Downtown Tour in Berkeley, Berkeley (Self Guided)

Berkeley's downtown is home to several historic buildings and structures, each of them with their own history. The area is famous for the Old City Hall, Civic Center Park and the Veteran's Memorial Building. Visitors can also learn about the city’s history in the Berkeley Public Library's History Room.
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Downtown Tour in Berkeley Map

Guide Name: Downtown Tour in Berkeley
Guide Location: USA » Berkeley (See other walking tours in Berkeley)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
Author: AudreyB
1
Old City Hall

1) Old City Hall (must see)

Completed in 1909, the Old City Hall has a long history. Designed by Bakewell and Brown in a French Renaissance style, it is one of Berkeley's eight official city landmarks and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
2
Berkeley Community Theater

2) Berkeley Community Theater

Berkeley Community Theater is a theater located in Berkeley, California, on the campus of Berkeley High School. The theater is used by Berkeley High School and the Berkeley Unified School District. The theater building also holds the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, a smaller theater that is often used for Berkeley High School music and theater performances. The Art Deco-style theater has 3,491 seats, including a balcony section. A large stage is extended by an orchestra pit that can be raised or lowered.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Veteran's Memorial Building

3) Veteran's Memorial Building

Located across the street from Civic Center Park, Veteran’s Memorial Building is an impressive edifice that houses the Berkeley Historical Society. Designed in 1928 by Henry H. Meyers, the building is part of the Civic Center Historic District and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
4
Civic Center Park

4) Civic Center Park

Also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Civic Center Park was designed in 1983 and dedicated to civil rights. Home to a fountain and a peace wall inlaid with tiles, in 1997 the park was registered as an historic landmark. It is a wonderful place to relax and offers a great view of the Old Town Hall.
5
Golden Sheaf Bakery

5) Golden Sheaf Bakery

Now used as the Nevo Educational Centre, the Golden Sheaf Bakery was constructed in 1877 by Jonathan Garrard Wright. Located near the Kress building, the present structure was built in 1905. Designed by the remarkable architect Clinton Day, it was only used as a storage building for the bakery. This two-story red brick and terracotta building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
6
Kress Building

6) Kress Building

Named after the S.H. Kress & Company chain of department stores, the Kress Building is remarkable for its Art Deco architecture, similar to that of every store in the chain. Designed in 1933 by Edward F. Sibbert, the building is notable for its brick walls, narrow windows, various adornments and impressive roof parapet.
7
Studio Building

7) Studio Building

The Studio Building is a historic building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It dates back to 1905, and at the time of its building was the tallest building in downtown Berkeley. It was built by Frederick H. Dakin, for use by his real estate investment company. The architect is not recorded.

The building is five stories tall and built of masonry with a tiled mansard roof and rounded upper floor window bays. The first-floor bays, used as shop fronts, were originally built in the form of a series of alternating rounded and pointed arches, although some of these have since been covered. The building's name is set into the tile floor at the entrance, and derives from the fact that the top floor of the building was designed as artists’ studios.

The building was restored in the late 1970s, and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Jupiter

8) Jupiter

Jupiter, a popular two-story alehouse, hosts live music concerts, especially jazz, nearly every day. It boasts an impressive interior, with Gothic features in its main room, antique illumination and a wooden icebox. Offering lunch and dinner, it is famous for its colorful variety of concerts, including jazz, acoustic, funk, country and any many other kinds of music.
9
Berkeley Public Library

9) Berkeley Public Library

The Berkeley Public Library is the public library system for Berkeley. It consists of the Central Branch, the North Branch, Claremont Branch, South Branch, and West Branch.

The Berkeley Public Library opened in 1893 on Shattuck Avenue with 264 books. In 1905 the library moved to another location on Shattuck Avenue at Kittridge Street, into a new brick building funded by Andrew Carnegie onto land donated by Rosa Shattuck. Immediately following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the population surge that resulted, the library opened four other branches throughout Berkeley.

A new central library opened in 1934 at its current site and remained the central branch until it was renovated and reopened in 2002.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Tupper and Reed Building

10) Tupper and Reed Building

The Tupper and Reed Building was erected in 1906 to house John Tupper and Lawrence Reed's music store. Located on Shattuck Ave, this building was designed by William Raymond Yelland in his storybook house style. Built from brick and wood, it features balconies, a fireplace, impressive adornments and an iron cutout of this landmark building’s name.
11
Masonic Temple

11) Masonic Temple

The Masonic Temple is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Classical Revival style building, designed by William H. Wharff, was built in 1905. The ground floor of the building is unoccupied and the remaining floors are used by University staff including California Center for Innovative Transportation and the National Writing Project.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Corder Building

12) Corder Building

The Corder Building, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is located on Shattuck Avenue between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue. Built in 1921, designed by James W. Plachek, this warm sand colored landmark with white columns and balconies is also notable for its fine white adornments.

Walking Tours in Berkeley, California

Create Your Own Walk in Berkeley

Create Your Own Walk in Berkeley

Creating your own self-guided walk in Berkeley is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
City Orientation Walk

City Orientation Walk

Berkeley is renowned for a number of listed historic sights; among them churches, private homes, public buildings and other historically important edifices reflecting the town's architectural beauty. Primarily, though, the town is famous for being home to the University of California, Berkeley Campus. As a student place, it also abounds in restaurants, bookstores and clothing shops, not to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
University of California Tour in Berkeley, Part 2

University of California Tour in Berkeley, Part 2

As the University of California is considered an architectural beauty, the north side of the campus features some of the university's most historically significant buildings. Founders' Rock, the University House and Wellman Hall, along with the campus’ green spaces, such as Memorial Glade and Eucalyptus Grove, are wonderful city landmarks worth seeing.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Famous Museums and Galleries in Berkeley

Famous Museums and Galleries in Berkeley

Berkeley is home to several significant museums, including the University of California Museum of Paleontology, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The city is also home to art galleries, allowing emerging artists to continue the city’s cultural life.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.0 km
Telegraph Avenue Shopping in Berkeley

Telegraph Avenue Shopping in Berkeley

As Berkeley is a colorful and joyful city, it offers a great variety of places to shop. Telegraph Avenue is the best shopping area in the city, featuring Rasputin and Amoeba Music, the originality of Berkeley Hat, Bear Basics and Bancroft Clothing. Great gift shops featuring unique items can also be found in this wonderful city.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
University of California Tour in Berkeley, Part 1

University of California Tour in Berkeley, Part 1

The campus of the University of California is the core of Berkeley's treasures. Its design is the result of a 1898 architectural competition. Every part of its architecture has its own story. Take a look at the southern part of the university in the following tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 km
Berkeley Landmarks Tour

Berkeley Landmarks Tour

Berkeley is famous for the amount of wonderful structures it has listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Churches, old private houses, buildings of historical importance and other impressive edifices are all representative of Berkley’s architectural beauty.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.2 km

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Berkeley for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Berkeley has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Berkeley, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.