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Two Black children learning to rock climb at the popular and picturesque Indian Rock Park in the Berkeley Hills were subjected to a racial slur by a white passerby this week. She described an initial feeling of numbness while she rushed to make sure the children were safe.

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Written by Lisa Alexander Updated May 20, We may earn a commission from affiliate links. One of the most beautiful college campuses in the state, the University of California at Berkeley is an inspiring place to visit. The university's Neoclassical buildings stand loftily in a woodsy hilltop location overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Berkeley is also known for its offbeat Bohemian spirit. The campus was the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and the renegade hippie counterculture of the s, and the chaotic and bustling Sproul Plaza continues to be an intense scene of student activity.

Besides being an intellectual center, Berkeley is a hub for entertainment and gourmet dining. The farm-to-table California Cuisine movement began here in the '70s, when Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse, a cozy neighborhood restaurant that forever changed American dining. Tourists can enjoy a gourmet meal and then watch a world-class performance at one of Berkeley's award-winning theaters.

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Nature lovers local appreciate the peaceful outdoor spaces in Berkeley's rolling hills, as well as by the waterfront. Berkeley city's gorgeous parks and botanical gardens offer spectacular floral displays and stunning panoramic views. At the picturesque Berkeley Marina, sporty types can go kayaking in the bay or hiking along the trails. Berkeley is full of beautiful sights, interesting cultural attractions, and recreational opportunities.

For ideas to help plan your adventures, read our list of the top things to do in Berkeley, California. Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. Founded inthe University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley has an exceptional collection of more than 10, plants from nearly every continent with an emphasis on Mediterranean plants.

Ideal for cute nature walks, the botanical garden's scenic trails meander through a variety of indians. There are also picnic tables in four different areas. Other facilities include restrooms, a garden shop, and the Julia Morgan Hall. The Botanical Garden is in the Berkeley Hills and is most easily accessible by car or by taking the Berkeley campus shuttle the H line Monday through Friday.

Boats at Berkeley Marina. The Berkeley Marina includes the city marina and waterfront area, comprising more than acres of parkland. There are also several picnic areas with scenic views. A popular attraction is the Adventure Playgroundwhich is packed with fun children's activities, art projects, and creative play spaces. With its kid-deed forts and towers, this unique spot is not your typical children's playground.

For those interested in bird-watching and the environment, the Berkeley Marina's Shorebird Park is a teens place to visit. The park has hiking trails, a small shoreline beach, ren's playground, an aquarium, and a Nature Center with educational exhibits about the local wildlife and ecosystem. Quiet woods of Tilden Park.

Nestled in between the Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge, Tilden Park is a beautiful natural space with many recreational attractions. This 2,acre parkland features nearly 40 miles of hiking trails; an hole golf course; the Regional Parks Botanic Garden; and Lake Anza, where swimming is allowed during late spring and summer. Local families love Tilden Park's children's attractions, including the antique Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Roundwith its charming menagerie of animals; the Tilden Little Farmwhich is home to sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and rabbits; and ren's Gardenwhich teaches kids how vegetables and fruits are grown.

Children and adults alike love the park's small Steam Trainwhich travels along a picturesque hillside with sensational views. Near the Merry-Go-Round, a snack bar sells favorite carnival foods, like Coney Island hot dogs, pretzels, cotton candy, fresh-baked cookies, and ice cream. Official site: www. Berkeley Rose Garden K. The Berkeley Rose Garden is set in a lovely terraced amphitheater surrounded by a foot redwood pergola.

With 1, rose bushes representing varieties, the garden is a dazzling spectacle of color and beauty with peak season blooming in mid-May. A perfect place to admire Berkeley's famous views, this hillside garden offers scenic overlooks with stunning views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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The garden also features hiking trails and a picnic area. The three-acre rose garden is adjacent to Codornices Park, with a tunnel beneath Euclid Avenue connecting the two and providing wheelchair access to the gardens. Sather Tower at U. Berkeley Photo Copyright: Lisa Alexander. Perched on a wooded hillside, the acre U. Berkeley campus is lush with shady redwoods, oaks, and other trees. At the center is its most prominent landmark, Sather Tower the "Campanile".

