Berkeley is a city with a small population and a big reputation. Berkeley is notable for its history of liberalism and social activism and famous around the globe as a center for academic achievement, scientific exploration, free speech and the arts. It has a refreshingly open-minded approach to life and the world in general.
Berkeley has a diverse life style with several theater and dance companies, and live music including jazz, folk, world music and indie rock. Many venues are family-driven and a bit smaller than you may be used to, but that just serves to make the experience more personal and unique. One of the main attractions is the Berkeley campus of the University of California with over 30,000 students, world-famous scientists, and is known as a world class academic center. Berkeley is also the site of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Berkeley has a Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and wet winters. Winter is punctuated with rainstorms of varying ferocity and duration, but it is also possible to see bright sunny days in winters. The upwelling ocean currents along the California coast help produce cool and foggy nights and mornings. Berkeley's location directly opposite the Golden Gate ensures that typical eastward fog flow blankets the city more often than its neighbors.
Berkeley is in the PST/GMT -8:00 time zone.
The currency unit is the US dollar (USD). Major credit cards are accepted at most hotels and many stores. Cash is preferred in many local restaurants.
Tipping and Tax
Published prices (including restaurant menus, taxi fares, supermarket prices) do not include consumer tax, which is 9.750% in Berkeley. Customers are expected to leave gratuity in restaurants.
The United States uses 110V and 60Hz AC electricity.
Things to do in Berkeley
Tilden Regional Park
Tilden Regional Park is one of the District's three oldest parks and its recreational activities have become a happy tradition for generations of East Bay youngsters. From a carousel ride and a picnic to a swim at Lake Anza and a stroll through the Botanic Garden, Tilden has variety to delight everyone. Tilden's 2,079 acres shelter the wildlife and preserve natural beauty.
University of California Botanical Garden
The collection of plants of largely wild origin in the UC Botanical Garden is one of the most diverse in the country. The University of California Botanical Garden was formally established in 1890 to form a living collection of the native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants of the State of California, with the intent to gather in as rapidly as possible those of the neighboring states of the Pacific Coast. The Garden is renowned for the diverse nature of the collection, including many rare and unusual plants.
Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley is so reminiscent of the 60's that you will feel as if you have traveled back in time when you visit Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. The shops and eateries are a mix of quintessential hippie-dom mixed with the current U.C. Berkeley modern day student. Both seem to blend together in a medley that makes shopping and eating here almost a cultural or historical trek as well as a great shopping one.
Berkeley Marina is s the westernmost portion of Berkeley. There are several restaurants, a hotel and a yacht club in the Berkeley Marina. There are also several walking and bicycle paths. The area is accessible from the rest of Berkeley by foot or bike over the Berkeley I-80 Bridge. Surge and rough water are eliminated by an entrance breakwater.
Things to do in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge and Park
You can see the Golden Gate Bridge from many points in San Francisco, but if you want to get a closer look, there are a lot of ways to do it. Walk onto the Golden Gate Bridge if you can. You can't really appreciate the size and height unless you've walked on it, at least a little way.
Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39
These two attractions are perhaps the most popular things to do in San Francisco. Fisherman's Wharf gets its name and neighborhood characteristics from the city's early days during the Gold Rush where Italian emigre fishermen settled in the area and fished for the Dungeness Crab. From then until present day it remained the home base of San Francisco's fishing fleet. A unique shopping and dining experience awaits you in Pier 39.
The San Francisco cable car system is an icon of San Francisco. It is the world's last permanently operational manually operated cable car system. For the visitor, San Francisco cable cars are not a means of transportation but a destination that will show you many of the city’s attractions, including Bombard Street and the spectacular views of the shoreline.
Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco. Alcatraz has served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison until 1963. In addition to its touristic appeal, its isolation has made it a popular prison figure in movies.
Lake Tahoe is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. It was formed about 2 million years ago and is a part of the Lake Tahoe Basin with the modern lake being shaped during the ice ages. There you can find a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions. You can also find large casinos on the Nevada side.
Napa Valley is only about 20 miles from Berkeley. It is famous for breathtaking views and is widely considered one of the top American Viticultural Areas in all of the United States. Stop by Napa Valley's boutique wineries to taste some of the world’s best wines.
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods is 12 miles to the north of San Francisco. It protects a large area of old growth Coast Redwood trees that can be found only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey to Oregon. The tallest tree in the Muir Woods is 258 feet (79 m) and the average age of the redwoods are between 500 and 800 years old with the oldest being at least 1,200 years old.
Transportation from San Francisco Airport to Claremont Hotel & Spa
Follow signs for Hwy 101 North to San Francisco, take Hwy 80 East to the Bay Bridge to Oakland. Cross Bay Bridge on Hwy 80, follow to 580 East, and exit onto HWY 24 to Berkeley/Walnut Creek. Take the Claremont Avenue exit, turning left at the bottom of the exit onto Claremont. Turn right on Ashby Avenue (5th stoplight) and the Hotel's entrance is two blocks ahead on the left.
By Public Transportation
Take BART towards Pittsburgh/Baypoint. Get off at the Rockridge BART Station. Take Bus 49 Counterclockwise. Get off the bus at Claremont Avenue-Ashby Avenue. Walk 3 minutes to the hotel.
By Airport Shuttle
There are van services available to take you directly to your hotel. They congregate one floor above the baggage claim at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Please refer to http://www.sftravel.com/shutl.html to make arrangements.