Are you headed for NoCal this year? Add Berkeley to your list of cities to visit. While most tourists will be off shivering in San Francisco, Berkeley enjoys almost perfect weather all year long. And you know what that’s perfect for? Enjoying the great outdoors!
Berkeley’s claim to fame has long been in its history of political activism, and the city really does know how to set the stage for a rally or two. The prime spot for demonstrating? The parks, of course!
While Berkeley’s People’s Park garnered fame for political demonstrations and protests in the 1960s, many other parks in town will inspire you to start your own movement—mostly a movement to linger in these fine spaces a little longer! Grab your spirit for protesting—and sightseeing—and head outdoors to these awesome Berkeley parks.
1.) Tilden Regional Park
The crown jewel of Berkeley’s parks is, without question, Tilden Regional Park. Set up on the hills east of town, the park sprawls across 2,079 acres. With more than 30 miles of trails of varying difficulty, it makes for a good spot to hike on a nice day, no matter your skill level. Make sure to check out Nimitz Way trail around dusk to catch it’s sunset views.
Tilden Regional Park isn’t just about hiking, though! It also features a Botanic Garden, which provides an in-depth look at the native plants of California. Other attractions include a golf course, miniature steam trains, a swim in Lake Anza, and a ride on a vintage carousel complete with wooden animals. Awesome!
2.) Indian Rock Park
Perched in the city’s Northbrae area, this 1.18-acre park will make your jaw drop over its views of the San Francisco Bay. Should you make the climb, you can marvel at downtown Oakland, the University of California Berkeley Campus, San Francisco proper, the Golden Gate Bridge, and even central Berkeley.
If you aren’t here for the views, you are probably at Indian Rock Park to rock climb. Rock climbers dream about the chance to scale Indian Rock Park, and the park is famous for being the spot where Dick Leonard, the father of modern rock climbing, honed his mountaineering techniques. Even if you’re just a beginner, Indian Rock Park will be an experience to remember!
3.) Cesar Chavez Park
Set in the marina area of northwest Berkeley, Cesar Chavez Park is a true comeback story. Originally a landfill, this space was transformed into a 90 acre public park, complete with paved trails, an Annual International Kite Festival, and views of three bay bridges, Alcatraz, and Angel Island. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade, am I right?
4.) Codornices Park
Between Eunice Street and Bayview Place in Berkeley, you’ll find the lovely Codornices Park. With a gorgeous perch up in the hills, this park is filled with hiking trails through groves of oak, bay, and redwood trees. Nature nuts, rejoice! If flowers are more your style, take a tunnel through the park to the Berkeley Rose Garden.
Opened in 1915, Codornices Park brags of being one of the first parks in Berkeley. It’s complete with baseball fields, a basketball court, and perhaps most notably, a 40 foot hill slide. Weeeeee!
5.) People’s Park
Last but not least, the famed People’s Park is a must-see if you’re in Berkeley. Set up east of Telegraph between Haste Street and Dwight Way, People’s Park will pull at your political heartstrings. Now a haven for Berkeley’s homeless population, People’s Park was originally created to host political rallies in the late 1960s. Today, it’s a testament to the city’s local history as a force for revolutionary social change.
Forget flower power. It’s all about the park power, am I right? Which parks in Berkeley are your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!