36 minutes in Downtown Berkeley

BART Station:

Downtown Berkeley

The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive is a five-minute walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

There’s plenty to do around the Downtown Berkeley BART station, but if you don’t have time for a play at Berkeley Rep, or a Cal basketball game, spend 36 minutes taking a short stroll, checking out some cool public art and grabbing a quick snack.

Editor's Note: Please wear a mask and keep a physical distance of at least six feet while riding the trains or at an in-person event or location. Before you travel on BART, use our Trip Planner to get estimated arrival and departure times. See BART's 15-step plan to safely welcome back riders here.

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Step out of the Downtown Berkeley BART station and take in the recently renovated plaza. You can’t miss Michael Christian’s steel and light sculpture “Home.” It’s a 14-foot sphere constructed of multiple strips of steel cut in the shape of street maps from around the world.

“Home” evokes the interconnectedness of all people and places globally. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

Next, walk up to Center Street and make your way to the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), just five minutes away. Near the museum, you’ll find “s-Hertogenbosch,” another 14-foot tall sculpture, this one by Berkeley artist John Toki.

“s’Hertogenbosch” is a 14-foot sculpture named after a Dutch city. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

“s’Hertogenbosch” was originally installed in 2003 on the corner of Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street near the northeast entrance to the Downtown Berkeley BART station. In 2020 the piece was moved to its current location.

Named after a Dutch city, “s’Hertogenbosch” is inspired by natural shapes such as mountains and clouds plus elements like water and snow. Look closely to find all the three-dimensional details.

Look closely at the three-dimensional details in the ceramic. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

Continue up Center Street toward the entrance to the Cal campus. 

Enter the Cal campus at Center and Oxford streets. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

Cross Center and you’ll find “Rotante dal Foro Centrale” by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro. (Fun fact: Pomodoro means “tomato” in Italian. Perhaps that’s why he made so many round works of art. “Rotante dal Foro Centrale” is part of Pomodoro’s “Sphere Within Sphere” series.)

“Rotante dal Foro Centrale” sits in Cal's Eucalyptus Grove. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

By now, you might be feeling a bit peckish. Head back down Center on the side opposite of BAMPFA and stop by one of the many restaurants, including Bay Area institution Top Dog, serving the “Best Hot Dog in the Known Universe.”

There are plenty of spots to grab a bite on Center Street. Photo courtesy of David Martindale.

Finish your sausage (no eating or drinking on BART!) and head back to the station. If you’d like a sweet treat before your BART ride home, try one of Almare Gelato’s authentic Italian flavors, made fresh on-site.

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Did you head to Downtown Berkeley to check out the art? Have a suggestion for our next 36 minutes feature? Let us know via social media, @SFBARTable #SFBARTable! Keep up with us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to see all of the best BARTable (virtual) events, places to eat (grab take out from) and have fun (outside) around the Bay. 

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