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What to do when your parents are in town

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JULY 10, 2015

Your parents are in town, and that means two things. First, you’re going to eat real food that somebody else makes instead of boxed macaroni and orange juice straight from the carton. Second, you’re going to get lovingly yelled at about things. It’s time for you to clean up your room and your act. It’s also time for you to think of some brilliant and parent-friendly activities. We can’t help you with your room, but we can help you with providing entertainment.

Here are a few ways to keep your parents entertained during their visit:


A chef working at Chez Panisse.

Dine fine

Parents mean the joy of family and also increased budget, mobility and sense of occasion. Take take this opportunity to eat what you typically can’t. Have a nice brunch at La Note or trek out to Cheeseboard. Go to those fairy lit, date night Gourmet Ghetto restaurants or whatever place it is that you’ve been dying to try or have heard great things about but never had the time for. We’re not saying you should break the bank, but you should broaden your horizons and venture outside the five-block, $10 perimeter of your usual off-campus eating.

uc berkeley botannical gardens

Commune with some nature

Head to the hills and spend a day at the UC Botanical Gardens! The sprawling garden boasts giant cacti, lush roses, tall redwoods, a host of greenhouse carnivores, themed sections like the pretty Japanese garden and a gift shop, where you can take home your very own carnivore plant. It’s like a zoo without the rip-off or the guilt because, unlike lions, flowers don’t mind not wandering freely across the savannah. Your parents will like the low cost, the educational bent and the wholesome quality of being in the great-ish outdoors.


Catch a show

Treat your parents to a night at the theater. Or more accurately, let them treat you. Berkeley theaters are a little quiet over the summer, but if you’re looking for highbrow you can catch an Anna Deavere Smith show at Berkeley Rep, the free AileyCamp show at Cal Performances on July 30, or catch a film at the Pacific Film Archive (OK, they’re doing a lot of Tarkovsky right now, and that is almost nobody’s idea of fun, but to each their own, and also there’s some Laurel & Hardy coming soon). Or just head to one of the many movie theaters on Shattuck to catch something a little more casual.


Show off campus

Berkeley’s biggest attraction is our very own university. We have 32 libraries, more than 10 million books, 14 internal colleges and schools, a 142-year-old building, a creek, an iconic bell tower, a theater, a surprisingly high number of cute woodland creatures and plenty of sunny glades to take a moment and enjoy it all. Besides, what better way to show your parents your appreciation by giving them a personalized tour of the hallowed halls of your education and also what they’re paying so much for.

Clarion Alley Mural

Leave Berkeley

We love Berkeley, and we almost never get bored, mostly because we’re so busy, but on occasion it’s important to puncture the Berkeley bubble. If your parents have a car or even just a willingness to explore, take the opportunity to check out all the cool restaurants, museums, shops and pose-able walls of Oakland and San Francisco. Take advantage of the Bay Area while you’re here, and let your parents in on the fun!

Image source: Ingrid TaylarHayden Irwin and Zervas under Creative Commons

Contact Miya Singer at [email protected].

JULY 09, 2015