Amongst many books and articles that have been written about Berkeley, Don Pitcher’s introduction in his book “Berkeley Inside Out, captures the essence of the city with clarity and humor:
“What is this city called Berkeley? The news media view Berkeley (“Bezerkeley”) with a bemused and condescending attitude. They snicker at the shenanigans of its politicians (“the only city with its own foreign policy”), rave over its restaurants (“Gourmet Ghetto”), and search out its inconsistencies. If your only knowledge of Berkeley came from the media, you might expect a city obsessed with radical ideas; its streets lined with psycho-babbling new age types; its stores stocked with nothing but sun-dried tomatoes; while Nobel Laureates wax eloquent on the extinction of the dinosaurs. The stereotypes of Berkeley do have a basis in reality, and the city does sometimes come perilously close to slipping off the edge of societal norms, but it is this proximity to chaos that keeps Berkeley so alive and creative…
Berkeley’s contributions to society have ranged from research that led to the creation of atomic weapons to culinary developments that revolutionized American cooking, from discoveries in genetic engineering and superconductivity to a radical activism that sets off political seismographs far beyond the city’s borders. Berkeley’s international reputation as an intellectual mecca and a dynamic social center continues to make it a magnet for inventive people and new ideas.”
With an eclectic and vibrant population of approximately 103,000, Berkeley is one of the most famous and inviting cities in the country; indeed a city full of vitality and contrasts. With a rich architectural history, you will find many beautiful properties for sale in Berkeley.
Nestled between thousands of acres of parklands and the San Francisco Bay, the topography of the different neighborhoods is as diverse as its population and architecture. Architectural contrasts range from modern to Craftsman homes and from Brown shingle to stucco Mediterraneans. With numerous parks and wonderful walking paths, it invites its population to explore and enjoy its environs and rapture over the unforgettable sunsets. The temperate climate appeals to those who prefer something warmer than San Francisco and at the same time not as hot as the cities east of the Tunnel, such as Walnut Creek and Danville. Berkeley captures the fog in a most picturesque manner; sometimes being completely enshrouded by it, sometimes allowing it to disappear like mist through the canyons and other times just watching it sit only on the Bay.
Famous for the Free Speech Movement of the 1960’s, it is home to the University of Berkeley, one of the nation’s premier public universities. Always encouraging the new and innovative, Berkeley is where you’ll find Alice Waters, Chez Panisse and the food revolution; based on a cuisine that savors fresh, organic, local produce. One of the projects she initiated is an organic garden at King Middle School, called the Edible Garden, which is part of the school curriculum.
Berkeley is a wonderful town in which to walk, and offers many hiking and cycling opportunities as well. The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association, who publish a map of these pathways, maintains the 150 footpaths, which were designed before the age of the automobile, for pedestrians to get to the main transit thoroughfares. Tilden Park, a wildlife habitat of over 2,000 acres of open meadows and forests, has numerous trails for pedestrians, cyclists and horses. It has a lake, a golf course, an international botanical garden, a carousel, a miniature steam locomotive railroad, a petting farm and grazing cattle and goats.
Berkeley has 3 BART stations, comprehensive AC Transit bus service and easy freeway access. A handsome new 30-foot long bicycle, pedestrian and wheelchair-access bridge over the freeway connects the city to the waterfront.
Its many architectural styles, from Victorian to Arts and Crafts, from Prairie style to Colonial Revival, from Tudors to Mediterranean, from Mid-century to Modern from small Berkeley bungalows to large traditional homes, can be found throughout the various distinctive neighborhoods. Representations of Berkeley’s most famous architects, John Hudson Thomas, Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, John Galen Howard, Wm. Ratcliffe, and many others can be found throughout these neighborhoods.
Cultural Life abounds in Berkeley, from the Berkeley Repertory and Aurora Theatres downtown to the Zellerbach on the campus, from Ashkenaz and night clubs to the Pacific Film Archives. There are many street fairs and festivals throughout the year; the Solano Stroll, The Spice of Life Fair, Oak Park Fair, How Berkeley Can You Be, and the kite festival on the waterfront, just to name a few.