Introduction to Berkeley, California

Berkeley, located in northern California's San Francisco Bay Area just north of Oakland and 10 miles north of San Francisco, is one of the country's hippest cities and one of the best places for educational pursuits. Berkeley claims arguably the best public university in the nation, the University of California at Berkeley, which has existed since 1872. Both the city and the university are famous for a tradition of free thinking, cultural diversity and activist politics. In the 1960s, Berkeley was the site of Vietnam War protests and was the backdrop for the film The Graduate. In the 1970s, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) linked Berkeley to San Francisco and Oakland. Today, Berkeley remains a socially conscious, politically active city, with a young, diverse population. Sharing the Cal Berkeley campus is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which conducts scientific research within 15 divisions and 76 buildings. Over the years, several researchers there have won the Nobel Prize.

Berkeley Culture

Although San Francisco is a nearby cultural hub that rivals any on the planet, Berkeley has a distinct cultural presence of its own. It has gourmet and specialty foods shops (Scharffen Berger chocolates, anyone?) that rival San Francisco's, it's closer to the Napa and Sonoma wine regions than San Francisco, and it has bragging rights to one of the finest restaurants in the country, Chez Panisse, a leader in what is known as California cuisine. It is home to the Berkeley Art Museum, with eleven galleries and an emphasis on historic and contemporary films. Other cultural attractions include Aurora Theatre Company, the Berkeley Opera Company, and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Berkeley Sports and Leisure

Some of the country's best college athletics can be seen right in the city. The Cal Berkeley Golden Bears play football at Memorial Stadium and basketball at Haas Pavilion. For big league action, there are six pro sports teams just a short ride away within the Bay Area: major league baseball's San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics, the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, the NBA's Golden State Warriors and the NHL's San Jose Sharks.

Berkeley Outdoors

A comfortable climate, a superb park system and access to ocean and mountains make Berkeley a great city for outdoor recreation. Aquatic Park offers boating, bird watching and biking/hiking trails around the lake. Caesar Chavez Park has 90 acres of land, paved trails and wildlife. Berkeley Rose Garden has over 3 acres of roses, plus tennis courts and hiking trails. For rock climbing, there's Contra Costa Rock Park, Cragmont Rock Park, Great Stoneface Rock Park, Grotto Rock Park and Mortar Rock Park. Briones Regional Park, a few miles northwest of the city, has more than 5,000 acres of wilderness, wildlife and trails for hikers, runners, and horseback riders. For a winter getaway, skiing and snow sports are available within a 2-hour drive at a Lake Tahoe and other Sierra Nevada Mountain resorts.

Berkeley at Night

With thousand of students in the city and a young population, Berkeley has a very upbeat nightlife. Plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs are available within Cal Berkeley area, along Shattuck Avenue and along San Pablo Avenue heading south toward Oakland. And there's always San Francisco just across the Bay.


Total Population 117,384
Male Share of the Population 48.8%
Female Share of the Population 51.2%
Senior Citizens 13.6%
Employed Population 16+ 57,154
Age of the Population 31


% of people married 32.6%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 70.9%
Median Earnings25+ $46,247
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $21,442
Median Earnings With High School Degree $28,484


Median Family Income $118,190
% Above Poverty Level 79.6%
% Below Poverty Level 20.4%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 28 minutes
% Working from Home 10.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 25.7%
% Using Public Transportation 21.6%


People Living Alone 36.2%
Median Gross Rent $1,362
Median House Value $741,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 47.7%
US/American 0.5%
English 8.8%
Irish 8.3%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Berkeley Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 4 miles N of Oakland, California
County Alameda
Standard Zip Codes 94702, 94703, 94704, 94705, 94706, 94707, 94708, 94709, 94710
P.O. Box Zip Codes 94701, 94712
Company Zip Codes 94720
Phone Area Codes 510
Time Zone Pacific (-8 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 37.871
Longitude -122.271

Berkeley Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 0.4 miles
Jan Temp 44 to 56 F
Apr Temp 49 to 64 F
Jul Temp 55 to 70 F
Oct Temp 54 to 70 F
Annual Precip 25.4 inches
Distance 5 miles
Jan Temp 45 to 57 F
Apr Temp 51 to 66 F
Jul Temp 57 to 73 F
Oct Temp 55 to 72 F
Annual Precip 22.9 inches
Distance 9.3 miles
Jan Temp 42 to 58 F
Apr Temp 46 to 67 F
Jul Temp 54 to 75 F
Oct Temp 52 to 73 F
Annual Precip 26.3 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Albany 19,249 $90,680
El Cerrito 24,418 $105,345
Emeryville 10,830 $93,134
Oakland 408,073 $61,210
Orinda 18,703 $210,000
Piedmont 11,099 $234,250

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Berkeley Public Libraries

Berkeley Public Library
Berkeley, California
(510) 981-6100
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Berkeley Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(510) 204-4444
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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Berkeley High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 2,981 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 22.2

A Non-traditional School
Serves 127 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 12.2

Additional Details
Berkeley Colleges
Berkeley colleges and trade schools.
Berkeley Graduate Schools
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Career and College Resources

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