Though its population is only 105,000, Berkeley has an outsized reputation. It is the home of UC Berkeley, the Free Speech Movement, Chez Panisse and the California food renaissance, and a gaggle of theater and performance spaces. It even has distinctive newspaper habits: It supports the homegrown Berkeley Daily Planet and has the country’s highest percentage of readers of the New York Times. Berkeley is an architectural mecca, with brown-shingle homes, stucco bungalows, and hill homes with stunning views. The famous architects who designed homes here during the 1910s and 1920s include Bernard Maybeck, Julia Morgan, and John Hudson Thomas. Even the landscape is exuberantly varied. Within the city’s 18 square miles, you can climb Indian Rock, swim in Lake Anza, stroll through redwood forests, tour rose gardens and meander under live oak trees or along Strawberry Creek. Berkeley has good public transportation — AC Transit bus lines, and three BART stations — and easy freeway access. Berkeley is also one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the country with great bike paths, bicycle boulevards and the free attended Bikestation at the downtown BART station.
Berkeley neighborhoods include; Downtown Berkeley, the Gourmet Ghetto, North Berkeley, the Berkeley Hills, Thousand Oaks, Northbrae, Westbrae, West Berkeley, South Berkeley, Elmwood, and the Claremont District (straddling Berkeley and Oakland).
The Berkeley Convention & Visitors Bureau offers a wonderful introduction to the city and helpful information about relocating at VisitBerkeley.com.