The Elmwood is an established neighborhood in Berkeley featuring tree-lined streets, classic Craftsman architecture and enviable proximity to the University of California. The lively stretch of College Avenue that intersects with Ashby Avenue serves as the Elmwood’s shopping and dining center, with numerous terrific eateries, unique specialty shops, bookstores, cafes, and a charming independent movie theater. There are a number of renowned public and private school options in the area for families with school-aged children.
A perfect day in the Elmwood should really begin with a vertically challenging but rewarding hike to dizzying Bay vistas on the Stonewall-Panoramic Trail, located behind the historic Claremont Hotel. Afterward, you are entitled to treat yourself to the heaven-sent combination of Peet’s Coffee and neighboring Fournée Bakery on Domingo St. Fortified with arguably the best pastry in the East Bay, take a slow stroll down stately Russell St. to appreciate the magnificent architecture and enviable landscaping on display (if you’re lucky, you might catch an estate sale). Where Russell hits College Avenue, the Elmwood Business District officially begins. Take your time here – there is a lot to see in the two blocks of College north and south of Ashby. Once you’ve had your fill of independent bookstores, cafes, and truly unique specialty shops, you could grab a high-quality picnic lunch at Italian Homemade and head north to explore the UC Berkeley campus (8 short blocks away), or skip lunch altogether and linger in the area until it’s time for an early dinner at Donato and Co. Catch an indie film at the Elmwood Theater to end the day on a high note.
More Neighborhood Highlights:
- Notable restaurant and cafe options: Donato & Co., Manpuku, Italian Homemade, La Mediterranee, Baker & Commons and Timeless Coffee.
- Frequent AC Transit bus service connects the neighborhood to the University, area BART stations, and beyond.
- Willard Park is a neighborhood mainstay, featuring rolling lawns, a club house, tennis courts and a popular playground for toddlers and young children.
- The Ritz Carlton Claremont Hotel and Spa, a Bay Area landmark since 1915, is located just up the road. The resort has three swimming pools, spa facilities, tennis courts, destination restaurants and a convention center.
- The historic Julia Morgan theater on College Ave. houses Berkeley Playhouse, which offers exceptional educational programs and engaging theater productions.
- The extensive trails and expansive views of the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve and Tilden Regional Park are all very close by.