"Bad": I can't walk to the grocery store in the daytime, and stuff like that. Berkeley is near a metropolitan so I understand problems that go with it; but is it in a horrible area? No good housing, no college town cafes, or anything?
Personally, I LOVED UC Berkeley's surrounding area. I found it to be charmingly urban, dirty (not ghetto), liberal-friendly and totally not what some of you suburbanites are used to. Lots of cool, quirky shops, an Urban Outfitters and non-chain fast-food places and (ugh) a Jamba Juice. There are many bums, yes; but, while there, I really did not feel any discomfort. But if you've been to Hollywood and have been harrassed by the bums there, you'll find the Berkeley bums to be harmless and tame in comparison.
USC's area isn't that bad. Some pretty (but dilapidated and unkempt, some not) victorian houses in a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles. The neighborhood north of USC is better than the one to the south. Not too dangerous.
I prefer UC Berkeley's surrounding area over USC's, as USC's pales in comparison. I also prefer UC Berkeley's area over UCLA's.
a short description of Berkeley and environs....
The center of the city is of course, the University.
There is the South Side (eg south of the university), which is essentially Telegraph Avenue with its cafes, street people, fabulous bookstores, music stores, peoples park, the Units, Fratertinites and Sororities. Not to be missed Cody's Books, Moes Books, Rasputins, and Amoeba. (http://www.telegraphshop.com/)
There is the North Side (duh, north of the university). A bit more quiet than south side. Location of the famous Gourmet Ghetto in berkeley. Not to be missed - the original Peet's coffee, the Cheese Board,
Downtown is directly West of the University. Movie theatres, restaurants, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Capoeira Cafe, BART (for access to SF), City Hall, Berkeley High, and a weekly farmers market. Not to be missed: free music at Jupiters
All of the above are walking distance from campus.
Other points of interest...Tilden Park, Oakland, San Francisco, 4th Street for yuppie shopping and food, and Solano Avenue for yuppie shopping and food
As for getting to SF, the BART ride from Downtown Berkeley to Powell Street is roughly 5.50 round trip. Service is ok, but it only runs until midnight.
Last edited by avoidingwork; 04-03-2005 at 05:48 PM.
San Francisco is right across the Bay. One can take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train to get into San Francisco. I've never used it, but friends have told me that it takes about an hour to get to S.F. with a cost of about $6 roundtrip. Without traffic, a drive to San Francisco should take no longer than - I'd say- 25 minutes, as one has to cross the Bay Bridge. But, of course, that would require a car.
Homeless people are everywhere. Westwood is an affluent neighborhood of Los Angeles, and Berkeley is its own AWESOME city that is -I'm guessing - socioeconomically diverse. Then again, I've been to Westwood more than I have been to Berkeley. Well, I've been to Berkeley only one time. See what someone who has visited many times or actually lives in Berkeley has to say. A more thorough description, I'm sure.
Last edited by clownzskareme; 04-03-2005 at 06:05 PM.
I second clownzskareme, homeless people are everywhere...even such prestigious places as the big H! I did the summer program at Harvard and was surprised on the first day to see just how "eclectic" Harvard Square was right across the street. IMHO such eclectic elements add a bit of atmosphere even though it took me awhile to get used to it and feel comfortable...but once I did it was an exciting place to be!
I loved Berkeley when I visited precisely because it had just that type of atmosphere.
I had visited Stanford the day before and been quite disappointed because I found it to be rather boring...just more suburban really...nothing wrong with that, but I have lived in that kind of atmosphere all my life...it also reminded me a lot of Yale...meh
I would definitely say USC's region is worse...my mother and I got lost on our way there and it was a little surprising...the campus is certainly beautiful...if compound-like, lol
~I also have only been to Berkeley once...but I think I will be doing the OSP so I will have to explore some more
~Now when I went to my Regent's interview I asked one of the Berkeley Students about transportation to the city and he mentioned something about a University Shuttle...either very cheap/free, I forget, and said that he rarely used BART. Anyone know about this?
Berkeley is a great college town, with the advantage of being do close to sf, but without all the crap that goes on is sf. we have our boat in the berkeley marina, so we go there a lot. on the outer rims, its more like ethnic neigborhoods and stuff, but you have to go out of your way to get to the bad parts of town. there are little shops everywhere, cafes, book stores, thrift shops, ethnic food stores, an urban outfitters... it's very nice, and the best part is that everyone on the sidewalks is nice and friendly.
The area around Berkeley isn't as bad as most make it out to be. Although there are many homeless men and women downtown, I didn't have any problems with them when I visited. There's quite a few theaters downtown and for shopping, there's Telegraph Avenue. The only downside that comes to mind of the city of Berkeley is that most of the shops and commercial buildings close roughly around 10 P.M. I'm not sure if this is true during the school year, because I visited Berkeley only during this past summer.
Are there still cafes, movie theaters, etc. on the "Oakland side" of College Avenue? It seemed like a lot yuppies and college students
used to frequent that area for entertainment.
As far as safety goes, you just have to exercise common sense like one would in any urban area. Telegraph Ave, University, Shattuck and College Avenues in Berkeley, as crazy and eclectic as they are, are much more interesting than the "safe," predictable, yuppie atmosphere of University Ave and El Camino Real in Palo Alto, where Stanford is.
But both serve a useful purpose and I wouldn't bad mouth either.
I grew up 6 miles north of Berkeley and just favor that environment.
"Real people" go to Berkeley, those who are into prestige and status go to Stanford.