Berkeley (/ˈbɜrkliː/ burk-lee) is a city on the east shore of San Francisco Bay in northern Alameda County, California. It is named after the eighteenth-century bishop and philosopher George Berkeley. It borders the cities of Oakland and Emeryville to the south and the city of Albany and unincorporated community of Kensington to the north. Its eastern border with Contra Costa County generally follows the ridge of the Berkeley Hills. Its population at the 2010 census was 112,580. It is one of the most politically liberal cities in the United States.
Berkeley is the site of the oldest campus in the University of California system – the University of California, Berkeley – and of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that the university manages and operates. It is also home to the Graduate Theological Union.
According to the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||University of California, Berkeley||14,245|
|2||Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory||4,200|
|3||Alta Bates Summit Medical Center||2,517|
|4||City of Berkeley||1,451|
|5||Berkeley Unified School District||1,166|
|10||Berkeley City College||260|
Former employers of note include the State of California Health Department (900 in 1988, 600 in 2001), now the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Health Care Services.
Berkeley is the location of a number of nationally prominent businesses, many of which have been pioneers in their areas of operation. Notable businesses include Chez Panisse, birthplace of California cuisine, Peet’s Coffee’s original store, the Claremont Resort, punk rock haven 924 Gilman, and Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy Studios. Notable former businesses include pioneer bookseller Cody’s Books, The Nature Company, and the Berkeley Co-op.
See also: List of Berkeley neighborhood
The Claremont Resort at the heart of the Claremont neighborhood.
Berkeley has a number of distinct neighborhoods.
Surrounding the University of California campus are the most densely populated parts of the city. West of the campus is Downtown Berkeley, the city’s traditional commercial core; home of the civic center, the city’s only public high school, the busiest BART station in Berkeley, as well as a major transfer point for AC Transit buses. South of the campus is the Southside neighborhood, mainly a student ghetto, where much of the university’s student housing is located. The busiest stretch of Telegraph Avenue is in this neighborhood. North of the campus is the quieter Northside neighborhood, the location of the Graduate Theological Union.
Further from the university campus, the influence of the university quickly becomes less visible. Most of Berkeley’s neighborhoods are primarily made up of detached houses, often with separate in-law units in the rear, although larger apartment buildings are also common in many neighborhoods. Commercial activities are concentrated along the major avenues and at important intersections.
In the southeastern corner of the city is the Claremont District, home to the Claremont Hotel; and the Elmwood District, with a small shopping area on College Avenue. West of Elmwood is South Berkeley, known for its weekend flea market at the Ashby Station.
West of (and including) San Pablo Avenue, a major commercial corridor, is West Berkeley, the historic commercial center of the city, and the former unincorporated town of Ocean View. West Berkeley contains the remnants of Berkeley’s industrial area, much of which has been replaced by retail and office uses, as well as residential live/work loft space, with the decline of manufacturing in the United States. The areas of South and West Berkeley are in the midst of redevelopment. Some residents have opposed redevelopment in this area. Along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay at the foot of University Avenue is the Berkeley Marina. Nearby is Berkeley’s Aquatic Park, featuring an artificial linear lagoon of San Francisco Bay.
North of Downtown is the North Berkeley neighborhood, which has been nicknamed the “Gourmet Ghetto” because of the concentration of well-known restaurants and other food-related businesses. West of North Berkeley is Westbrae, a small neighborhood through which part of the Ohlone Greenway runs. Meanwhile, further north of North Berkeley are Northbrae, a master-planned subdivision from the early 20th century, and Thousand Oaks. Above these last three neighborhoods, in the northeastern part of Berkeley, are theBerkeley Hills. The neighborhoods of the Berkeley Hills such as Cragmont and La Loma Park are notable for their dramatic views, winding streets, and numerous public stairways and paths.
Doe Memorial Library, the main library of the University of California, Berkeley Libraries.
Berkeley and the San Francisco Bay at nightfall, as seen from theLawrence Hall of Science.
The city has many parks, and promotes greenery and the environment. The city has planted trees for years and is a leader in the nationwide effort to re-tree urban areas. Tilden Regional Park, lies east of the city, occupying the upper extent of Wildcat Canyon between the Berkeley Hills and the San Pablo Ridge. The city is also heavily involved in creek restoration and wetlands restoration, including a planned daylighting of Strawberry Creek along Center Street. The Berkeley Marina and East Shore State Park flank its shoreline at San Francisco Bay and organizations like the Urban Creeks Council and Friends of the Five Creeks the former of which is headquartered in Berkeley support the riparian areas in the town and coastlines as well.César Chávez Park, near the Berkeley Marina, was built at the former site of the city dump.
165 buildings in Berkeley are designated as local landmarks or local structures of merit. Of these, 49 are listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including:
Studio Building, 2045 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA.
Historic Districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places:
See List of Berkeley Landmarks, Structures of Merit, and Historic Districts
The Campanile and Sather Gate on the UC Berkeley campus.
Berkeley is home to the Chilean-American community’s La Peña Cultural Center, the largest cultural center for this community in the United States. The Freight and Salvage is the oldest established full-time folk and traditional music venue west of the Mississippi River.
Colleges and universities
University of California, Berkeley’s main campus is in the city limits.
The Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of nine independent theological schools, is located a block north of the University of California Berkeley’s main campus. The Graduate Theological Union has the largest number of students and faculty of any religious studies doctoral program in the United States. Wright Institute, a psychology graduate school, is located in Berkeley. In addition, Berkeley City College is a community college in the Peralta Community College District.
Berkeley High School
The Berkeley Unified School District operates public schools.
The first public school in Berkeley was the Ocean View School, now the site of the Berkeley Adult School located at Virginia Street and San Pablo Avenue. The public schools today are administered by the Berkeley Unified School District. In the 1960s, Berkeley was one of the earliest US cities to voluntarily desegregate, utilizing a system of buses, still in use. The city has one public high school, Berkeley High School (BHS). Established in 1880, BHS currently has over 3,000 students. The Berkeley High campus was designated a historic district by the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, 2008. Saint Mary’s College High School, a Catholic school, has its street address in Berkeley, although most of the grounds and buildings are actually in neighboring Albany. Berkeley has 11 elementary schools and three middle schools.
There is also the Bay Area Technology School, the only school in the whole Bay Area to offer a technology- and science-based curriculum, with connections to leading universities.
Berkeley Public Library serves as the municipal library. University of California, Berkeley Libraries operates the University of California Berkeley libraries.