College Towns: Berkeley, California

Learn more about Berkeley, California – home of the University of California.

The Town: Berkeley

Set on the east shore of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley, California, is consistently rated as one of the best places to live. With a population of more than 110,000, it’s far more than a college town, although the University of California, Berkeley, is the heart of the city. Never too hot or too cold, the climate is temperate and usually cool and foggy.

The School: University of California, Berkeley

Look for the gold “C” nestled atop the Berkeley Hills and you’ll know you’re at UC Berkeley. Consistently rated as one of the best public universities in the country, it has long been known as the one of the most liberal, progressive universities in the United States. It was the heart of the counterculture in the 1960s.

North Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto” is home to a number of affordable fine dining options.

University Avenue runs from the shore of the bay through the entire campus. Despite a large student body (about 25,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduate students), there’s plenty of nature in and around campus. The school boasts the largest eucalyptus grove in the world, Tilden Regional Park, Aquatic Park and the Botanical Gardens, offering plenty of natural sanctuaries if you’re looking to take a break from your studying.

What To Do

The school’s progressive history lends itself to a high level of student activism. There are nearly 100 different political groups on campus and more than 700 overall.

Every year, the football season is highlighted by the Big Game with archrival Stanford. One of the biggest rivalries in college football, the winner is awarded possession of the Stanford Axe until the next year.

Where to Eat

North Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto” is home to a number of affordable fine dining options. Among those is Chez Panisse. Credited with the creation of California fusion cuisine, which mixes different ethnic foods and techniques, all meals are made from organic local food.

Did You Know?

During the 85th Big Game (1982), the Stanford marching band began rushing onto the field in what was thought to be a victory. On the last play of the game, Cal returned the kickoff for a touchdown that entailed numerous laterals. The last man with the ball reached the end zone and knocked down a trombone player, one of several Stanford band members who were in the end zone celebrating prematurely.

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