If you take a look around this weekend, you might notice that a few things are a little out of the ordinary. The trees are newly pruned, it’s a tad cloudier than normal, and campus is positively swarming with mobs of parents, siblings and alumni. Welcome to Homecoming Weekend, kids.
You’re probably one of the many students whose relatives are coming up (or down) to visit “the No. 1 public university in the world” — and also probably one of the many students who haven’t planned out what they’re going to do with their family once they actually arrive. Never fear, readers: The Daily Californian is here, along with plenty of places you can take Mama and Papa Bear this weekend to keep them busy (and out of your horrifically messy dorm).
The top of the Campanile
OK, we admit this first one’s pretty basic. Who here hasn’t taken a ride up to the top of Sather Tower and peered through the clouds down to the bridge and the bay? The answer is your family, that’s who. A lift to the top is only $3 for each parent, $2 for your younger siblings and grandparents, and absolutely zero for your starving-college-student self, provided you have your Cal 1 Card on hand. It’s a great way for your family to get a nice overview of Berkeley (literally) and for you to get a good Snapchat selfie with your mom. Don’t forget the Campanile geotag!
The Big C
This scenic overlook takes a bit of a hike to get to, but once you get to the top, it’s well worth the effort. It takes about half an hour to get from the bottom (near Stern and Foothill) up the steep dirt trail to the concrete seating at the top, but if you time it right, you can make it just in time to see the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Your family will be amazed by the sight — not just of the scenery, but also of your rippling calf muscles as you charge up the incline without a second thought. Every day is leg day here, and it sure pays off.
The Faculty Club
Commonly known as that fancy wooden building you pass by every morning on your way down 4.0 Hill, the Faculty Club is, surprisingly, more than just a place for your professor to disappear into after morning lecture: It also boasts a full dining hall open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to all members of the campus community. If you’re looking to spend some quality time with your family and get a meal that hasn’t been made in a dining hall or a microwave, definitely check out this hidden gem. It’s a little pricey, but isn’t the whole point of Parents’ Weekend getting your family to buy you food?
The Berkeley Rose Garden
Located about a mile past the north end of campus on Euclid Avenue, this city-owned park boasts more than 100 varieties of roses arranged in a terraced amphitheater facing San Francisco and the bay. Featuring a calming atmosphere and pleasant scents, it’s a nice place to visit with your parents or any older relatives who’d enjoy a refreshing break from the homecoming hubbub on campus. Plus, spending the day in a rose garden will make you seem like sophisticated and cultured adults, not frazzled college students who forgot this was the weekend their family was visiting.
The Berkeley Marina
It may be October, but we are the University of California, after all, and in California, it’s summer the whole year round. Take a short trip down to the docks at the Berkeley Marina for some waterfront fun — a nature center and a great view of the boats are just hints of what this venue has to offer. Make sure you and your family are decked out in UC Berkeley sweatshirts before you hop in the car or on the bus to go: It gets really chilly really fast down by the marina.
Maybe yours isn’t a clan of adventurers; that’s OK. Sometimes it’s just better to stick with the classics. Take some time to catch up with your parents, siblings or other relatives at your favorite study table at Strada. Maybe introduce them to your favorite coffee or tea, and tell them to try the biscotti. It’s a good way to unwind from a busy day of traversing the campus and a low-stress method of letting your family get a feel for Berkeley’s cool cafe vibes.
Bancroft Way, Telegraph Avenue and Durant Avenue
We know you’ve seen these streets before, but your mom and dad haven’t. Taking a stroll down to the restaurants and shops you know and love not only is a good way of spending time with your family and getting to see the area, but also provides a good amount of conversation fodder for when the stories of what’s going on back home run dry. It also serves as an opportunity to show off your intimate knowledge of Berkeley’s finest boba places as someone who has tried each drink at ShareTea multiple times. Bonus points if you can convince your family that Gypsy’s is referred to as “Cal’s own local low-cal calzone zone.”
So your parents seem to be more interested in exploring UC Berkeley itself rather than the places around it. Don’t fret: The campus has got you covered for the weekend. For those bound between Sather Gate and Northside, a comprehensive list of on-campus events you and your family can attend this weekend, including homecoming tours and spirit rallies, is available here. Alternatively, check out the brand new ASUC Student Union complex down on Lower Sproul: a perfect place for your family to grab lunch and some Cal gear, and for you to show off just how shiny campus buildings can be.