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When it rains in Berkeley, our favorite hiking trails turn muddy and slippery, our streets fill with puddles and our parks soften into mush. Muck-loving Berkeleyans still brave the outdoors, of course, but it’s no surprise that many of us come down with cabin fever.
To give you a few more exciting options than binge-watching TV shows at home, we’ve curated a list of fun indoor activities to do in Berkeley that are perfect for dreary, rainy days. (You’ll want to check websites before you go.) This list was adapted from our longer list of nearly 60 affordable things to do in Berkeley any day of the week.
Have something you think belongs on this list? Let us know at email@example.com and we’ll consider adding it.
🦖 Explore the fossil exhibits on the first and second floors of UC Berkeley’s Valley Life Sciences Building. Make sure you stop by and say hi to the freestanding mounted cast of a T-rex skeleton (his name is Osborn). Visit when the Bioscience, Natural Resources & Public Health Library, located inside the building, is open. FREE
📚 While you’re at UC Berkeley, stop by Doe Library to check out the rotating exhibits on display in the lobby, admire the neoclassical-style architecture and people-watch (though you’ll most likely find exhausted students hunched over their laptops). Open Sunday-Friday (see hours). FREE
✡️ The Magnes Collection of Jewish Life and Art in downtown Berkeley was one of the first Jewish museums in the U.S. when it was founded in 1962. The museum is open during UC Berkeley’s fall and spring semesters. Check site for museum hours. FREE
🔔 Take the elevator up to the observation platform on the UC Berkeley Campanile, the third-largest clock and bell tower in the world. Daily, hours vary. $5
🎥 Attend a film screening or reflect on the contemporary art displayed at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (or BAMPFA) in downtown Berkeley. Tip: the museum offers free admission to its gallery on First Thursdays, and is always free for UC Berkeley students. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. $14
🧑🎨 The Kala Art Institute’s gallery and community classroom at 2990 San Pablo Ave. presents six curated art exhibitions per year. Open Tuesday through Friday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. FREE
🎭 See a play. Berkeley is a hotbed of theater companies, including Aurora Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Central Works, Shotgun Players and Theatre Lunatico. Tip: Look out for pay-what-you-will nights if you’re on a budget. Check individual sites for details.
🎲 Gather a few friends and head to Berkeley’s Victory Point Cafe to explore its vast board game collection over food and drinks — the graham cracker latte is perfect for a chilly day. Open daily. $8 per person
🔭 The Lawrence Hall of Science’s hands-on exhibits are great for kids. An additional $4 fee grants you access to their hypnotizing planetarium, where you can lean back and enjoy a live, interactive show. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $20
🍎 Weave through the crowded aisles at Berkeley Bowl and pick up one of the 90+ apple varieties. The popular market has been the setting of engagement photoshoots and was featured in the Netflix show Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Read our tips for what to buy. (Tip: don’t sample the produce before paying … or else.) Open daily, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
☕ Have a cup of joe at the original Peet’s Coffee location at 2124 Vine St., which opened in 1966 and helped start a specialty coffee revolution. Stroll through the mini museum in the back hall (located in what used to be the roasting room). Read our interview with Bill Coffin, the cafe’s first employee. Open weekdays, 5:30 a.m.-8 p.m, and weekends, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. FREE
👃 The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents in North Berkeley is the only museum dedicated to perfumes in the U.S. You’ll get to choose four samples to take home with you. Read our story. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $25
🍵 Universal Chan, a Berkeley-based meditation center, holds a tea tasting at its Kensington location at 445 Colusa Ave. Every other Saturday, 2 p.m. $25
🖼️ The Berkeley Historical Society & Museum’s History Center is located in the Veterans Memorial Building. Thursday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. FREE
🍶 Learn about the sake production process and taste five types of sake at Takara Sake’s West Berkeley museum and tasting room. Takara says its museum is the “only one of its kind within the USA.” Ages 21+. Thursday-Friday, 1-5 p.m., and Sundays, 12-6 p.m. RSVP required. $20
🎶 The UC Berkeley Music Department’s Noon Concerts feature student musicians and occasional guest artists. Concerts are open to all. Every Wednesday, 12:15 p.m., Hertz Hall. FREE
🎬 The Berkeley Public Library’s Claremont Branch hosts weekly movie nights. Every Wednesday, 5 p.m. FREE
see our full list of Berkeley activities
From farmers markets to trivia nights, we put together a roundup of events and activities held regularly in Berkeley.
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