The Community of Kensington
Kensington is an unincorporated community in Contra Costa County, tucked between the East Bay parks and the cities of Berkeley, El Cerrito and Albany, with its own police and fire departments, park services and refuse collection. With a population of about 5,000, it has a small town ambiance and is home to many academics and professionals. It has a rich sampling of architectural styles, from Colonial, Tudor and Spanish style homes to contemporary architecture. One of the last homes designed by Bernard Maybeck, a visionary Bay area architect, who also designed the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, is “Hilltop”, which sits on a magnificent site at the crest of the hill. There is a small shopping district on the Arlington consisting of shops, restaurants and a filling station, and the fire and police departments. Another small complex sits at the Colusa circle, which is more or less the intersection of Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, and Kensington. This business district includes the Kensington Circus Pub, a wonderful family style restaurant with live music and a children’s play corner and Semifreddi’s Bakery. The closest BART stations are the Del Norte one in El Cerrito and North Berkeley BART with the most obvious access to the Eastshore freeway being the Albany entrance and exit. Blake Garden, which is owned by the University of California, and where the official residence of the president sits, is open to the public during the week. Kensington Hilltop Elementary School, which has an excellent reputation, is the only public school in Kensington, with junior and high school students going to school in El Cerrito.