Top Things You’ve Got to See in Downtown Berkeley

in Berkeley, CA Concrete Contractor – Near Me

About the Downtown Berkeley Neighborhood in Berkeley, California

Downtown Berkeley is home to many of the city’s finest restaurants, specialty shops and museums. A stroll through Downtown Berkeley offers an opportunity to view some of what America was like in the early 20th century. The buildings are all rare examples of turn-of-the-century architecture with a mix of old brick establishments from more than 100 years ago alongside newer glass office towers. Visitors have access to world class theater productions as well as jazz and blues clubs that span three centuries worth of musical styles. With its diverse business climate, eclectic shopping opportunities, fine dining options and cultural landmarks, downtown remains one of Berkeley’s most desirable neighborhoods for both residents and visitors alike.

Things to Do in Downtown Berkeley

Downtown Berkeley is blessed with an abundance of fun attractions for residents and visitors to enjoy. Here’s a short list of our favorites:

The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) brings the rich artistic resources of the UC Berkeley campus to the broader public as the visual arts center at one of the world’s leading public research universities. Through art, film, and other forms of creative expression, BAMPFA’s mission is to inspire the imagination, ignite critical dialogue, and activate community engagement. BAMPFA aspires to be both locally and globally relevant through its collections, research resources, and programs.

BAMPFA hosts over twenty gallery exhibitions and 450 film programs each year. BAMPFA creates extensive public programs in conjunction with its major exhibitions, such as gallery tours, lectures, and performances. BAMPFA offers accessible and engaging arts programs to the community, such as school field trips and hands-on artmaking workshops for families and multigenerational audiences. BAMPFA’s collection of over 23,000 art objects and 17,500 films and videos spans a wide range of global cultures and historical periods.

Following the transfer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum to the University of California, Berkeley, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life was established in 2010. Its extraordinary collection of art, objects, texts, music, and historical documents about Jews in the Global Diaspora and the American West is housed in its archive, library, and museum. As one of the world’s preeminent Jewish collections housed in a university, it offers highly innovative and accessible resources to both researchers and the general public. The Magnes’ holdings continue to grow. The Taube Family Arthur Szyk Collection was established by The Magnes in 2017, and the Roman Vishniac Arch was donated in 2018.

The Magnes’ new downtown Berkeley home accommodates research and teaching while also providing a venue for the general public to gather for exhibitions, lectures, performances, and other events that promote community, learning, and growth.

The Berkeley Historical Society, which arose from the ad hoc Berkeley Centennial Celebration Committee in the summer of 1978, is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to researching, preserving, and sharing Berkeley’s history. Through exhibits, lectures, walking tours, and publications, an appreciation for the city’s uniqueness and the diversity of cultures that make up Berkeley’s rich mosaic has been fostered and recognized.

There was no permanent home or meeting place at first. The events were held at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1931 Center Street, Berkeley, CA, but the Society sponsored historical programs, wrote a newspaper series, and published books. After many years in school district bungalows, it finally moved to its current location in the Veterans’ Memorial Building at 1931 Center Street in August 1992.

The Berkeley Historical Society was now able to maintain the Berkeley History Center, which included a library, exhibition space, and an archive to house and maintain the vast collection of Berkeley photographs, materials, and memorabilia.

Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park is a uniquely Berkeley landmark that features many special events and festivals throughout the year, as well as plenty of opportunities to sit in peace with friends or classmates on one of its large lawns.


      • The entire park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of a Historic District.
      • Fountain with a long history
      • Hundreds of community members contributed tiles to the Peace Wall.
      • Berkeley High students and others use the multi-purpose turf for special events and daily lunches.
      • Area for large gatherings to be staged
      • Every Saturday morning on Center Street north of the park, there is a Farmers’ Market.
      • Special events and festivals can be held at the park, which can be rented.

Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse is one of Berkeley, California’s best coffee shops. Freight & Salvage, on Addison Street and San Pablo Avenue, has long been a favorite of locals looking for a good cup of coffee in the morning. The store serves an excellent light roast from a nearby farmer’s market stand, but if that’s not your cup of tea, there are always new coffees on the way behind the counter! While you’re up here, try some pastries; they have a variety of flavors such as almond croissants, blueberry muffins, and quiche Lorraine!

Freight & Salvage interior is also worth mentioning, with rustic wood tables on either side of the store providing ample seating for customers to enjoy their coffee. The staff is extremely pleasant and will gladly assist you with any questions you may have regarding coffee or pastries!

Living in Downtown Berkeley

Residents of Downtown Berkeley are blessed to live in an area full of nature while also being quite close to city life.  There is never a shortage of coffee shops, parks or shopping centers to enjoy within a five-minute drive of Downtown Berkeley. Residents are also able to enjoy a rich spiritual life at the following houses of worship:


The Bridge Church is a church that was founded in Berkeley, California. It was started by pastor and author John Laird. The theme of the book is “God’s purpose for your life” according to their website (bridge seattle). This church has many different types of ministries including: kids ministry, music ministry, women’s outreach and much more! They also have an app where you can stay updated on what goes on at the church over time.

One of the most popular ministries at The Bridge Church is their worship band. They have a variety of bands that are on rotation and they host concerts, events, conferences, etc. Their Women’s Outreach ministry has been hosting “WOW Wednesdays” for years as well. On this day volunteers give back to the community by donating food or clothes to local shelters called Union Gospel Mission in Seattle (bridge seattle).

Established in 1971, NAOS House of Prayer is a spiritual center and temple for holy meditation. Here, seekers find solace and peace through prayer and contemplation with their higher power. The beautiful views from the top floor terrace overlook San Francisco Bay, Marin Headlands State Park to Sonoma County hillsides – some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in Northern California. It’s not hard to see why this space has been called “the cathedral of nature.”

The building features an open design that invites people into its sanctuary so they can be more fully present during worship services or other events; there are no pews or chairs as it is not necessary for one to stay seated here. Visitors may also enjoy sitting on cushioned benches or meditation pillows set up in the navy as they explore their connection to a higher power.

The space also offers many opportunities for people of all backgrounds and beliefs, including interfaith services. After exploring this serene temple, visitors may want to take advantage of NAOS’ outdoor garden – there is even an area reserved exclusively for quiet contemplation and prayerful silence that can be found at the top floor terrace overlooking San Francisco Bay!

The congregation was founded in 1863. The current building dates back to 1872 and is one of the oldest church structures still standing in Berkeley. Its distinctive steeple, tall Gothic windows, and sharp corner tower give it a definite presence on the Durant Avenue hillside – so much that its architect’s original design for Sequoia Hall bears an uncanny resemblance to First Congregational Church!

Katherine Johnston has been serving as Minister since September 2013. She came from Central Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York where she served for 12 years as Pastor of Children’s Ministry under her husband with whom she jointly led worship services including preaching every Sunday morning for more than ten years. Prior to this ministry position Katherine spent many years teaching preschoolers and elementary school students.

Today, First Congregational Church is home to a vibrant congregation and hosts many community-based programs which make use of the church’s facilities: fitness classes, line dancing, pottery wheel workshops for adults with disabilities; sewing circles for seniors and newcomers, ESL classes.

Parks, Schools & Other Points of Interest in Downtown Berkeley

Downtown Berkeley is also home to some amazing parks, schools, public libraries and schools for its citizens to enjoy.  These facilities are all world-class, beautifully maintained and clean so residents of surrounding communities often visit to enjoy them.  Here’s a short list all located in Downtown Berkeley:  

Ohlone Park, located on Milvia Street in Berkeley, California is a public park. The Ohlone People’s Interpretive Center and the Children’s Play area are also within the boundaries of this park. This is an excellent location for walking or jogging while exploring nature by foot or bike path as well as for viewing wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits, deer and ducks that make their home here. You can picnic with friends at one of many tables found throughout the grounds.

