There are many wonderful things about living with kids in Berkeley. We never run out of fun places to go and things to do! Here are 14 terrific places to take your little ones in Berkeley inspired by all the unique gems the city has to offer.
- Stroll or bike around Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina. There’s lots of scenery and a three-bridge view – great for playing “I Spy” as you go. It’s almost always windy at Cesar Chavez and you can practice your kite-flying skills year-round in prep for the annual Berkeley Kite Festival, which takes place every July (hopefully!). Shorebird Park is great for little kids, and the small beach just down from the playground is fun for finding little crabs at low tide.
- Wander the magical trails, bridges, hiding places, and waterfalls at the Tilden Botanical Park (free!) and the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden (free for children under 6) with bonus activities of spotting lizards and spiders. Both are now open by appointment.
- Check out the wildlife indoors. Kid favorites are Your Basic Bird on College (parrots, cockatoos, and finches!) and the East Bay Vivarium (turtles, snakes, and frogs!). Don’t bring balloons inside – it scares the animals. Wander around Fourth Street when you’ve had your fill of snakes.
- Visit the Normandy Village in North Berkeley for a beyond cute fairy-tale photo opp. Make sure to wear your favorite princess dress!
- Spend a half-day with the animals of Tilden Park: You can feed the barnyard animals at the Little Farm (bring celery!) and then take a short walk to Jewel Lake to see the turtles sunning on logs. You might even get chased by turkeys.
- Explore a creek. There are at least five creeks running through Berkeley (depending on the season)! The most accessible to the public are Codornices and Strawberry Creeks, the latter of which also runs through the UC Berkeley campus. Easy hiking trails and bridges are along the creek in Codornices Park (plus a great slide and sandbox). Kids can get up close to the water in Strawberry Creek Park while parents hang out in the grassy field and enjoy a bite from the cafe that faces the park. Live Oak Park surrounds its creek and is a block away from the North Shattuck area (formerly Gourmet Ghetto). Grab a pizza from Cheeseboard and have lunch by the creek.
- Ride your trikes and bikes along the Ohlone Greenway. The Ohlone Greenway is a wide, safe sidewalk that runs along or under the BART tracks, from Ohlone Park in North Berkeley near the BART Station to the Albany border and beyond to the Richmond Greenway. At the Gilman intersection, you can stop for bagels at Berkeley Bagels or enjoy a full Brazilian Cafe meal at the Westbrae Biergarten with outdoor seating and a toddler sandpit. Cedar-Rose Park is also right nearby.
- Walk or bike the Bay Trail from Emeryville, through Berkeley, to the Richmond Marina. As the name suggests, this path offers great views along the water’s edge the whole way. Best for more experienced bikers.
- Climb the “secret staircases“ and hidden paths throughout the neighborhoods of the Berkeley hills. The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association has them mapped for you to explore.
- Visit one of the 11 Berkeley elementary school playgrounds. They all function as no-pets-allowed public parks on the weekend and each has something special and new-to-you. Bring a ball, bike, or scooter and test your skills on a new play structure.
- Check out one of the many awesome playgrounds around town. From Totland for your younger children to Dreamland for some epic hide-and-seek games with bigger kids, there are so many fun parks to try.
- Eat Outside at one of the fabulous restaurants in Berkeley. We’re all cooking at home so much these days, it’s nice to take a break and enjoy a family meal al fresco.
- Find all 80 murals in Berkeley. Yes, there are that many! You can see them pictured here. Think of it as a treasure hunt. While you’re at it, check out Quirky Berkeley by Tom Dalzell for even more artistic gems hidden in Berkeley.
- The best view of the sunset is from Indian Rock off the Arlington just up from the Fountain. Steep stair steps are cut into the rock and there are lots of hidey holes to explore. Best for sure-footed school-age children and up. Watch for broken glass. If scrambling up rocks is your thing, there are plenty of other places in Berkeley to hone your skills