Life in the Bay Area

There are many things to explore in the Bay Area.

Here's a list of activities and recommandations curated by international employees at Berkeley Lab!

disclaimer: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory does not endorse these venues


  • Cesar Chavez park (Berkeley Marina, 30min hike), stunning at sunset, great walks

  • Fire Trail (Berkeley), entrance a little before Botanical garden (3h hike)

  • Tilden Park (Berkeley hills): wild cat canyon hike, inspiration point (1h20 hike)

  • Lake Anza (Berkeley hills): 30 min hike; It is gorgeous, and a place of quiet; excellent if you want to bring a book

  • Huckleberry preserve (Berkeley/Oakland skyline boulevard, 1h hike)

  • Mountain View cemetery (Oakland, 1h): great views of the bay, solemn setting but not spooky.

  • Pinole Point (Richmond, 1h30 hike), wonderful at sunset

  • Redwood regional park (1–2 hours) many trails, very varied landscapes

  • Pinehurst East Ridge (start from Pinehurst Staging area – map)

  • Briones Crest trail loop (Orinda, 4 hours, or Lafayette Ridge staging area is open. It’s a very long hike, and portions can be steep. Plan at least 3h!)

  • Mt Diablo (Walnut Creek): stunning view of the highest peak in the Bay

  • Angel island (daylong hike, you need to take the ferry from Tiburon)


Museum, theaters and music venues


  • Cal Performances (world-class concerts, classical)

  • Berkeley Rep (theatre)

  • Freight and Salvage

  • Jazz conservatory

  • UC Theatre

  • Cal Shakes

  • Shattuck cinemas

  • Grand Lake theatre (Oakland, Wurlitzer organ)

  • Fox Theatre (Oakland)

Restaurants and Bars


  • Chez Panisse (birth of California cuisine)

  • Cheeseboard (pizza institution)

  • La Note (brunch institution)

  • Millenium (vegan food)

  • Vik’s Chaat

  • Great China

  • IMM (street Thai food)

  • Kiraku (excellent Izakaya)

  • Bette’s Ocean Diner (brunch institution)


  • Jupiter

  • Comal

  • Skates on the bay (Berkeley Marina, excellent view for sunset view for sunset)

  • Fieldwork (West Berkeley)