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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

‘Fun and Forward-Thinking’ Berkeley

Berkeley at a Glance

Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Access: Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, interstates 80 and 580

Hotel Rooms: 1,475

Contact Info:

Visit Berkeley


Meeting Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina

Guest Rooms: 378

Meeting Space: 30,659 square feet; largest room setup, 11,000 square feet; 22 meeting rooms

Residence Inn by Marriott Berkeley 

Scheduled to open in December

Meeting Space: 11,298 square feet; largest room space, 517 square feet; seven event rooms

DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina

Guest Rooms: 199

Meeting Space: 7,500 square feet; largest room space, 2,788 square feet; five event rooms

Meeting Spaces

Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Includes Roda Theatre: 25,000 square feet, with 558 seats; rentable upper and lower lobby areas

Faculty Club at UC Berkeley

Accommodates 230 for banquet-style dining or 100 in meeting room setup

Tilden Park Golf Course

Provides indoor seating for 50; covered patio overlooking greens accommodates up to 150

Golden Gate Fields

Entire facility available for rental; accommodates groups of 50 to 1,500; in-house catering and hospitality services

Who’s Meeting in Berkeley

UC Berkeley’s HAAS School of Business 

Attendees: 311

Western Society of Periodontology

Attendees: 85

Institute of Brain Potential

Attendees: 120

Home to the picturesque University of California, Berkeley campus — and offering easy access to nearby San Francisco — Berkeley, California, features world-class dining, eclectic shopping and opportunities for fun outdoor adventure.

Known for its striking views of San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is eminently walkable yet chock-full of inviting attractions to fit any interest, from urban wineries and botanical gardens to esteemed golf courses and a revered local food scene. 

Destination Highlights

Berkeley is easy to reach from either San Francisco International Airport or Oakland International Airport via Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), so out-of-state guests can enjoy their stay without needing to rent a car. Though it’s a midsize community of around 120,000 residents, Berkeley’s vibe is fun and forward-thinking thanks to both the liveliness of the modern UC Berkeley campus and the area’s legacy as the origin point of the 1960s free speech movement. 

Celebrated as a food lover’s paradise, Berkeley was an early champion of the farm-to-table movement across America. Finding outstanding, locally sourced cuisine here is easy, particularly in the city’s North Shattuck Neighborhood, the hotbed of the city’s thriving food scene.

“The food scene is really electric here,” said Dan Marengo, communications director for Visit Berkeley. “The North Shattuck district is home to Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse, which is credited by many as the birthplace of California cuisine — founded on eating fresh, local, seasonally produced ingredients.” 

Visitors can find boundless opportunities to browse unique local shops and eateries, too, along Berkeley’s iconic Telegraph Avenue. In West Berkeley, guests can explore the city’s thriving urban wine district. For those looking for a high-energy outing, the Berkeley Marina area boasts waterfront views and seven miles of hiking trails, plus opportunities to enjoy the bay on kayaks or stand-up paddleboards.

Outdoor lovers will also enjoy the city’s two botanical gardens and its Tilden Regional Park and Tilden Park Golf Course that, thanks to its location in the Berkeley Hills, offers sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.

Additionally, the UC Berkeley campus itself is a must-see highlight, serving as a sort of “Central Park” for the city, Marengo said. “It’s just a beautiful, scenic destination with interesting architecture and a vibrant energy.”

Distinctive Venues

The covered patio at the Tilden Park Golf Course can accommodate up to 150 guests and provides sweeping views overlooking the course’s 13th and 18th greens. The on-site Grizzly Bar and Grill can seat up to 75. The course itself offers stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the Oakland and San Francisco skylines.

The Kala Art Institute and Gallery, home to professional artists in an array of media from film and photography to printmaking and digital media, offers a spacious 2,200-square-foot gallery and an adjoining conference room that can accommodate groups of up to 100.

The Julia Morgan Hall, originally built in 1911 and carefully restored in its new location in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, features a 20-foot deck overlooking the garden’s native California plant collection. Groups can also rent the Botanical Garden’s Mather Redwood Grove and Amphitheater, which can accommodate 200 guests in inviting outdoor seating surrounded by towering redwood trees. 

Golden Gate Fields, home to live horse racing, makes its full facility available for rental on non-racing days. Featuring in-house catering and hospitality services, the venue can provide both concession-style dining or more formal sit-down dinners. In all, the facility includes roughly 300,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor function space.

One of the region’s most iconic venues, the famed William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre, is an outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 8,500. It’s available for meeting rental and offers stunning views of the surrounding Berkeley Hills. 

On-campus meeting venues include the Zellerbach Auditorium, UC Berkeley’s largest performance facility, with 1,978 seats. The nearby Zellerbach Playhouse, also on campus, includes seating for 547, and the UC Berkeley Faculty Club can host 230 for banquet-style dining or 100 in a meeting room setup.

Major Meeting Spaces

The DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina offers the largest traditional meeting capacity of any venue in the city: 22 meeting rooms totaling more than 30,000 square feet of event space, a ballroom that can accommodate 400, plus 378 guest rooms. In-house audiovisual services and professional catering are available. 

The Hotel Shattuck Plaza, featuring newly renovated rooms in a former Mission-style home, has 199 guest rooms and 7,500 square feet of meeting space. Gourmet catering and full audiovisual support are provided.

A new hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott Berkeley, is slated to open in December with more than 11,000 square feet of meeting space across seven planned event rooms. Audiovisual services, catering and event planning services will be available. 

After the Meeting

During downtime, meeting attendees can easily explore the iconic sights of San Francisco — including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and Coit Tower — via a quick trip by BART from Berkeley. 

“Getting between the two cities on public transit is super easy,” said Marengo. “It’s one train and no transfers.”

Berkeley is also within an hour’s drive from California’s famed wine country, so wine afficionados may want to spend a day or more pre- or post-meeting exploring wine tours and tasting options in Napa or Sonoma.

But there’s so much to do in Berkeley itself that many visitors may prefer to spend all their free time inside the city limits. 

For example, guests can explore the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley to unwind and relax after a meeting. Home to 10,000 types of plants, many rare or endangered, on 34 beautifully manicured acres, the site offers a wonderful spot for quiet reflection.

For families visiting Berkeley together, Tilden Regional Park, nestled in the Berkeley Hills, features 40 miles of hiking trails, plus a Children’s Garden and Little Farm — home to sheep, goats, pigs, and more — making it a favorite of young visitors.

Visitors on the hunt for a unique shopping experience, should also set aside time to explore Fourth Street in West Berkeley, which has evolved from a former warehouse district into a popular, upscale shopping destination.

“There’s an open-air mall there that is very walkable,” said Marengo. “There is just a nice, friendly California vibe to that area.”

For a great nightcap, meeting attendees can wrap up a busy day at any of the city’s popular urban wineries, including Broc Cellars, Donkey and Goat, Lusu Cellars, Hammerling Wines and Vina Minor. 

“The wine that’s being produced here is really being heralded by critics,” Marengo said. “We’re surrounded by wine country, so it’s easy for our vintners to go up there, hand-select their grapes and then come back here to Berkeley to create their wines. It’s a wonderful synergy between California wine country and the great food culture that we have in Berkeley.”