The vibrant college community of Berkeley is as rich as ever with food, music and cafe culture—
Berkeley is a “buy local” kind of place, with independent merchants and craftspeople lining walkable business districts. It’s also a great place for discovery. The city’s twists and turns of terrain give its neighborhoods room to establish independent personas, mantras and moods.
From foodie North Shattuck and stylish Fourth Street, to hip-hop Telegraph and chic Solano, each of Berkeley’s “boroughs” has hyper-local authenticity.
In our neighborhood….
Solano Avenue is a local treasure with the charm of a small town and an unmatched array of restaurants and retail establishments – including professional and personal services. A mile from top to bottom, Solano Avenue stretches across the Albany/Berkeley border with an abundance of shopping and dining possibilities and is the home of September’s classic festival, the Solano Stroll.
GOURMET GHETTO – One mile away
The North Shattuck area has been popularly known as the “Gourmet Ghetto” since the 1970’s because of its concentration of innovative restaurateurs including Alice Waters, whose world renowned Chez Panisse Restaurant is considered as the cradle of California cuisine.
Restaurants, boutiques, and galleries in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto share an emphasis on unique, artisan-made products and services. Sidewalk cafes, flower stands, bakeries and fine food purveyors lend the area a wonderful European ambiance. The heart of the district is the vibrant intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street, but North Shattuck extends along Shattuck from Delaware to Rose streets.
The Gourmet Ghetto is alive day and night with music at the Cheeseboard Pizzeria, Mint Leaf, Saul’s, and La Fable in Walnut Square, and wine tasting each afternoon at Vintage Berkeley Wine Shop. The North Shattuck Association has worked to bring a full calendar of events to the area. On Thursday afternoons year-round, The North Berkeley Farmers’ Market features all organic produce, locally caught fish, baked goods and other specialties in a vibrant street market near Rose St. A walking culinary tasting tour is offered a partnership with Edible Excursions twice per week, with stops around the district for tasty samples and a behind-the-scenes experience with local chefs. The ACCI Gallery, Firehouse North Gallery, and nearby Berkeley Art Center host artist receptions each month, along with films, workshops, and artist talks.
– Two miles away
Berkeley’s Fourth Street is a shopping destination with world-class restaurants and retailers offering creative merchandise of high quality and contemporary design. Wide, walkable sidewalks and all the amenities make Fourth Street a leading Bay Area retail retreat.
The street itself is a real accomplishment: lots of nice stores and several good restaurants in an intimate, small-scale setting where it’s easy to walk around the entire place.
Fourth Street is the most upscale shopping district in Berkeley, and one of the most original in the Bay Area. You don’t come here to buy things you need, you come here to buy things you want. Located as it is just off Highway 80 and Berkeley’s main thoroughfare, University Avenue, it draws well-heeled shoppers from all points of the compass. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just like any fancy shopping district anywhere, though; it could definitely exist only in Berkeley.
– Two miles away
UC Berkeley is one of the world’s leading educational and intellectual centers. It is renowned for the distinction of its faculty and students, and sets a climate of “thought leadership” that makes Berkeley a place filled with great ideas (as well as a fun college town!).
The 178-acre “Cal” campus, open to the public, also serves as Berkeley’s unofficial “Central Park,” with beautifully landscaped grounds, historic architecture, and tranquil, wooded walking paths that cross campus to connect Downtown Berkeley, North Shattuck/Gourmet Ghetto, and the Telegraph Avenue business districts.
Ready for your back-to-school experience? UC Berkeley offers interesting lectures, film and cultural events open to visitors on an ongoing basis.