Berkeley is vegetarian heaven--everything on the menu is vegan. But not to worry, meat eaters will not be disappointed here. The super extensive menu is a little overwhelming at first, so just start somewhere, anywhere. Guaranteed, whatever you choose will be good.

    No reservations.

  • 4. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Factory Tour
    http://www.scharffenberger.com/

    DAY 1: AFTER LUNCH

    The factory located here in Berkeley makes some of the best chocolate in the U.S.! Visit the company website to make tour reservations in advance, as they are quite popular. Tours are free.

    Despite the fact that Hershey's bought the company last year, try and focus on the fact that this company began as a small, artisan chocolate maker, and it's chocolate is still amazing. Samples of chocolate bars and drinking chocolate are provided.

  • 5. Takara Sake Tasting Room
    http://www.takarasake.com/company/tastingRoom.htm

    DAY 1: AFTER LUNCH

    If there is time after Scharffen Berger, head over to the Sake Brewery's tasting room for a FREE taste of locally brewed sake.

  • 6. Zachary's Chicago Pizza
    Zachary's Chicago Pizza, Oakland, California

    DAY 1: DINNER

    Zachary's makes the best stuffed pizza. it's legendary, and it doesn't disappoint. Don't even think about ordering the thin pizza here! There are two locations--College Avenue in Oakland and Solano Avenue in Berkeley. If you plan to go to a reading at Mrs. Dalloway's after dinner, then go to the College Avenue Zachary's. Otherwise, you might go to the Solano Avenue location if it's more convenient.

    You WILL have to wait to get a table at either Zachary's, but the pizza will be worth the wait.

  • 7. Mrs. Dalloways Literary and Garden Arts
    http://www.mrsdalloways.com/aboutus.php

    DAY 1: AFTER DINNER

    In this day and age of internet book sales, you have to admire anyone brave enough to get into the independent book selling business.

    The owners of this small bookstore in Berkeley's Elmwood District are that brave, having just opened for business in 2004. They bring in many interesting authors for readings/book signings. If there is a reading on a night you are in town, you should expand your horizons and attend and show your support for real, live bookstores that bring in real, live authors.

  • 8. Fat Apples Restaurant and Bakery

    DAY 2: BREAKFAST

    Fat Apples is another Berkeley institution (though now there is another location in El Cerrito). Expect a wait for breakfast.

  • 9. Oakland-Alameda Ferry Trip to San Francisco
    http://www.eastbayferry.com/

    DAY 2: AFTER BREAKFAST

    A visit to Berkeley must include some time out on the bay and a trip to San Francisco. The Oakland-Alameda Ferry terminal is in Jack London Square in Oakland. From here, take the ferry to San Francisco's Ferry Building.

    The Ferry Building itself is an amazing place--a marketplace of the finest gourmet foods produced in the S.F. Bay Area. From here, if you have your walking shoes, you can walk (or take public transportation) to Chinatown, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill areas.

    Be sure and check out San Francisco City Guides FREE walking tours held every day of the week in one or more of the above named neighborhoods. See their website for walking tour schedules: www.sfcityguides.org

    After exploring San Francisco, enjoy a nice (early) dinner by the bay at one of the Ferry Building's restaurants, and then return to Jack London Square by ferry.

    Be sure and pick up a loaf of Acme Bread Company's Pain Au Levain at the Ferry Building. Forget that other stuff sold in San Francisco and listed on tourist maps. This is one of the best loaves of bread you will ever taste.

    TIP: If you park at the Ferry Terminal in Jack London Square, make sure to get your ticket validated on the ferry!

  • 10. Yoshi's Jazz Club, Jack London Square
    http://www.yoshis.com/

    DAY 2: AFTER DINNER

    It's been a long day, but you only have 3 days, so you can't stop now!! Since you'll be in Jack London Square anyway, stop in for a show at the world famous Yoshi's Jazz Club just around the corner from the ferry terminal. You COULD get dinner at Yoshi's Japanese Restaurant instead of dining at the Ferry Building, but I've heard only lukewarm reviews about the food (I've never been to the restaurant). Besides, if you went to Cha-Ya, you've already had the best Japanese food around!

    The restaurant at Yoshi's is separate from the jazz club. By all means, go to the jazz club! Hear world renowned performers in a wonderful, intimate, smoke-free space. Those of us from smokier regions of the country, in particular, can appreciate listening to great music without all the smoke often found in jazz venues.

    You should buy tickets in advance.

  • 11. Rick & Ann's
    Rick & Ann's, Berkeley, California

    DAY 3: BREAKFAST

    Another "expect to wait" Berkeley favorite.

  • 12. Walking Tour of UC Berkeley Campus
    http://www.berkeley.edu/visitors/free_tours.html

    DAY 3: AFTER BREAKFAST

    Visit the birthplace of the 1960s Student Free Speech Movement.

    Free 90 minute campus walking tours are offered every day. No reservations are required for groups of less than 10 people. Weekday tours leave at 10 AM from the Visitor Center at 101 University Hall, 2200 University Ave, located at the corner of University Avenue and Oxford Street. Weekend tours leave from the clock tower in the center of campus (10 AM Saturday and 1 PM Sunday).

  • 13. Oakland's Rockridge District
    http://www.sfgate.com/traveler/guide/eastbay/neighborhoods/rockridge.s...

    DAY 3: LUNCH

    Though you may be tempted by all the gourmet offerings in this upscale College Avenue neighborhood, go light on lunch (a bagel would be perfect) because the after lunch treat is the main event over here. And we have big plans for dinner.

  • 14. Bittersweet Chocolate Cafe
    http://www.bittersweetchocolatecafe.com/

    Day 3: AFTER LUNCH

    This place, maybe even more than Scharffen Berger (can that be?), is chocolate heaven. Several different types of gourmet hot cocoa are available here, as is an amazingly diverse retail selection of chocolate bars. This place is a MUST for any chocolate lovers out there.

    Get a cup of cocoa, relax, and enjoy one of life's greatest pleasures!

  • 15. Oakland Museum of California
    Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

    Day 3: AFTER LUNCH

    Near Lake Merrit in Oakland, the Oakland Museum of California is devoted to the colorful history of California. It often has special exhibits and is definitely worth a visit. The special exhibit at the moment is the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

  • 16. Skates on the Bay
    Skates on The Bay, Berkeley, California

    DAY 3: BEFORE DINNER

    Skates, on the waterfront in the Berkeley Marina, has the best view of any restaurant in Berkeley. Come for a drink in the bar and enjoy the view before going elsewhere for dinner.

  • 17. Chez Panisse Restaurant & Cafe
    Chez Panisse, Berkeley, California

    Day 3: DINNER & GRAND FINALE

    Yes, it really is as good as they say. Make a reservation in advance for the upstairs cafe, and far in advance for the downstairs dining room. The food here is special, so make this meal your last dinner in Berkeley.