Monday, September 8, 2008

(Pseudo) Insider's Guide to Berkeley, CA

Determined to do more than just watch Will Ferrell movies and play with Sister's pooch Lucy, I am setting a goal of visiting at least one Berkeley/San Fran site each day of my stay here. Before I begin my quest, I decided to do a little research into this noted city. Fun facts about the city "next to" the Bay:

~ The city encompasses approximately 17 square miles (at least 7 of which is water), and contains about 100,000 people, resulting in one of the highest population densities in California. Average high temperature for September? 72 degrees :)

~ The city has been home to a diverse collection of people including Francis Ford Coppola (filmmaker), Adam Duritz (lead singer of Counting Crows), Daniel Ellsberg (author of the Pengaton Papers), Richard Gere (Pretty Woman hunk), Allen Ginsberg (famous 1950s beat poet), Whoopi Goldberg (actress), Patty Hearst (heiress and kidnap victim), Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Dorothea Lange (award-winning Depression era photographer), Timothy Leary (LSD researcher and coiner of the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out"), Country Joe McDonald (60s anti-war musician), Admiral Chester Nimitz (WWII commander of U.S. Pacific forces), Robert Oppenheimer (head of the Manhattan Project), Cindy Sheehan (anti-war protest lady), and Nicole Ritchie (tabloid fodder, party girl, Paris' ex-best friend?).

~ 35,000 undergrad and graduate students attend the first university in the California system - UC Berkeley. Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple, graduated from Berkeley, as did the fictional characters of Jack Bauer on 24, and C.J. Cregg on The West Wing. In (hopefully), just three short years, Brother-in-Law will join these famous alum as a graduate of Berkeley Law.

So, 8 hours into being in Berkeley, I'm already hooked. The area really seems similar to downtown Madison, by the campus/State Street area. Come to think of it, both cities are known for being hot-beds of liberal ideas, great academics, quirky shops, and fun people. That is a locale I can get on board with. I'm definitely soaking up the city life as much as possible before the permanent relocation to the north woods small town life in Whidbey. Below is the list of sites I'm hoping to explore on my own while Sis is at work and Bro-in-law is learning his lawyer stuff:

Buffalo Exchange - clothing store called the "Goodwill for trendsters" by Best of Berkeley website.
Cheese'N'Stuff - highly rated deli (plus, how fabulous is that name?).
Berkeley History Center and Historical Society - requisite educational excursion.
UC Berkeley
Moe's Books - 1960s era used bookstore
Paper Heaven - gifts, novelties, and (I would assume) schnazzy paper.

And that doesn't even include the 2-story Target or the sites in San Francisco! Hopefully, I'll stick to my plan, and have frequent updates and reviews of all my Berkeley finds :)


Anonymous,  September 8, 2008 at 6:57 PM  

Okay, first off, I can't believe you skipped the San Diego Zoo. I am glad, however, that you got to see Shamu. (Honestly, the best thing at the zoo was the Polar Bears and it seems you saw those elsewhere.)

Secondly, I'm not sure how long you will be in hippie-town (got to love anything Boulder or Madison-like), but I spent a week in SF last year and there is some AMAZING shopping at this little square... I forget what it's called, but if you google map the Macy's with the Cheesecake factory on the top floor, you should be set!


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