Best of Berkeley: The City 2022
Best Cinema: Flagship Cinemas Shattuck Cinemas
Each movie theater in Berkeley has a distinct character. One is attached to a museum; another is a quaint establishment in Elmwood; one more is perhaps Berkeley’s closest thing to a multiplex. They’re all lovely, but they’re all surpassed by Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas, an ever endearing mainstay on this list.
Landmark’s Shattuck is one of those theaters with a quintessential entrance – all warm, glowing light bulbs and a marquee overflowing with exits of all sizes. It features indie fare and box office hits. Some releases may arrive slower than others in its screening rooms, but they arrive there more often than not.
It is a theater that has a lot of heart for its outings and its audiences. It feels both big and small; its cozy main hall gives way to theaters lined with faux-Egyptian decor — and, if you’ve chosen well, one that might play a new favorite.
Best tattoo parlor: Industrial tattoo and piercing
Whether you have always imagined the tattoo of your dreams or you impulsively want to make a permanent change to your body, Industrial Tattoo & Piercing in Berkeley can meet your needs. Founded in 1996 and located a few blocks from campus just off Telegraph Avenue on Dwight Way, Industrial is an integral part of the Berkeley community. With its serene cobalt blue walls and various plants scattered against the background noise of a fountain, the boutique allows customers to feel at ease throughout their respective services.
Unlike other tattoo parlors in town, Industrial offers both tattoos and piercings, with services for the former starting at $120 per store minimum. However, if you’re looking to get a larger, more detailed piece, you can contact the shop’s three different tattoo artists directly, all of whom have hourly rates ranging from $150 to $200. And if you’re interested in another type of permanent ink, cosmetic tattoo artist Plume Brows also works right in the industrial shop. For people looking to make tangible and permanent change, Industrial is the dream destination.
Best place to get Cal gear: Cal Student Store
As you open your acceptance letter, you scream with joy, knowing where you’ll be spending the next four years. But where should you go to show your passion for UC Berkeley?
The Cal Student Store has the best selection of Berkeley gear, including clothes, mugs, and even cute onesies for newborn Golden Bears. With high-quality clothing and a prime location on Upper Sproul, there’s not a more convenient store in Berkeley to show off your love for Cal.
In addition, the wide choice in each category of souvenirs appeals to all buyers. Whether you’re a chemist or a squirrel lover, there’s sure to be something for you. Students can even pick up their textbooks as they browse the store for a new Cal sweatshirt.
So next time you’re in Upper Sproul, drop by the Cal Student Store and find a new way to show off your golden bear pride!
Best Bookstore: Moe’s books
I lost my roommate while browsing Moe’s books once. That’s because Moe’s Books is a juggernaut of a bookstore in Berkeley, dominating Telegraph Avenue with its four-story facade.
A bookstore so big that a map inside tells customers where to find items, it’s a place that makes every book-related dream come true. Whether you’re interested in classic literature or adamantly averse to untouched, fresh-off-the-press books, Moe’s has endless walls of used books. Students can justify spending money on these paperbacks as they range in price from around $3 to $9.
If used classics aren’t your thing, you can savor pristine new copies of any book you could imagine. You don’t read? Moe’s always has something for you – a treasure trove of posters, tote bags, postcards and other trinkets can be found on the lower level.
Moe’s Books has everything to satisfy book lovers and bright-eyed shoppers.
Best game room: Berkeley Theater
Theaters are hotspots for passion, and Berkeley Playhouse thrives with particularly potent vigor. Although local theaters face their share of obstacles under normal circumstances, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an extremely difficult hurdle to overcome. As Berkeley Playhouse makes its return to live theater, the company has proven that it has lost no momentum in these trying times.
Berkeley Playhouse kicked off its season with “Into the Woods,” a smash hit that excelled in every aspect of production. The performance hall and its shows shine in high quality. The humble theater may not be the grandest or the fanciest, but the cozy space has blossomed with much love from the community, cultivating and enriching the collective love for the theater and the ‘art.
Prepare to be blown away by outstanding performances from talented, dedicated and local creators. Revel in the magic of storytelling in the deeply inspiring environment of theatre. Just blocks from campus and a repertoire of fun favorites, discover or rekindle your appreciation for theater at our sensational Berkeley Playhouse.
— Joy Diamond
Best thrift store: Outside the closet
Need a blazer for your next interview? A last minute Halloween costume? Are you looking to broaden your fashion horizons without breaking the bank? Out of the Closet has you covered.
Located on University Avenue, the pink and teal exterior of Out of the Closet is hard to miss. Rainbow racks of wardrobe essentials ranging from $7 to $15 offer shoppers an abundance of items to choose from. You’ll find that Out of the Closet is a breath of fresh air in the world of savings. Gone are the days of mysterious stains on goodwill giveaways and $30 t-shirts in thrift chains – Out of the Closet offers a multi-colored myriad of quality giveaways to complement your home and wardrobe.
As a nonprofit organization founded to help fund the services of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Out of the Closet donates 96 cents of every dollar donated to HIV care and prevention. The thrift store’s commitment to supporting nonprofit medical advocacy and access is demonstrated by its affordability and valued employees.
Out of the Closet is both wonderfully eclectic and affordable – and who wouldn’t want to support a good cause?
Best place to hike: Berkeley Fire Trails
Don’t say you’ve visited Berkeley if you haven’t hiked the Fire Trails, where you can find tranquility amidst troubled times and take in the best views in Berkeley.
Departing from California Memorial Stadium, you’ll pass campus buildings, dorms, and homes before entering a peaceful world. Close your eyes and you’ll hear Strawberry Creek flowing toward campus. Although the hike is a bit winding, you’ll soon reach Berkeley Overlook Vista Point, with stunning views of the Campanile, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and if you’re lucky, the San Francisco skyline. As you continue hiking, the trail may become less shaded and steep, but you won’t regret it once you reach Grizzly Peak – a vista where you can enjoy views of the city of Berkeley for a while. the sky turns orange.
When you’re feeling a little blue, head straight to the Fire Trails for great views and fresh air—we all need it at some point.
Best place to make an appointment: Berkeley Rose Garden
Spring is in full bloom: the sun is shining brighter, and the flowers are revealing themselves once more, and luckily for us Bay Area residents, the Berkeley Rose Garden brings “stop and smell roses” to a whole new level. Ideally located north of campus on Euclid Avenue, the place seems tailor-made for lovebirds.
With over 100 varieties of roses spread over 3 acres of land, this garden is bound to leave an impression on all your senses and not just your nose. The terraced architecture, similar to an amphitheater, frames a perfect sunset with its panoramic view of the city. Glimpses of the Golden Gate Bridge and rows of roses paired with great company call for an afternoon well spent, and to make things even better, admission is free.
The Berkeley Rose Garden turns out to be more than just a garden, with its four tennis courts, redwood pergola, picnic tables, hiking trails and more. Go on a trip soon while the blooming of colorful roses is still in season!
Best Local Artist: Wilma Marianne Wyss
By taking what has been broken and putting the pieces back together, compassion seems fundamental to mosaic as a medium. The eyes of an artist, kind and lively, see the value latent in broken glass and debris. Wilma Wyss, a Bay-Area-based mosaicist, imbues her art with a similar kindness. Tiles and glass lose their jagged edges, softened by Wyss’ soft geometric repositioning.
Although she also creates art for private spaces, Wyss’ pieces thrive outdoors. The artist frequently works from natural and ecological motifs to bring joy to public spaces. She is not afraid of bright colors and unique shapes. His art, playful and lighthearted, feels separate from the ego, engaging the community with installations that can be found in the parks dotted around the bay.