Tragically hip, young and idealistic, most of Berkeley’s population wouldn’t be caught dead in a mall. Instead of massive national chains and faceless corporations, shopping in Berkeley is typified by small, locally-owned shops, trendy boutiques and the kitschy, colorful stores of every kind.
A broad, shady boulevard absolutely packed with shops and pedestrians,
is Berkeley’s premier shopping thoroughfare. With elegant stores, local favorites and cute cafés, the street is a great place to stroll and spend the day, even if you’re not in a buying mood.
Another favorite shopping spot is
in North Berkeley, a mile-and-a-quarter of restaurants and retail that every year also plays host to the Solano Stroll, a festival that for the day absolutely inundates the street with food booths, craft stands and entertainers.
More generally, Berkeley—thanks to its vibrant arts scene and surfeit of writing talent—is also known for its bookstores (there are more than 50 in the city, including some great independently-owned shops) and its galleries, which show and sell works of tomorrow’s art superstars.
Also worth checking out is the
Berkeley Farmers Market
, which is held year-round, rain or shine, Saturdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and offers the best in locally grown produce and a particularly fantastic selection of organic crops.