The great outdoors
Berkeley has many fantastic hiking trails with spectacular views of the bay area. Tilden Regional Park is a quick bus ride from campus with a variety of difficulties of hiking trails. A group of students visited for a leisurely afternoon hike to start off the semester this year. The Berkeley fire trails are in the hills just behind campus.
For some variety, hop across the bay to Mount Tamalpais or Point Reyes in Marin County for some more beautiful views.
The botanical gardens are a great place to take your family when they visit. Berkeley students get in free, and the variety of plants is impressive. There is even a store where you can buy plants (like mini cacti) to brighten up your apartment. The Berkeley Rose Garden is a 15 minute walk from campus and has a beautiful view of the bay. It's a perfect destination when you need a study break.
There are plenty of places to roller blade, skate, or ride a bike, like the Bay Trail, the San Francisco Midnight Ride, the third floor of Evans. The RSF organises a number of intramural sports.
Many of us in the department are yoga enthusiasts, and Berkeley is filled with yoga studios to suit any particular yoga preference. Ask around, and we'll share our favorites!
On campus, there are gyms offering sports and group fitness activities.
People's Park is of tremendous historical importance, but it's not a nice place to hang out. There are plenty of other parks around, though, some with reservable space. Our annual departmental welcome picnic is held at Glendale La Loma Park, where we take in the beautiful views with some delicious deep dish pizza.
Once voted "the best place to people watch" by the San Francisco Chronicle, presumably some decades ago. Still, it has the terrific Amoeba and Rasputin music stores, neat thrift stores, good bookstores and a ton of restaurants. Plus the local characters, who are always a treat.
Right off campus, there's the newly renovated Berkeley Arts Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Exhibitions change regularly, and there are frequent showings of interesting films. Berkeley students get in free!
On campus, the Berkeley Art Studio offers classes each semester, from pottery to painting to printmaking. Students can take classes at discounted rates, and these can be a great way to explore interests outside of statistics. I took an Outdoor Oil Painting class over the summer and found it to be highly educational as well as a great way to meet other graduate students.
Downtown, there are the California and Shattuck theatres, both part of the slightly arty Landmark chain. There's also the more blockbustery United Artists.
There are various neighbourhood theatres which may be convenient for you: the Elmwood (really cheap on Tuesdays), the Oaks, the Landmark Albany. There are also a couple of large multiplexes in Emeryville, if you like that sort of thing.
We know art and we know what we like: Justin Timberlake. Those with differing taste should note the Berkeley Rep Theatre and Berkeley Symphony are all pretty good at what they do.
The UC system has arguably the best collection on the west coast. Berkeley's is the third largest university library in the world. Some of the books aren't even about statistics. The Berkeley Public Library is pretty neat as well.
See places to drink.
The UC Theater and the Fox Theater have concerts for all music tastes.
On the first Friday of every month, Oakland shuts down several blocks of Telegraph Ave and hosts a street fair with food trucks, vendors, and live music.