A Day Out in Berkeley

Paraíso Plant Studio
Paraíso Plant Studio (courtesy of Paraíso)

If you want to get into the holiday shopping spirit, Berkeley’s charming Fourth Street is a great place to start. During the holiday season, streets are lined with festive twinkling lights and there are plenty of places to grab a bite, a beer or coffee to keep you fueled while you find presents for everyone on your list. Independent retailers are abundant, while some of the bigger stores that haven’t set up shop in Marin — think Sur La Table, CB2 and American Giant — are a quick 30-minute drive away. Here are a few of our favorite places to find unique gifts for those special someones. 

Bette’s Oceanview Diner

1807 FOURTH STREET

Bette’s Diner is something of a Fourth Street institution — this is comfort food at its best. All of the baked goods are made on premises (try the bran and donut muffins rolled in cinnamon sugar) and the pancakes are renowned. Arrive early for brunch or be prepared to wait; they don’t take ressies. 

The Gardener

1836 FOURTH STREET

You could buy something for everyone on your list here. From gardening tools to bowls in all shapes and sizes to art and jewelry, and so much more, this treasure trove of a store is the largest of the three Bay Area locations and well worth the trip. 

GoldenBug

1803 FOURTH STREET

This shop stocks a little something for every kid on your list. We love the bold, floral prints and super fun holiday pajamas (those never get old). And for the budding shoe fanatic? Colors and styles galore. 

Iyasare

1830 FOURTH STREET

This Japanese restaurant alone is worth the drive to Berkeley. While they do offer the traditional favorites, try one of the house creations and get ready to be wowed. The dishes are as beautiful as they are tasty — and you are sure to fall in love with this place. 

Margaret O’Leary

1832 FOURTH STREET

This San Francisco–based women’s fashion brand is a Bay Area staple — luxurious and gorgeous year-round. It is known for its cozy sweaters and timeless silhouettes, which are impossible not to love. Opt for cashmere, wool or cotton in bold or classic hues. Trust us, you can’t go wrong.  

GoldenBugs Kids storefront
GoldenBug Kids (photo by Berlin Barrientos)

Market Hall

1786 FOURTH STREET

Have foodie friends on your list? We love the selection of artisan pastas (pasta galore!), flavored salts, locally made sauces, creative dips and lots more. This place practically begs you to make a gift basket. And need a quick snack or ready-made bake-at-home meal? They have that, too. 

Melissa Joy Manning

1827 FIFTH STREET

If she loves jewelry, this place is a must-visit. Located just a block over from Fourth Street, this jeweler specializes in delicate, easy-to-wear pieces. And prices range from affordable to splurge so there is a little something for everyone’s budget. 

Paraíso Plant Studio

1717 FOURTH STREET

The name says it all — this is a plant addict’s paradise. Thumb not so green? Not to worry, the expert staff and easy-to-navigate selection will give you the confidence to start planting like the urban gardener you have always wanted to be.  

Ruti

1829 FOURTH STREET

Launched in 2009 by Israeli American designer Ruti Zisser, the brand is rooted in the idea that all clothing should be cool, flattering and practical. Sound like a winner? Whether she works from home, likes to travel or has a sophisticated office style, the lucky lady in your life is going to love everything. 

Turkish Towel Collection

803 DELAWARE STREET

Everyone likes Turkish towels — even if they don’t know it yet. This shop has recently relocated a short walk away from Fourth Street to Delaware Street so add it to your list. Watch for the pop-up holiday sale with gifty items like towels (of course), bathrobes, soaps and more. 

Zut!

1820 FOURTH STREET

This eatery specializes in Californian-Mediterranean cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes depending on what is in season, but you can’t go wrong with the salads, paired with a warm sandwich or on their own. And the fresh peach crisp? To die for.