What Makes Berkeley Such A Cultural City?

A recent study places Berkeley at the top of the list of the most cultural student cities in the world.

When we think about the most cultural cities in the US, major metros like San Francisco, New York, New Orleans and Boston often spring to mind. But believe it or not, Berkeley has become a top choice for travelers seeking a culture fix.

In fact, in a recent piece of research on the most cultural student cities in the world, Berkeley took the top spot! Why is this, and what kinds of cultural opportunities does the city of Berkeley actually offer?

1. Museums!

From classic to curious, Berkeley is absolutely filled with museums. Check out this new report from Mary Charlebois at Travel Awaits -- we couldn't have said it any better than this!

2. Foodie Haven

Culinary culture pulsates throughout Berkeley. For those looking for the ultimate foodie haven, Berkeley offers something to suit all taste buds. Whether you're looking to grab a quick bite at one of the city's many artisan food outlets, or something a little bit more structured, Berkeley is absolutely jam-packed with options.

Foodies might love visiting Berkely during restaurant week to get special deals at more than 35 restaurants citywide.

Patrons sit at patio tables along the street at the Cheese Board Pizza Collective in Berkeley, CA.

2. Diversity At Its Finest

Berkeley's population of 122,000 is extremely diverse. This comes as no surprise when one considers the ongoing diversity initiatives at the University of California - Berkeley, whose international student body helps shape the city’s “everyone is welcome” vibe.

In a recent poll, it was found that the university achieved a diversity score of 87 out of 100, and an impressive diversity rank of 94 out of 2,475 US academic institutions. Staying true to its word, the university even offers a fully-fledged department devoted to Cultural Studies, with specializations in the following areas:

  • African American studies
  • Asian studies
  • Buddhism
  • Near Eastern studies
  • Latin American culture
  • Many others....
A photo of the People's Park mural by artists Osha Neumann and Brian Thiele in Berkeley, CA.

3. Celebrating Culture Through Art

The city of Berkeley is also home to a full range of live music venues. If you're looking for the ultimate night out with friends, check out these venues:

In the summer months, the music scene comes alive even more. Read more about the summer music scene in Berkeley.

If you're looking for a bit of cultural history, the UC Theatre is well worth checking out. Built back in 1976, the theatre is famous for screening the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which ran at the site for a remarkable 22 years straight. These days, the UC Theatre hosts a number of live music events, across an extensive number of genres.

Finally, the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive showcases rotating exhibitions of visual art and world cinema at its downtown Arts District location.

There are often special art-themed events happening in the city at any given time. Visitors should be sure to check the Events Calendar to find out what will be happening during their stay.

A band performs in a park outside of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in front of an audience on blankets.
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