To prepare for your day exploring the outdoors, we recommend fueling up with organic fare from The Sunnyside Café in downtown Berkeley. For something lighter yet nutrient-dense, opt for a smoothie at the nearby Juice Appeal.
Berkeley boasts two world-class botanic gardens. The University of California Botanical Garden is set in Strawberry Canyon, overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Its 34 acres contain plants from around the world arranged by region and include a Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden and Rainforest House. Famous for its large number of rare and endangered species, it’s a delightful setting for a stroll (or a wedding!).
Over in Tilden Park’s Wildcat Canyon, the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden is dedicated to the native plant life of California’s many clearly defined floral areas, such as seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and two kinds of desert. Reputed to contain the largest collection of California native plants in the world, it is tucked neatly into the beautiful Berkeley Hills. For those without the time to get to Muir Woods, the garden offers its own stunning cathedral of towering redwoods.
One of Berkeley’s many parks, the Berkeley Municipal Rose Garden is considered by many to be the finest rose garden in Northern California. This beautiful setting is graced with 3,000 rose bushes (representing some 250 varieties). Right next to the spectacularly thorny vines are the Rose Garden Tennis Courts, with a view that will make it hard for you to keep your eye on the ball!
Head west to Berkeley’s bayfront, a recreation hub with many activities for all ages. The Berkeley Marina is headquarters for boating, fishing and fresh air. Fine dining restaurants provide breathtaking views of SanFrancisco Bay and the working marina; bay and dining cruises embark for fun-filled voyages. Outdoor recreation opportunities include the Adventure Playground, the Shorebird Nature Center, an off-leash dog area, and the San Francisco Bay Trail, part of 90-acre Cesar Chavez Park.
As daylight fades on a gorgeous Northern California day, follow the setting sun for dinner at Skates on the Bay. The Berkeley Marina restaurant has best-in-Berkeley waterfront views and a menu that spotlights sparkling fresh seafood and savory steaks. As night falls, Skates’ picture windows fill with twinkling stars and San Francisco’s city lights brightly reflecting across the bay.