Dreaming California

The Botanic Gardens

My favorite part of Tilden Park is the Botanic Gardens. I have a soft spot for the gardens, because Erik and I took our engagement pictures here, and also one-year anniversary pictures with our wedding photo. (The last pic on the right. Ah, love...) They are free to visit, and contain every plant species native to California. Every one! Which, let me tell you, is quite a few plants. The garden is divided into regions, so you can stroll through the desert, redwood grove, and the low plains all in one trip.

This is a great place to come to read or write, with little benches scattered throughout the garden, and grassy areas to spread a blanket and rest under the trees. They have a greenhouse on-site and have an annual plant sale in April. You can even volunteer at the garden to help plant, tend the seedlings, or lead docent-tours.


We’ve hiked the Quarry Trail, which is a hilly hike through Berkeley Hills. Our hike was after a particularly (and abnormally) rainy few days, so it was pretty muddy along the way. Our frolicsome dog was in heaven, but we’ll probably choose our hiking days more carefully in the future.

Inspiration Point

This was one of the first places we found when we moved to Berkeley, on a drive through the hills to explore. There is a parking lot here, where you can bike, walk, and hike on many different trails down into Tilden, or just observe the beautiful view of the hills.

Lawrence Hall of Science

From what we know of it, this is a mostly kid-friendly place, so we haven’t visited the Lawrence Hall of Science itself. We do love to park in the adjacent parking lot, which has a gorgeous view of the East Bay and the San Francisco Bay. This is a must-see whenever we have company or visitors, because you really get a sense of the size of the area, and like Point Isabel (and many other areas) you get a beautiful view of the Golden Gate and the Marin peninsula to the north.