Stay-Cation Spots

We've got the places to visit during the summer, while you have the time and no college kids can get in your way. All you have to do is stay/go.

Lara Brucker/Staff

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Until you've got time to burn, BAM and PFA, both on Bancroft Way, are probably just two more acronyms you might remember from those lists of reasons why Berkeley is unique and cool and whatnot. But once you give them a chance, you'll find that what those letters stand for-Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive-will aid you plenty in your quest to distinguish yourself from the uncultured masses through obscure film and art knowledge.

Ever seen "The Dreamers"? No? It doesn't really matter. The point is, in that particular flick, a lot of NC-17-rated Frenchness happens as the result of film screenings at the Cinematheque Francaise, an institution that was the inspiration for the foundation of our very own PFA. You do the math. PFA houses one of the largest international film collections in the country and periodically they'll bust them out and show them on a big screen. It's fun. At $5.50 for students, screenings are also relatively cheap.

And the collections at BAM? Always free for students. You can literally step in, step out and call yourself a bona fide patron of the arts. Then, if something catches your eye, you can always stick around for a while-no harm done. At least during summer, you probably won't always be blowing through the museum as a shortcut on your way to class.

- Jill Cowan

The Big C

In 1905, the young men of the then-freshman and sophomore classes banded together in pouring rain, formed a human chain that reached up into the hills above campus and relayed upward the materials that would soon become the Big C. Apparently. That's what the Web site says, anyway. I'd like to believe it.

What I do know is that it's there now-an emblem of the Cal entity, a symbol of Cal spirit and a projection of Cal pride that was built in a time when those things actually meant something to everyone around here. I also know that, although it's still the site of Cal Band traditions and the occasional discoloring by our friendly rivals across the Bay, many a graduating senior has lamented over the fact that for some reason-that whole school thing, probably-they never made it up to the block letter in the hills.

So take advantage of the summer to take a hike. Ditch the flip-flops, lace up the sneakers and spend a morning exploring the trails behind campus. And make sure that the trip to the Big C doesn't become one of those old-school traditions that you never got around to doing.

- Matt Kawahara

Botanical Gardens

Possibly the best aspect of the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden is that one doesn't have to be a biology major in order to appreciate a fulfilling experience.

Located on Centennial Drive up in the hills, the Botanical Garden is probably one of the least-known places in Berkeley worth exploring. You can find anything from giant California Coast Redwoods to meat-eating pitcher plants-and if you want, you can even buy them (the carnivorous plants; there's probably not much you can do with a redwood in your dorm room or apartment).

The sheer size of the garden should keep anyone busy for a while, and the diversity almost guarantees something for everyone. There are also lawns and tables where you can picnic-and you'd better believe those grassy areas are a few steps up from Memorial Glade. If you don't have a car, you can get up there by taking Bear Transit's H line, a shuttle that runs from Downtown Berkeley up to the hills every 30 minutes.

Normal hours are from 9 to 5 p.m., though the greenhouses close an hour earlier. And like the Lawrence Hall of Science, admission is free with your Cal ID.

- Evante Garza-Licudine

The Lawrence Hall of Science

If you're reading this, odds are you're about three times as old as the Lawrence Hall of Science's usual crowd. But that's OK, because LHS almost always has something for people of all ages. For starters, admission for Cal students is free with a Cal ID-but if you don't have a Cal ID for any reason, admission is $11 for adults. If you're planning a trip up to LHS this summer, the featured exhibit will be "Animal Grossology," a somewhat entertaining animatronic-heavy display of different animals and their "gross" habits (did you know lions have fur in their poop? True story).

In addition to featured exhibits, LHS regularly plans other events. Every other Saturday, you can go up to LHS plaza and stargaze with astronomers from 9 to 11 p.m. with "astronomical telescopes." Sounds fancy! For those who really want to get in touch with their inner child, LHS has "Ice Cream Day" on July 15. You just need to bring the spoon and cup.

Those limited to taking public transportation should look at AC Transit's 65 bus line, which runs every hour from the Downtown Berkeley BART station up to LHS, or Bear Transit's H line, which goes every half hour-but is limited to weekdays.

- Evante Garza-Licudine


During the school year, being a student on this campus is kind of like that one episode of "The Twilight Zone." That one where all the guy wants to do is read in the bank vault all day, and then everybody disappears and he's about to get what he's always wanted, and he's going to the library, but his glasses tragically break. Yeah. Except, at Berkeley, instead of broken glasses, we have broken spirits.

This is why, despite the fact that you probably listed reading as one of your, like, favorite things ever on your college applications, once you got here you quickly realized how little time you would actually spend doing reading you enjoy.

Now that it's summer, rediscover the magic of reading! Stride on over to the Main Stacks in all your day-lit (as opposed to typically mole-like and nocturnal) glory. Pick out something that strikes your fancy. Read it because you want to.

And unless your idea of fun summer reading runs along the lines of a handwritten manuscript of the third rough draft of the Articles of Confederation or a Gutenberg Bible, the UC library is bound (see what we did there? Bound? Like a book?) to have it somewhere.

- Jill Cowan

Berkeley Marina

Hear that low, angry rumbling that's been hanging in the air since spring semester ended? If you listen real close, you can probably make out what it is: every SoCal kid who chose to stay up here muttering some variation of the phrase, "Damn it, I should be at the beach right now."

Fear not, ye of the sand- and surf-deprived. You're just a 51 ride (and a transfer to the 9) away from Berkeley's own waterfront playground-the Berkeley Marina. Although it arguably isn't as good for lying flat on the ground and doing nothing, it does offer great views of the Bay, an Adventure Playground, the Shorebird Nature Center and a 3,000-foot-long pier for fishing-all with low odds of leaving with sand stuck between your toes.

If you'll only go for an event, check out the Berkeley Kite Festival the last weekend of July. You can see traditional kites of the Sode-cho Kite-Flying Society of Hamamatsu, Japan, make your own kite, and witness the Berkeley Kite Wranglers' trademark "Octopile," which appears to be kind of like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade except with remarkably creepy giant octopi instead of Snoopy.

It isn't the beach. But hey, it was your decision to stay.

- Matt Kawahara

Thai Brunch

"Wat" would Berkeley residents do for Wat Mongkolratanaram? A lot. Fortunately, the food at Berkeley's (in)famous Thai Temple Brunch is not as bad as that or any of the other jokes we'll probably make, and it's as plentiful as the Berkeley City Zoning Board meetings that debated its very right to exist. You may remember the ups and downs of the epic saga that was the battle for Thai Temple Brunch's life. Nearby residents thought it was too noisy and smelled too delicious to keep on partying, but the folks at Wat Mongkolratanaram fought for their right to party (and practice their religion freely.)

Fortunately for Berkeley's Thai cuisine-loving constituent (i.e. everybody), they won, and the institution was allowed to remain open for business in South Berkeley, every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Now that you're out of meal points and the lazy haze of summer is upon you, it might be high time to give somewhere other than Crossroads a try for your midday weekend meal. The Yelp page says it's good for big groups, so grab a few friends and try it while you don't have to roll out of bed on Sundays just to start studying for the week ahead.

- Jill Cowan


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