Five free things to do in Berke­ley and Oak­land

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - TRAVEL - By Michelle Locke

BERKE­LEY, Calif. — This fa­mously lib­eral col­lege town is known as the cra­dle of the Free Speech Move­ment, but speech isn’t the only thing that’s free here.

Whether you’re strolling the red­wood-shaded Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley, cam­pus, or slip­ping across the Oak­land bor­der for a dose of Golden State his­tory, you can ex­er­cise your limbs and your in­tel­lect with­out giv­ing your wal­let a work­out.

Here are five sug­ges­tions to get you started on your gratis gal­li­vant­ing. Hike

Set in the hills above Berke­ley, Tilden Park is the jewel of Berke­ley’s many green spa­ces. You can take one of the many hik­ing trails — Nimitz Way is popular with bik­ers, hik­ers and eques­tri­ans — or pic­nic in one of the mead­ows. If you have young ones in tow, a stop by the Lit­tle Farm is manda­tory; take along some cel­ery or let­tuce to feed the placid an­i­mals.

If you do de­cide to spend a lit­tle cash, there are mod­est fees to en­ter the Lake Anza swimming beach, ride the vin­tage carousel or ride a minia­ture steam train. If you’re look­ing for a straight­for­ward walk, another op­tion is Clare­mont Canyon, which of­fers a short climb to the ridge top with sweep­ing views of cam­pus and San Francisco Bay. This is es­pe­cially lovely at sun­set, although be aware the last part of the trail is both steep and slip­pery. Smell the roses

Oak­land and Berke­ley both have rose gar­dens tucked into res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The Berke­ley gar­den is a Works Progress Ad­min­is­tra­tion project and has a ter­raced am­phithe­atre and red­wood per­gola. The Oak­land gar­den, of­fi­cially the Mor­com Rose Gar­den, is a re­lax­ing oa­sis not far from bustling Grand Av­enue with its eclec­tic mix of restau­rants, cof­fee bars and stores. For ma­jor flower power there’s the UC Berke­ley Botan­i­cal Gar­den, which has more than 13,000 plants from around the world, in­clud­ing the puya rai­mondi plant, known as the “Queen of the An­des,” that’s in the South Amer­i­can sec­tion. There’s a $10 fee to visit most days, but the gar­den is free on the first Wed­nes­day of each month. Step into his­tory

Jack London was born in San Francisco but spent his boy­hood on the Oak­land water­front and you’ll find him im­mor­tal­ized there by way of a bronze statue at Jack London Square, a re­tail and restau­rant com­plex. There’s also a replica of his log cabin next to Heinold’s First and Last Chance Sa­loon where London stud­ied as a school­boy and later made notes for his books. Not far away you’ll find the Oak­land Mu­seum of Cal­i­for­nia which fea­tures ex­hibits on art, his­tory and the nat­u­ral sciences and charges no ad­mis­sion on the first Sun­day of the month. See the street scene

You haven’t re­ally vis­ited Berke­ley un­less you’ve strolled Tele­graph Av­enue, a col­lec­tion of book­stores, cafes and other stores lined by ven­dors sell­ing var­i­ous arts and crafts. Stop in to Amoeba Mu­sic to see the huge record col­lec­tion and take in the mu­ral at the cor­ner of Haste Street and Tele­graph com­mem­o­rat­ing the cre­ation of Peo­ple’s Park, a UC-owned block of land taken over by stu­dent and com­mu­nity ac­tivists in 1969. Get schooled

Set close to down­town, the UC Berke­ley cam­pus is eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble. Here you can stroll along red­wood­lined creeks or stretch out on the grass and watch the world go by. Check out the land­mark bell tower (Campanile). It costs $3 to take the el­e­va­tor and stairs to the top, but you can en­joy the sound of the tower’s 61 bells any­where on cam­pus. Mu­sic plays at var­i­ous times with longer con­certs on Sun­days at 2 p.m. Don’t miss Sproul Plaza, which is near the Tele­graph Av­enue en­trance to cam­pus. A gran­ite cir­cle set into the paving stones com­mem­o­rates the 1964 Free Speech Move­ment. The protest is also memo­ri­al­ized at the Free Speech Move­ment Cafe at the en­trance to the Mof­fitt Li­brary. Here you will find four wall-mounted cases with ro­tat­ing ex­hibits as well as oc­ca­sional fo­rums, pan­els and other ex­hibits. If you do have cash in your pocket, this would be a good place to get a cup of or­ganic, fair trade cof­fee.

Sure, the best things in life are free. But caf­feine is pretty good, too.


At top, a statue of Jack London is sil­hou­et­ted at sun­set at Jack London Square. At right, racks of tie-dyed t-shirts are

shown for sale on Tele­graph Av­enue in Berke­ley. Peo­ple make their way to Hein­hold’s First and Last Chance Sa­loon

at Jack London Square.

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