Photo of Berkeley

About Berkeley

Best known as the home of the illustrious University of California, Berkeley prides itself on its intellectual and activistic contributions to debate — if people are protesting about something in Berkeley, then there’s every likelihood it will end up a mainstream issue. But why visit? Well, it’s beautifully positioned in East Bay in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s packed with great museums and galleries, there’s a lively foodie scene and an extremely rich cultural life. Accommodation options are wide-ranging, including everything from simple B&Bs to luxury resorts, suited to a whole host of budgets. For most folk, the best places to stay in Berkeley will be in and around the downtown area, close to the main sites.

A major seat of learning, Berkeley boasts some world-class museums and galleries, several of which are on the University of California campus, including the UC Berkeley Art Museum. Don't miss marvelling at the Sather Tower whilst on campus. Modelled on St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and nicknamed 'the Campanile', the bell tower has become a University icon and the observation platform views are magnificent. Just beyond the gates of UC sits Telegraph Avenue, known as 'Studentville', where you'll find cafés and reasonably priced eateries galore, as well as a lively street scene of buskers and vendors. With one of our favourite places to stay just a block away, this is a terrific base for an insight into the city's lively student scene.

For a sense of Berkeley's history, head to nearby People’s Park, a landmark of the 1960s Free Speech Movement and site of mass demonstrations. Now popular for scenic strolls, the Park also plays host to a brilliant array of live music, artsy events and festivals. For theatrical performances, check out the Greek Theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre on the UC campus grounds, or catch a show at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Come in July for the annual kite festival, which takes place on the city's impressively long pier— always a huge hit with the kids.

The pier and marina are brimming with buzzing bars and restaurants, and are a wonderful place to spend an evening soaking up gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the skyline of nearby San Francisco. Whether you're drawn to Berkeley for the arts scene, the history or the fantastic food, remember to book your hotel room well in advance — the best places to stay in Berkeley fill up fast!

For a stylish city break

  • The Berkeley City Club is a charming, traditional hotel in a magnificent building which was once home to a 1930s women's club. Think vaulted ceilings and interior gardens, a mosaic-tiled indoor swimming pool, and impressive views of San Francisco's Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge from some of the 35 lovely bedrooms. Pick this place for its historic architecture and excellent downtown location.
  • Graduate Berkeley offers chic, boutique-style rooms with velvet headboards, quirky artwork and fun patterned touches. Inspired by college living, this trendy spot is a funky choice for travellers eager to dip into college life — albeit in far more luxurious quarters! Sip hip cocktails, savour farm-to-table fare and enjoy being in the heart of the student quarter, just a block away from UC. Great fun.

For a family-friendly resort

  • Claremont Club & Spa boasts fabulously stylish rooms and suites overlooking San Francisco Bay and skyline. Interiors are smart, classic and contemporary, the spa is wonderfully indulgent and the three pools will be a sure-fire family hit, as will the expert tennis coaching and the kids' club. Expect superb cuisine, too. A hundred-year-old Berkeley icon offering luxurious opulence for couples and families.

For an apartment or holiday villa

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Fly to San Francisco International Airport, or to Oakland International Airport. Hop aboard the subway, take a taxi into town, or contact your hotel in advance to arrange an airport pickup.
  • Alternatively, catch a train to Berkeley with Amtrak rail links.
  • California is brilliant for a road trip! Contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car.
  • Time your visit for late spring (April and May) or autumn (October) for pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Summer days (June to September) are beautiful but humid, and hotels risk booking up quickly!

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Berkeley

Best Hotels in Berkeley

  • Graduate Berkeley Berkeley (California) 144 rooms from $199

    Local exploring  -  Located only a street away from UC Berkeley, the area provides a fun and lively atmosphere in the hub of the student town
    Restaurant  -  Henry's offers a farm-to-table menu
    RestaurantPet friendlyParking

    A boutique college-themed hotel situated in the heart of downtown Berkeley. Rooms are stylish with California gold colour schemes and velvet furnishings. The restaurant and bar are very welcoming and serve a good range of beers and cocktails. Perfect for accessing the college life of Berkeley. See More

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  • Claremont Club & Spa Berkeley (California) 276 rooms from $219

    Families  -  With spacious rooms and suites, kids menus, three huge pools and great access to family-friendly attractions
    Restaurant  -  There are two great restaurants ranging from regionally-sourced cuisine to family favourites
    Spa  -  A spa that uses a mix of advanced and natural healing treatments using exquisite products
    Swimming Pool  -  Three outdoor heated pools, whirlpool and complementary lounge chairs and umbrellas
    TennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    A fabulous family-friendly resort in Berkeley, with incredible views overlooking the San Franciso Bay. Spacious and chic rooms with indulgent bathrooms. Relax and heal in the spa or on a lounger poolside. Fantastic dining options with creative cocktails and fresh local dishes. A has-it-all stay. See More

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  • Berkeley City Club Berkeley 35 rooms from $220

    Local exploring  -  Situated in downtown Berkeley, this location is perfect for city strolling.
    Restaurant  -  Lunch available from Tues - Fri. Dinner available from Tues - Sat.
    Views  -  Views span Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco landmarks.
    Sights nearby  -  Walking distance to the UC Berkeley campus.
    Air conditioningTennisSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParking

    A charming and traditional, historic hotel. Breathtaking architecture includes high archways and vaulted ceilings. Features a large indoor swimming pool as well as family games rooms. Classically designed bedrooms with stunning views over both San Francisco and Berkeley. See More

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