Berkeley is a blast during the school year – the hustle and bustle of classes, club meetings, sports games and projects keeps students busy from August to May. However, a decent handful of students opt to stay in Berkeley for the summer months, whether they’re working or taking classes. Although campus isn’t as busy as usual, I’ve come to appreciate the quieter summer months in my college town. Here are a few of my favorite summer activities to do in Berkeley!
1. Take an art class through the Berkeley Art Studio
I took my first pottery class through the Berkeley Art Studio last fall, and it unlocked a new skill I never knew I had! I was fortunate enough to finish most of my pieces before Christmas break, and they made excellent handmade Christmas gifts for all of my friends and family. While I’ll be enrolling in intermediate pottery this summer, my roommate opted for a painting class. The studio holds open hours when classes aren’t in session where students can come in on their own time and practice or work on pieces. It’s an excellent outlet for when work gets a little monotonous, and you end the session with a great new decor piece or handmade gift!
2. Hike the Fire Trails
This one may seem like a no-brainer, since the fire trails are some of the best hiking trails in the bay area. However, I have a little advice – either go early in the morning to avoid the midday heat, or catch the stunning sunset – although the latter time is typically a little more crowded, this activity makes for a great way to end or begin your day.
3. Catch a show at the Hearst Greek Theater
I often say on my tours that Berkeley is one of the best places to go to college. Part of this is because of the plethora of live music available to the student body, whether it’s a local band in a coffee shop or a touring act at the Greek Theater. Located conveniently across the street from campus, the Greek is an excellent venue to see some of your favorite artists. If you’re a little short on cash (as many college students are) and don’t want to spend the money on a ticket, though, you’re in luck! The parking lot above the Greek, affectionately named “Cheapskate Hill”, still offers a great view into the stadium and perfect sound quality. The warm weather of the summer makes this spot particularly enjoyable. The next highly-anticipated show is this Sunday, June 5th – Rex Orange County!
4. Kayak at the Berkeley Marina
The Berkeley Marina is a lesser-visited spot in the East Bay, but offers a plethora of beautiful, beachfront views of San Francisco. Berkeley students are also able to kayak around the marina for free with their Cal ID – enjoy a break from the heat and a fun outdoor afternoon activity!
5. Get a library card
Turns out, libraries outside of the 24 on-campus ones exist! The Berkeley Public Library system is excellent, and getting a library card is quick, easy and free. I love spending the slower summer months catching up on reading that isn’t assigned by my professors. My personal favorite public library is the Elmwood branch – it has a cute little fireplace and a huge collection of all kinds of books to explore!
My favorite part of the summer break in Berkeley is exploring my college town without all the hectic-ness that comes with the school year. Fewer people are around during the summer, which allows me to appreciate the city of Berkeley for what it is – a quirky, unique, charming spot in the middle of one of the best parts of the United States. Summers in Berkeley have quickly become some of my favorite times of year, and I can’t wait to keep exploring this summer!