Berkeley is an ideal place to savor the San Francisco Bay Area's delicious food. Park your car in the Gourmet Ghetto ― a food lover's paradise since the 1970s ― and load a picnic basket with to-go delicacies.
Next, stroll north on Shattuck Avenue for about a mile, past Live Oak Park and houses designed by Craftsman architect Bernard Maybeck.
When you reach Indian Rock, climb the steps to the top for a prime picnic locale and a panoramic view of the cities by the Bay. After lunch, walk down a pretty path to Solano Avenue stores ― shopping's a nice reward after your city trekking.
From I-80, exit east at University Ave., turn left onto Shattuck Ave. The heart of the Gourmet Ghetto is on Shattuck between Cedar and Vine Streets. To reach Indian Rock Park, follow Shattuck (don't veer left onto Henry St.).
Grégoire. French takeout in perfectly picnic-size boxes. For speedy service, check the website for the October menu and call in your order ahead of time. $$; 2109 Cedar St.; www.gregoirerestaurant.com or 510/883-1893.
The Cheeseboard Collective. Choose from more than 350 cheeses at this worker-owned bakery and cheese shop. Head two doors down to their pizzeria and enjoy live music while you wait for a slice. $; Mon-Sat, pizzeria Tue-Sat; 1504 and 1512 Shattuck Ave.; 510/549-3183.
Love at First Bite Cupcakery. Nearly 20 mouthwatering flavors, including lemon-pistachio, chocolate maltball, and matcha green tea. Tue-Sun; 1510-G Walnut St.; 510/848-5727.
Indian Rock Park and Path. Popular with rock climbers, the park offers spectacular bay views. Follow the path to the top of Solano Ave. 950 Indian Rock Ave.
Soap Sistahs. A bath boutique packed with soaps, salts, bath bombs, lotions, and other scrub-a-dub supplies. 1797 Solano Ave.; 510/528-0837.
What the Traveller Saw. Journey the world at this shop of exotic gifts and home furnishings. 1880 Solano; 510/527-1775.SPICE IT UP
North Berkeley Spice of Life Festival. For more than 30 years, the restaurants, cafes, and delis on the north end of Berkeley's Shattuck Avenue have fed the hungry mouths of epicureans. Celebrate the Gourmet Ghetto's culinary history at the fourth annual North Berkeley Spice of Life Festival, a culinary street fair. Listen to live jazz, bluegrass, and world music while you sip wine, watch cooking demonstrations, shop at the all-organic farmers' market, and taste samples from more than 30 gourmet vendors. Kids will love tagging along, thanks to the puppet shows, farm animals, crafts, and pony rides. 10-6 Oct 8; Shattuck between Virginia and Rose Streets.