Berkeley Hills

Berkeley, CA
Berkeley, CA

Submitted by: Paula Balciunaite

A residential neighborhood with notable architecture, secret pedestrian shortcuts and public parks.

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Why It Works

The Berkeley Hills neighborhood offers spectacular vistas of the San Francisco Bay, scenic wooden enclaves, famous residential architecture (notably by Bernard Maybeck), a lush and gorgeous network of curving streets, pedestrian shortcuts, and secret routes, and a vibrant intellectual community.

What Makes Berkeley Hills a Great Place?

A celebrated feature of architecture in Berkeley Hills is the symbiotic relationship with its leafy, wooden landscape. Houses and cottages are built with simple, natural materials (such as unpainted wooden shingles), streets follow the natural contours of the land, meticulously landscaped gardens and multi-level decks abound with flowers such as orchids and white roses. Much of the neighborhood is accessible by foot from the Berkeley campus; in fact, the pedestrian experience is sublime.

Romantic cottages decked out with the latest interior and technological amenities, in a hillside setting, evoke the impression of modern idyll. The neighborhood seems (and is) warm, comfortable, and very safe. Many residents seem to have a penchant for cars of European make.

The residential areas in the neighborhood are relatively free of tourists, although many non-locals are attracted to scenic parks (Tilden, Cordonices) and places like the Rose and Botanical Gardens, Indian Rock, and Greenwood Commons.

The social ambiance is bright and cheerful, much like the neighborhood. The majority of the residents are Berkeley faculty and graduate students, and this generates a strong sense of community.

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