Choose from 3 Fun Things to Do in Oakland
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Just across the bay to the east of San Francisco, the smaller city of Berkeley has a large reputation. Home to one of the country’s finest universities, UC Berkeley, the area has a large student population and educational presence. Berkeley is known for its liberal attitude, role in 1960s politics and the Free Speech Movement, as well as its present-day diverse culture and cuisine. Though the city has continued to evolve, academia, hippie culture and activism are all still alive and well here. More than anything, Berkeley is characterized by its free-thinking spirit, which draws an eclectic crowd of people. Nowhere is this more apparent than the city’s main street, Telegraph Avenue.
From enjoying the outdoors in one of the city’s many parks to experiencing the birthplace of California cuisine or one of the nation’s most diverse food scenes, Berkeley remains a one-of-a-kind place.
Located in the East Bay Area, Berkeley is accessible by car via I-80 east, or public transit via BART. Once in town, much of the city is both pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly.
Address: Berkeley, California, USA
From $ 108
One of three main airports in the San Francisco Bay Area (the others being San Francisco International Airport and San Jose International Airport), Oakland International Airport, or OAK, welcomes visitors on most major airlines in the U.S., as well as a few international airlines.
Oakland International Airport is used as a hub for travelers arriving in Northern California, whether they're staying in the East Bay, traveling to San Francisco, or heading further north ot Napa and beyond. To skip the stress of navigating Bay Area traffic yourself, book a shared or private transfer and let a dedicated driver traverse the roadways.
Things to Know Before You Go
- OAK is home to just two terminals.
- Most airlines fly from Terminal 1, including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Hawaiian Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, British Airways, and American Airlines, while Terminal 2 houses just Southwest Airlines.
- The rental car center can be accessed via the rental car shuttle, which operates every 10 minutes except from 1:30am to 4:30am, when it's on-demand.
How to Get There
OAK is located 18 miles (29 kilometers) from downtown San Francisco—across the San Francisco Bay Bridge—and 8 miles (14 kilometers) from downtown Oakland. The airport can be reached via private or shuttle airport transfers. Alternatively, the Oakland airport is on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) network, so you can travel between the airport and San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay towns on this train line. Ride-sharing vehicles are also allowed to operate at the airport at specific locations.
Address: 1 Airport Drive, Oakland, California 94621, USA
From $ 45
Located in the Berkeley Hills, the UC Botanical Garden overlooks the San Francisco Bay and contains more than 12,000 species of plants ranging from exotic flowers to towering redwoods. With its winding walking paths, varied plant collections, and scenic views, the garden is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Berkeley and San Francisco.
Stroll through the 34-acre (18-hectare) garden and admire plants from Asia, Australia, Mexico, Africa, and other locations across the world. Plants here are organized by region, and the California native plants section is a visitor favorite due to its massive redwood trees. Other highlights include the conservatory, which houses tropical plants, and a Chinese herb garden full of interesting medicinal species.
A Go San Francisco Card includes free entrance to the University of California (UC) Botanical Garden along with other attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences and Exploratorium. The garden offers free (with paid admission) docent-led tours Thursday through Sunday and on the first Wednesday of the month.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley is a must-see for nature lovers.
- Visitor facilities include restrooms, a gift shop, and a plant deck.
- Parking is available across the street from the main entrance. The parking lot contains two handicap-accessible spots.
- Much of the garden is accessible to wheelchairs, though some paths may be difficult to navigate.
- With the exception of trained service dogs, pets are not allowed in the garden.
How to Get There
The UC Botanical Garden is located on 200 Centennial Drive, roughly 15 minutes from downtown Berkeley and 45 minutes from San Francisco by road. On weekdays, the university offers a shuttle to the garden from the UC Berkeley campus.
When to Get There
You can visit the botanical garden year-round, with the exception of major holidays and the first Tuesday of each month. Admission is free on the first Wednesday of each month. Summer is a good time to visit, when university students are gone for the summer and the weather is typically warm and sunny.
Must-See Attractions at the UC Botanical Garden
As you explore the garden’s many sections, make sure to visit the orchid, fern, and carnivorous plant house; the Garden of Old Roses; and the sections dedicated to South America, the American Desert, the Mediterranean, and other interesting regions.
Address: 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, California, USA
From $ 12