One of the perks of going to school in Berkeley is the number of events going on at any given point, whether across the bay in San Francisco or a quick bus ride away in Oakland. When you’re not busy with classes, studying and hanging out around campus, exploring the Bay Area is a great way to make your freshman year even better.
We at The Daily Californian have put together a calendar of some of the events and activities in the area that you can do during your first semester here without breaking the bank.
As you settle in at Berkeley, you’ll hear about all sorts of events. Keep your eyes open and don’t forget to leave the Berkeley bubble now and then — have a great time.
Free museum entrance
First Tuesday of the month
The first Tuesday of every month, the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor museum near Land’s End offer free admission, so all you have to pay to see beautiful works of art is the price of a BART ticket.
Oakland First Fridays
First Friday of the month
Oakland First Fridays, which take place on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland between West Grand Avenue and 27th Street from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., are hugely popular events that celebrate local food, art, performance and community. You should go at least once, if not several times.
Free national parks weekend
Aug. 25 to 28
In between getting to know people and getting settled in, you and your new friends could take a day trip and hit up Muir Woods in celebration of the National Parks’ birthday because it’s basically in your backyard now.
Calapalooza is a must for any freshman — it’s when most clubs and organizations set up stalls on Sproul Plaza and show you what they’re all about. It’s a great way to figure out what organizations you might want to join.
Shakespeare in the Park
Sept. 3 to 18, Sept. 24 to Oct. 2
See Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale” for free in San Francisco at 2 p.m. on weekends in either the Presidio’s Civil War Parade Ground or McLaren Park, depending on the date. Shakespeare in the Park is on its 33rd annual season of offering different, free Shakespeare shows. “A Winter’s Tale” is known as one of the best plays of Shakespeare’s later years, so it’s bound to be a wonderful production.
Noon concert series
Every Wednesday beginning Sept. 7
The Department of Music hosts free concerts every Wednesday from 12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Hertz Hall, with performances by various visiting and student groups. It’s perfect if you have a noontime break between classes.
$5 A’s game night
Every summer, the Oakland A’s host a series of games where you can get in for only $5, the last of which is Sept. 9. Grab some friends and see some major league baseball for the price of boba or a CREAM ice cream sandwich.
Free Sailboat Ride Day with Cal Sailing Club
Sept. 18, Oct. 2, Nov. 6
Get up close and personal with the Bay with some help from our very own Cal Sailing Club. While it might very well be freezing, it’s sure to be fun.
Free Exploratorium days
Sept. 18, Oct. 30
The Exploratorium in San Francisco is always a blast, especially if you understand the science behind the cool exhibits there. Fight your way through a knee-high tide of children to learn some science for free.
Free admission to the California Academy of Sciences
Speaking of learning some science for free, the incredible California Academy of Sciences is definitely worth a trip into the city, especially when it’s free for the public.
*Oakland Eat Real Fest
Sept. 23 to 25
This combination of artisan food and street food is perhaps the most Bay Area thing you could do — all the food is fresh and local, grown sustainably and is largely organic. Hey, sometimes living up to stereotypes is completely delicious.
Reunion and Parents Weekend at Homecoming
Sept. 30 to Oct. 2
Lectures, tailgates and football games, oh my! Reunion and Parents Weekend at Homecoming is a nonstop party. If your parents are coming, there are tons of different events (and restaurants!) you can take them to. If not, don’t worry — between the game and the various events, you won’t have a dull moment.
Treasure Island Music Festival
Oct. 15 to 16
If music festivals are your scene, get ready for the annual Treasure Island Music Festival in the middle of the semester. Grab some carpool buddies or a bus and make the journey to Treasure Island — it’s only about 10 miles off campus by car. The lineup is already released and tickets are already on sale, so make sure to move fast.
Now is your time to participate in the political process — for some of you, it will be your first time voting for the presidency. Get out there and vote on Election Day if you haven’t already mailed in your ballot by then.
The Big Game
By now, you’ve already heard of the infamous Berkeley-Stanfurd rivalry. This year, you can see it live because we’re hosting the Big Game in Memorial Stadium. Another huge perk — as freshmen, you have free football tickets.