A Weekend in Berkeley
Written by 2019 Berkeley Half Marathon Ambassador John Lee. John lives in the East Bay and is a member of run club, East Bay Beer Runners.
Are you traveling from out of town for the Berkeley Half Marathon or already live in the Bay Area? Let’s have a look at what’s going on the same weekend in the East Bay. The East Bay, which is a region east of the San Francisco Bay, includes a lot of territory. This blog post will focus on Berkeley and cities near Berkeley.
Average high temperature in Berkeley for the month of November is 65F. The average low is 47F.
If you’re flying in, Oakland Airport is the most convenient. Another option is San Francisco airport if there are no direct flights to Oakland and/or flights to SFO cost much less.
There are about half a dozen hotels within walking distance of the starting line in Berkeley. Downtown Oakland is another popular spot for hotels and is about 5 miles away from the starting line.
The weather should be nice enough to enjoy outdoor activities. Tilden Regional Park, part of which is located in Berkeley, is a 2000 plus acre park which offers a biking, botanic garden, fishing, golf, hiking and more.
Lake Merritt is the United States’ first official wildlife refuge. It’s a great place to get a short run in before race day. The Lake is about 5K in diameter. The Lake Merritt Boating Center offers different boats for rent for a chance to view Oakland from a unique perspective from the lake’s tranquil waters. On Saturday mornings the farmer’s market in nearby Splash Pad Park is a great place for breakfast or lunch. Think food trucks without trucks.
The Oakland Raiders are playing a home game versus the Cincinnati Bengals. The Raiders are moving out of state after this season. For some people, this could be their last chance to see the Raiders play in Oakland. Half marathon starts at 7:30am. Kick off is at 1:25pm.
There are some great live music venues in the East Bay. My two favorites are The Fox Theater and The Greek Theatre. The Fox Theater in Oakland is an architectural masterpiece. It was renovated 10 years ago to become one of the top music venues in the Bay Area. Opened in 1903, The William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre in Berkeley is the longest-running outdoor amphitheater in the country.
The East Bay is home to many great restaurants. Because it’s so easy to find great restaurants on Google Maps, I’ll only name a few restaurants that serve food that may not be readily available elsewhere.
Burmese food is taking off in the East Bay. Teni East Kitchen and Burma Superstar are a couple of standouts. If you’re going to Burma Superstar call ahead to order take out. Waiting times are long during the weekends.
There are more than a dozen Ethiopian restaurants in the East Bay. I’ve been told there are enough Ethiopian places in the East Bay to have regional variations of the same dishes shine through. Asmara Restaurant and Addis Restaurant are a couple of my favorites.
For brunch try College Avenue in the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland and Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.
The quality and number of craft breweries in the East Bay have proliferated in the last decade and so have wine and distilled spirits. The wines made in the East Bay are generally approachable and the setting doesn’t feel like a tourist trap like Napa. Let’s explore these places in clusters.
Berkeley – Fieldwork is arguably the best brewery in the Bay Area. Although there is more than one location, the Berkeley location is the only one where Fieldwork’s beers are made. There are breweries and wineries within walking distance from Fieldwork.
Jack London Square in Oakland – 4 breweries within a quarter mile radius and 2 wineries nearby. If that’s too much walking before or after running a half marathon/10K/5K, Beer Revolution in Jack London Square has around 50 beers on tap so one can explore beers of the Bay Area in one spot. The two oldest bars in Oakland, Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon and Merchant’s Saloon are also located in Jack London Square.
Alameda – About a 15 minute drive from the nearest point in Oakland this island city has an area called “Spirits Alley.” There are 2 breweries, 2 distilleries and 3 wineries in Spirits Alley. One of the best views from the Bay can be seen from Faction Brewing. If you’re into history the USS Hornet Museum is nearby. This is the retired naval ship that led the recovery of the first astronauts to land on the Moon.
Whether you’re visiting from out of town or are a lifelong Bay Area resident, the East Bay has a lot to offer.