The top public university in the world, Cal is also Berkeley’s unofficial “Central Park."

UC Berkeley

Berkeley begins with the University of California campus, the sylvan and stone complex at the soulful heart of the city. Today, the UC Berkeley campus, or “Cal” to locals and students, serves as more than an academic enclave. It is Berkeley’s “Central Park,” a destination within the destination. (In fact, the co-architect of New York’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, was also instrumental in designing the University of California campus.)

Check out Visit Berkeley's “Cal Secret Spots” guide, created in collaboration with content company Bravo Your City!, available in both high-quality printed map and digital online formats. Berkeley travelers can pick one up at the Visitor Information Center, 2030 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley, or free digital versions at iBooks and Kindle.

Where is UC Berkeley?

UC Berkeley is located in Berkeley, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is approximately a 20 minute drive from San Francisco.

Berkeley's "Bear" territory, the 178-acre University of California, Berkeley campus is open to the public with beautifully landscaped grounds, historic architecture, redwood forests and and wonderful walking paths that cross campus to connect Downtown Berkeley, North Shattuck, and the Telegraph Avenue business districts.

People walking on a path by the UC Berkeley Forest Statue on the University of California Berkeley campus.

What is UC Berkeley known for?

UC Berkeley is a public university offering 184 academic programs over 14 different schools and colleges. They are best known for their top-ranking programs in the sciences, engineering, mathematics, and business, as well as their D1 athletics and flourishing student organizations.

Here are a 6 ideas for exploring UC Berkeley:

1. Hop on A Campus Tour

There are many ways to tour the campus -- starting with the fabulous new Koret Visitor Center located in historic California Memorial Stadium. There are also daily guided tours (reservations required) and self-guided sightseeing tour options.

2. Don't Miss The View from The Campanile

The best place to start any UC Berkeley exploration is the short but sweet elevator ride to the observation deck of the Campanile.

Panoramic view of the UC Berkeley campus buildings and paths from the Campanile observation deck.

3. Visit Strawberry Creek

This peaceful creek provides a cool oasis of foliage, surrounded by towering California redwoods. It’s the perfect spot to breathe in, breathe out, and get a little zen on campus.

4. Time Travel to Morrison Library

Located inside the larger Doe Library, Morrison Library opened in 1928 as a traditional library reading room, providing an ambient atmosphere for students to take a break from the rigors of academic life. It’s vaulted ceilings, and long wooden reading tables, still serve as a quiet refuge for students and visitors alike. One of the architectural treasures of the UC system, the library’s marble steps are also a popular spot for graduation photos.

5. Hunt for Founders Rock

Try to find Founders Rock at the corner of Hearst Ave and Gayley Road. Oak and eucalyptus trees shelter a jumble of lichen-encrusted stones -- but don't be fooled. This unassuming spot is the very heart of Berkeley. In 1860, more than a century before Mario Savio would initiate the Free Speech Movement on UC Berkeley’s campus, the trustees of the College of California in Oakland met to survey the land they had purchased for a new university.

6. Shop at Moe's Books

An icon and a historic landmark ever since the 1960s, Moe’s Books got its start in 1959 under the leadership of Moe Moskowitz. Originally founded on Shattuck Avenue, Moe’s Books was soon moved to Telegraph and Dwight, however, where it would bear witness to the tumultuous, counterculture Sixties scene. Today, Moe's is a superb independent bookstore with titles one might not easily find elsewhere. For example there's an entire section on Beatnik authors!

Bear statues in front of green hedges on UC Berkeley Campus in Berkeley, CA
Berkeley's Bear Territory
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