Welcome to Cvent's Meeting and Event Planning Guide to Berkeley, a city guide for meeting professionals. A vibrant city by the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is a place of big ideas, a thriving cultural scene, innovative restaurants, unique neighborhoods and outdoor recreation, all perfectly outfitted for both meeting and leisure travel. While the 18-square-mile city still honors its 1960s iconic past, it has evolved into a culinary and cultural destination that is nationally recognized as an environmental, solar and green leader. Berkeley's cosmopolitan atmosphere can be found throughout its unique neighborhoods, as well as its unique venues ranging from grand ballrooms and conference hotels to LEED-certified spaces, restaurants and performance venues. Berkeley specializes in green meetings, as well as those reflecting the city's intellectual climate and thought leadership, which stems from the resident UC Berkeley campus and its vibrant student and faculty population.
The Northern California city is ideally situated in the San Francisco Bay Area, adjacent to Oakland, 10 miles from San Francisco, 40 miles from San Jose and 75 miles from Sacramento. Delegates can reach Berkeley via three nearby major airports, Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport and Mineta San Jose International Airport. Situated just 15 miles from Berkeley, Oakland International Airport serves over 12 million passengers each year, providing nonstop service throughout the U.S., Mexico and Europe. Located 25 miles from Berkeley, San Francisco International Airport holds the title of one of the world's 30 busiest airports, serving more than 44 million passengers in 2012. The sleek, light-filled Mineta San Jose International Airport sits 45 miles from Berkeley and serves more than 8 million passengers each year, providing nonstop service throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Japan. Both Oakland International Airport and San Francisco International Airport provide direct access to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service, which serves three underground train stations in Berkeley. In addition to BART train service, Berkeley visitors and delegates can hop aboard the AC Transit bus system, which serves Berkeley, downtown San Francisco, Foster City and San Mateo. Operated by UC Berkeley, the Bear Transit shuttle service, open to all, runs throughout campus and the surrounding vicinity, and even stops at the Downtown Berkeley BART station.
Situated on San Francisco Bay and boasting spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline, the resort-like DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina serves as Berkeley's largest meeting venue. The 378-room certified green hotel features 16,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including the 5,088-square-foot Islands Ballroom, which overlooks the San Francisco Bay, as well as two executive meeting centers and the 1,320-square-foot Quarter Deck. Meeting amenities include full catering and audio-visual services, while hotel amenities include an indoor lap pool, fitness center and on-site Bay Grille and Lounge.
In addition to the DoubleTree by Hilton Berkeley Marina, Berkeley is home to the Hotel Shattuck Plaza, a historic property located two blocks from UC Berkeley. The recently renovated Shattuck Plaza offers nearly 8,000 square feet of meeting rooms and banquet space in six public meeting areas with multiple setup options and state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, including the Whitecotton room and the Crystal ballroom. The Graduate Berkeley is also a top meeting choice, with boutique charm and upscale group space that will wow guests.
Berkeley is home to a variety of unique meeting and event spaces offering the very best in hospitality, culture and group entertainment. The 34-acre University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley features 13,000 species grouped by regions of the world on a hilly site overlooking the campus. The botanical garden offers a variety of private tours throughout garden spaces, species collections and majestic redwood grove, as well as features such private event rental spaces as two conference center meeting rooms and the 200-person Stephen J. Mather Redwood Grove and Amphitheatre. Heralded as Northern California's premier Thoroughbred horse racing facility, Golden Gate Fields welcomes groups to gather in its 300,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, offering panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco skyline. Groups can gather in the 5,230-seat Club House, 1,560-seat Turf Club and 7,960-seat Grandstand, among other spaces, as well as take advantage of all-inclusive group dining packages. Visitors and locals never pass up a chance to visit the UC Theatre and Berkley City Club, which both offer excellent group space for a variety of events.
Unique cultural venues in Berkeley include UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science, a public science museum and center for research named after the university's first Nobel Laureate. The Lawrence Hall of Science welcomes groups to hold daytime and evening events amongst its interactive exhibits, labs and classroom spaces, as well as its 275-seat auditorium, expansive lawn and outdoor patio. One of the largest university art museums in the country, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive houses more than 16,000 objects and 14,000 films and video, characterized by the themes of artistic innovation, intellectual exploration and social commentary. The museum welcomes private events in such spaces as its 234-seat Museum Theater and multi-tiered terraces overlooking the sculpture garden. One of Berkeley's celebrated performance arts organizations, Berkeley Repertory Theatre is known as a national leader in innovative theater and the East Bay's first resident professional theater. The Berkeley Repertory Theatre welcomes groups of 10 to 600 people to gather in its 16,000 square feet of event space, which includes its 401-seat Thrust Stage and 448-seat Roda Theatre.