        • Flowers bloom all year round and you will find yourself surrounded by various types including roses, poppies and lilies to name just a few;
        • Beautiful trees dotting the landscape provide shade from hot summer sun;
        • Enjoy the view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge from a small hill in Ohlone Park
        • You can watch artisans at work as they demonstrate their crafts.

Presentation Park is a small open space with a lawn and picnic area. The park was built on land that used to be part of an old Catholic monastery for nuns, but it now has activities like slides, screw climbers, play panels (owned by the homeowners’ association), two BBQ pits where people can cook food outside – perfect for summer days!

Washington Elementary School is a public school that was built in the 1930s. This building has been renovated many times and now serves as an elementary school for grades Kindergarten through Eighth grade. Washington Elementary accepts children from all walks of life but has their own admission policy which only admits students who live near the area or are zoned to attend there. The school’s motto is “Success Every Day” because they want every student to feel successful by helping them reach their academic potential. They offer programs like after-school tutoring with volunteers from Cal’s Teach For America program on Saturdays during the winter break for low income families living nearby so that more kids can succeed at getting accepted into higher education.

Berkeley High School is a public co-educational high school in Berkeley, California. The school was founded on September 13th, 1871 and opened its doors to seventy five students the following year. It has since graduated over 20,000 alumni including nine Pulitzer Prize winners and several Olympians. This institution also had one of the first marching bands in America with their formation dating back to 1922. In addition to academics, this school offers many extracurricular activities such as athletics for both boys and girls along with theater arts productions that have been performed by prominent actors like James Franco. All these opportunities are available because of donations from parents or individuals who want to give back to this community partner educating children today so they can lead fulfilling lives tomorrow.

Berkeley Espresso is a coffee shop in Berkeley, California. They have made it their mission to provide top quality espresso with the best customer service possible. The team has over 20 years of combined experience serving high-quality coffee drinks and they are always happy to help you find your favorite drink or sample something new!

Uniquely located directly next door to Trader Joe’s, this cafe offers organic Fair Trade certified coffees on all three levels: roasted beans upstairs at 1800 Shattuck Ave., brewed downstairs for hot drinks and iced cold brews, and finally heated up ready-to-drink cups by the cash register. With many different kinds of specialty beverages offered from pour overs to latte art -the staff can whip up any drink you can think of!

Their coffee is sourced from small-scale farmers who grow it in a sustainable manner and contribute to the livelihoods of their local community. The beans are traded directly with these growers, eliminating middlemen and providing more profits for those involved at every level. These relationships give Berkeley Espresso an unparalleled sense of accountability as they know exactly how each bean was grown on behalf of our customers. Now that’s worth talking about!

At My Coffee Roastery, you can explore a range of single-origin coffees sourced from all over the globe. These diverse beans offer options for any taste preference or budget! They roast their own blend using only responsibly traded and organic Arabica beans roasted with handcrafted care by seasoned experts. For those who prefer iced coffee, they make sure to use fresh high quality cold brew made locally in Oakland by another family-owned business that doesn’t sacrifice flavor just because it’s brewed cold!

The Berkeley Fourth Street Shops are a large collection of shops on Fourth Street in Berkeley, California. They house over 80 retailers and restaurants that cater to both locals and visitors. For decades, the street has been home to many small businesses, but it was hard hit by the 2008 financial crisis, with some stores closing or relocating their operations elsewhere due to bankruptcy. Today, it is gradually returning as new tenants reopen shops in what were previously vacant storefronts.

The Fourth Street Shops are a great place to find a variety of artisans, boutiques, and other stores. Nearby residents will appreciate the convenience of having many local services, such as restaurants and grocery stores, in one location. It’s also a short walk from the Berkeley BART station, where residents can take public transportation for short trips around town or across the bay into San Francisco. Visitors without a car will be able to explore everything this area has to offer thanks to UC Berkeley’s shuttle bus service, which stops downtown nearby, as well as some regional bus routes served by AC Transit.

Map From Downtown Berkeley to Our Location