SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA
We hope that RT2012's diverse and interesting technical program will keep you in the meeting rooms... most of the time! There is no denying that a vibrant downtown is at our doorstep, a major university is just a few blocks uphill, and a beautiful region of California is all around. This page will offer some suggestions on what you might see and do on your own at various distances from the venue and levels of time commitment, from lunch to a weekend day.
Within Easy to Moderate Walking Distance
Our location is on a main commercial street just a few short downtown blocks from the west side of the University of California campus. Many interesting things to do are close at hand.
Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue
Another entertainment and shopping district is just across the street from the south side of the campus, along Bancroft Way. Halfway up Bancroft Way from the hotel you come to an important juncture. The shops and scene of ever-colorful Telegraph Avenue extend to the south. Just to the north, within the campus, are lively Sproul Plaza and such features of public interest as Zellerbach Hall. (The week of RT2012, Cal Performances will present Ojai North!; more on this below.) The Berkeley Art Museum (site of our conference banquet) is slightly further east (uphill) on Bancroft Way.
Touring Our "City of Learning"
The widely varied architectural styles of the University of California, Berkeley campus, along with its layout and horticulture, represent a living history of their disciplines, from Frederick Law Olmstead's original vision through John Galen Howard and Thomas Church, a history still being written. You can sign up individually for a guided walking tour (available daily at 10 a.m.; registration required). Or take a self-guided tour at your convenience.
Lively Arts Nearby
Ojai North! at Zellerbach
Zellerbach Hall, within walking distance of our hotel, will be one of the Bay Area's top destinations for orchestral music during the week of RT2012, with diverse performances, all featuring the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, in the Ojai North! program. Ojai North! is a multi-year residency, in partnership with Cal Performances, that brings favorites from the classical eclecticism of the Ojai Music Festival to a northern-California audience.
The famous Berkeley Repertory Theatre is just a few blocks from the hotel. Two works will have their first runs at the Berkeley Rep in our time frame. Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men, written and performed by Pulitzer Prize-finalist Dael Orlandersmith, runs May 25 through June 24. Emotional Creatures, a stage adaptation of Eve Ensler's monologues (no, not that monologue) and songs about and for girls, premieres June 14.
Two Women, Two Powerful Views of Life, Two Premieres
Also near the hotel in Berkeley's arts district is the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse, in its new home at 2020 Addison. Since the 60s, it's been a destination for artists who are world-famous (or hope to be), mostly working in, or influenced by, folk traditions. Click for their June calendar of events.
Espresso and Folk Music, A Great Couple
Now On Their Third House Together
The Gourmet Ghetto:
Just north of Downtown on Shattuck Avenue is a neighborhood that came to be known as The Gourmet Ghetto for its concentration of fine restaurants. Its signature restaurant is Chez Panisse, widely acknowledged as the birthplace of "California cuisine," and still under the ownership and direction of founder Alice Waters. There are many other restaurants to choose from in several cuisines and price ranges.
Scenes (and Greens and Beans) from a Revolution
America's taste in coffee was also revolutionized in the Gourmet Ghetto at the still-open original location of Peet's Coffee and Tea. In the era when coffee grounds came in a can and went into a percolator, Alfred Peet was among the pioneers in artisan-roasted coffee brewed with as much care as chefs give to food.
Art galleries and shops are among the neighborhood's other offerings. All this is within walking distance or a short taxi ride of our hotel.
A Bit Further Afield
The following Bay Area attractions are not within what most people would consider to be walking distance, but attract wide interest and are easy to get to by public transit or taxicab.
Major League Baseball:
The 2010 World Series-winning San Francisco Giants have a home stand the weekend before, and most of the week of, RT2012. AT&T Park in San Francisco, where the Giants play, is easily accessible by public transit from downtown Oakland (BART + Muni Metro streetcar, or if you want something scenic and different, the Oakland-Alameda Ferry). To get to the Oakland ferry dock, you would take BART to 12th Street/Oakland City Center; then either walk a few more blocks down Broadway or catch the "Free B" (Downtown Oakland shuttle bus) to the Jack London Square waterfront.
With Two Teams Like This, The Winners Are Always The Fans
Staying after the conference? The Oakland Athletics, celebrated in the book and movie "Moneyball" for their system of finding overachieving, undervalued players, are back in town Friday through Sunday. The A's play at the Oakland Coliseum, just a quick BART trip from downtown Berkeley on the Fremont or Livermore/Pleasanton/Dublin lines.
