I remember the first time that I set foot in Berkeley: It was April 2018, and my parents and I had flown to the Bay Area to attend Cal Day. (And to get a first look at my future school!)
While I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to attend such a prestigious institution, what really motivated me were the crazy-cool restaurants and diverse cultural events that the city of Berkeley had to offer. Being passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle, all the places I sought to explore revolved around health and wellness.
Although I have yet to explore all of the incredible places around Berkeley, the spots I found the week of Cal Day have remained my personal favorites. Here’s a (more or less structured) itinerary of what my ideal healthy Saturday in Berkeley would look like:
After sleeping in for a bit, I head to the RSF for a much-needed workout session. Weekdays can get hectic, so Saturdays are perfect for a nice long sweat session. Cycling classes are my absolute favorite — the classes are less than an hour and leave you feeling invigorated and ready to take on the day.
After finishing my workout and showering, I’ll walk over to the Downtown Berkeley Farmers’ Market (held every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
I first stop at Ernie’s stand for some fresh apple cider — definitely the best in town! I pick up a few bottles to drink throughout the week (and maybe to fuel some all-night study sessions).
Next, I’ll check out some fresh produce stands. Sadly, peach season is over now, but there are still plenty of fresh fruits and veggies this time of year. Supporting local farmers is incredibly important, so I’ll pick up anything that looks good and fresh.
At this point, I’m pretty hungry, so I stop by my absolute favorite stand at the Farmers’ Market: Andy and Cindy’s Thai food. The chicken curry is absolutely mouthwatering — full of fresh, seasonal vegetables (such as buttery squash and tender broccoli florets) and complete with a delectable coconut curry sauce, this dish is a must try. I’ll take my plate out to the nearby lawn, and if it’s a nice day, I’ll try to catch some much-needed sun.
After hitting up the farmers’ market, I head to the local Trader Joe’s (which is only a few blocks away!) and stock up on any food I’ll need for the week. I have an unfortunate habit of overestimating the amount of food that can fit in my mini fridge, so often times I end up having to cram everything I’ve bought into my already full fridge. (Sorry, roomie!)
After dropping off my purchases at the dorm, I’ll head to the library (either Moffitt or the East Asian Library) for some much-needed study time. If it’s sunny, I’ll take my books out to the Glade. Sometimes, I’ll get lucky and witness a Quidditch practice, which is always fun to watch!
By this point, I’m hungry again, so I’ll try to make it to Palm Açai Cafe before it closes at 5 p.m. Palm has, in my opinion, the best açai in Berkeley. The Palma bowl is my personal favorite — reminiscent of the huge, loaded smoothie bowls you’ll see in Hawaii. This dish has it all: crunchy granola (with puffs of brown rice for that added wow factor), banana coins, strawberry slices, goji berries and coconut flakes, all topped with a drizzle of sweet honey.
If I’m feeling like something savory instead, I’ll head to House of Curries. Full of delicious lentils and a hearty, spicy sauce, the Chicken Daal is my favorite.
After eating, I’ll head back to my dorm to catch up on some studying. To reward myself for being productive, I’ll either binge watch a few episodes of “Friends” with my roommate or perhaps make a light night run to a local convenience store for some dark chocolate.
After a full, satisfying day of eating and walking around Berkeley, the time has come to wind down. I’ll curl up in bed with a hot cup of tea, binge watch a few episodes of “The Act” and fall asleep to the noises of this beloved city.