Berkeley, California: 5 Things We Love

A visit to Berkeley soon reveals that is nearly impossible to pin this university town down.

Sather Tower at University of California, Berkeley.

Rafael Ramirez Lee

The downtown district at the edge of the University of California, Berkeley, long an arts and entertainment pacesetter, hit a fresh stride in the past year with the opening of an eye-catching modern art museum and cultural center.

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive mounts rotating shows of paintings, photos, and sculptures, and presents evening movie series and Saturday matinees.

Half Moon Bay Brewing Company’s saison is a perfect companion when the warmth of a late-summer day yields to evening chill off the bay. Find it on tap at Pacific Standard, the brewery’s outlet on Center Street.

The Berkeley Repertory Theatre routinely wins national attention for productions such as Marcus Gardley’s 2014 The House That Will Not Stand. Audiences viewing current plays at Peet’s Theatre, one of the Rep’s three stages, enjoy a state-of-the-art sound system.

During the annual Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, you can catch floor-stomping tunes at various venues, including the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. It hosts banjo and mandolin players, an open jam session, fiddle workshops, and more.

Gather has been pleasing food-savvy patrons since 2009 but still feels fresh. Vegetables star in seasonal plates such as snap peas with cashew hummus and harissa. Every dish is made with sustainable ingredients.