Lawrence Hall of Science:
The Lawrence Hall of Science (in the Berkeley hills above LBNL) is another rewarding option, especially if your children are with you. It is accessible from downtown via the AC Transit #65 bus (half an hour by a scenic but roundabout route) or a taxi ride up Centennial Drive (much quicker). The parking lot is its own reward in clear weather, with expansive panoramic views (keen eyes and a clear day can reveal the Farallon Islands, beyond the Golden Gate Bridge). Inside, highlights in our timeframe include the 3-D film Tornado Alley; the world premiere of Tony Hawk: Rad Science, which explains the physics of extreme sports; and ever-popular interactive features such as the Animal Discovery Room. Your kids will come away wanting to "Do Science Now!" (and, quite possibly, wanting a pet snake or a skateboard).
Skateboarding, Snakes, and Tornadoes in 3-D
Chabot Space and Science Center
An eight-and-a-half-mile taxicab or rental-car ride from the hotel takes you to Chabot Space and Science Center. That's pretty cheap cabfare considering that the destinations include the furthest reaches of the cosmos. You can also learn what it's like to be an astronaut, consider the last and next visits to the Moon, or even see science through the eyes of the ancient Mayans and find out what 2012 really signifies in their cinegenically misunderstood calendar.
San Francisco Sightseeing
The things to see and do in San Francisco could fill a book (and in fact have filled many books) so we limit ourselves here to a few great favorites and technophilic highlights. If you want to see for yourself,
the BART train and the East Bay Ferry make for quick and easy ways to get to downtown San Francisco and beyond.
Put Some Hallidie In Your Holiday
Chances are that visitors to San Francisco want a cable car ride. If you took BART into the City, get off at the Embarcadero or the Powell Street BART stations. If you came by ferry, you can walk up Market Street to the Embarcadero cable-car station, or take the ferry to its Pier 41 dock and catch the Powell/Hyde or Powell/Mason lines. The Powell Street cable cars stop at the Cable Car Museum at the highest point of the lines; there you can get an inside look at an apex technology of the Victorian area, still very much in use.
Destinations Along The Way: Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach...
The Powell/Hyde and Powell/Mason cable car lines begin near the Union Square shopping district, and the cable car museum mentioned previously is just uphill from Chinatown (get off at Jackson or Pacific Street and walk downhill). If you walk far enough downhill you get to Columbus Avenue. Then you can turn north (away from the tall buildings of the Financial District) to see the North Beach neighborhood, which still has an Italian flavor after all these decades of the "melting pot," not to mention more than just echoes of the Beat Generation. Did Tosca Cafe serve America's first espresso? Will Lawrence Ferlinghetti's bookstore help you find inspiration? Are there really wild parrots on Telegraph Hill? Come find out in person!
Since We Mentioned Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf...
These are general tourist favorites with something to offer the scientifically inclined. Pier 39 / Fisherman's Wharf areas. Near Fisherman's Wharf, you won't want to miss the San Francisco Maritime National Park, with ships ranging from 1886 square-rigger BALCLUTHA to the WW2 fleet submarine USS PAMPANITO. Berthed nearby is a still-functional Liberty Ship: SS JEREMIAH O'BRIEN, now a National Register of Historic Places living museum.
Walking in San Francisco: Flat or Decidedly Not So?
The Embarcadero links the Ferry Building and eponymous BART station to the Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf area; it is flat (and, by San Francisco standards, often sunny) and thus very popular among pedestrians. The cable cars, of course, are for parts of the city that are very hilly. You can easily see how to incorporate a walk into a triangular route that also includes a cable-car ride. (A really ambitious walk could even include the Golden Gate Bridge.)
California Academy of Sciences
In Golden Gate Park you can see the variety of exhibits (and marvelous new eco-conscious facilities) of the California Academy of Sciences. It is a taxi ride from the other attractions we have mentioned; adept users of the "the Muni" (San Francisco's public transit system) may consider the #44 O'Shaughnessy or #5-Fulton buses or the N-Judah streetcar.
Here are the ten-day forecasts for the conference venue in Berkeley and for the usually cooler and cloudier San Francisco.
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