Built inthe campanile bell and clock tower was constructed from Alaskan marble, and at feet tall is the third tallest bell and clock tower in the world. Visitors may ascend to Sather Tower's observation platform at feet to take in the marvelous degree views of the San Francisco Bay. The clock tower's bells chime on the hour and perform a minute recital of classical melodies three times a day.

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Other famous landmarks on the campus include Sather Gate at the main entrance to the campus; South Hallthe oldest building on the campus, built in ; and Sproul Plazathe gathering place of early free speech activists. Sproul Plaza is still a hub of activity, where social activists protest and street musicians sometimes offer impromptu performances.

This student hangout also dedicates space to an exhibit about Berkeley's Free Speech Movement in the s.

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Visitors will enjoy taking a look at Bancroft Librarywandering up the well-worn marble steps to the main reading room with its intricate artesonado carved wood ceiling. The Neoclassical Hearst Greek Theater is a beautiful 8,seat outdoor venue used for a variety of performances, such as world music concerts, the Berkeley Jazz Festival, and noteworthy speakers.

The U. Berkeley graduation ceremony also takes place at the Greek Theater. Visitors will have fun exploring College Avenuewhich borders the campus.

Berkeley Repertory Theater. A world-class center of culture, Berkeley boasts a superb offering of theater and music performances. On the U. Berkeley campus, Cal Performances presents a program of exceptional artistic performances at Zellerbach Hall.

Performance genres include classical music, piano concerts, jazz, world dance, ballet, and theater. Also on campus, the Central Works Theater puts on performances at Berkeley City Clubthe historic hotel and private club, which is fondly known as the "Little Castle" because its Gothic details echo those of Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

Berkeley's downtown area is also home to many theaters and venues, most of which can be found on Addison Street. The Berkeley Repertory Theatre Addison Street is a Tony Award-winning theater group that performs a wide variety of shows throughout the year, from classics to contemporary Pulitzer Prize-winning plays and musical premieres.

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On the same street as the Berkeley Rep is a special sidewalk installation, the Berkeley Poetry Walkfeaturing cast-iron plaques of more than poems. The Aurora Theatre Company Addison Street is another award-winning theater group; the company presents premiere performances in an intimate seat theater, where no one is more than 15 feet away from the stage.

Indian Rock Park is a popular spot for beginner rock climbers. Those who are up to the challenge will also appreciate this space for its pleasant picnic area and scenic vistas of the San Francisco Bay. Indian Rock is credited as being the first training ground of Dick Leonard, a pioneer in modern rock-climbing techniques, as well as for David Brower, whose climbing manuals helped U. Just outside the U.

Berkeley gates, Telegraph Avenue draws crowds of students who come to hang out, do some shopping, or get a quick bite to eat. With its eclectic shops, Telegraph has retained some of the Bohemian vibe of the s. Hints of Berkeley's colorful counterculture heyday can be seen in the vintage record stores and tie-dye-clad post-hippies wandering the avenue.

Most of all, Telegraph caters to starving students with affordable sandwich places, bagels, pizza by the slice, fast food, and casual order-at-the-counter restaurants. Bookshops and record stores are the other main reasons students and locals frequent Telegraph.

Telegraph Avenue also has hair salons, clothing stores, computer supply outlets, and other interesting specialty shops. Above the main university campus, the U. Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science offers the public a chance to learn about science and have fun in the process.

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The Lawrence Planetarium features interactive programs with a superb digital projection system for a realistic impression of the constellations and our solar system including the planets and their moons. To enjoy some of the best stargazing in the Bay Area, bring your own binoculars or telescope and head to Lawrence Hall's Plaza. In a clear night sky, this vantage point allows viewers to easily see the moon, planets, and galaxies far away in space, even with the city lights of San Francisco on the horizon.

Animal lovers will be delighted by the interactive exhibits in the Animal Discovery Room. Visitors have a chance to hold gentle animals and learn about the habitats of more exotic animals.

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In the Ingenuity Challenges lab, budding engineers can work with Cal Engineering students to build a prototype or solve an engineering challenge. Little kids will enjoy the Young Explorers Areaspecial activities deed for kindergarten-age children and younger. The opening of Alice Waters' neighborhood bistro called Chez Panisse in marked an essential moment in California culinary history - the beginning of a food revolution. This charming little French bistro would forever change food culture in America.

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Chez Panisse is an essential destination for foodies. While spending time in France after college, Waters discovered the French tradition of shopping at the neighborhood farmers' market.