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A Perfect Day on College Avenue in Berkeley

Ici Ice Cream, courtesy of East Bay Express

Got a Saturday to kill? Spend it exploring one of Berkeley's most charming streets.

Coffee and Breakfast: 

Elmwood Café has been delighting locals with its sandwiches, coffee, and soup since 1921. These days, you’ll usually find the beautiful space (designed by famed architect John A. Bischoff) packed with UC Berkeley students and residents chatting over their delectable drinks, pastries, and the famous grilled cheese – so delish. There's limited seating and not very many outlets for laptops, but the small chairs and tables outside are ideal for sipping a latte and people watching. The best part? Elmwood Cafe takes half of their proceeds and uses them to support great local causes. At any given time they have three different charitable causes displayed in the café; when you pay at the counter you’re given a voting chip to place into one of the charities’ boxes. The cafe then makes a donation to the cause with the most votes and the other two stick around until they also get enough votes for a donation. 

Books: 

Spacious and inviting, Mrs. Dalloway’s is the perfect independent, neighborhood bookstore. Beyond the carefully curated fiction, non-fiction, poetry, garden, and children’s books, Mrs. Dalloway’s hosts over 150 in-store author events each year. Stop by to pick up something new to read or have your book delivered for free within the neighborhood. 

Lunch: 

Savor authentic Mediterranean cuisine either street side or on the patio of this Berkeley gem. La Mediterranee offers on-the-go boxed lunches as well as full menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner including a wide variety of gluten-free and vegan options. You can’t go wrong with any of the fresh and tasty options. 

Sweet Treats: 

You’ll never regret stopping for dessert at Ici. Everyday they offer 11 flavors of handmade ice cream, sorbets, and sherbets in either a cup or a delicious hand rolled, chocolate filled tip, cone (go for the cone!). There are also gluten-free cones and dairy-free ice cream for those with dietary restrictions. The flavors change daily and with the seasons, and you can take home your favorites packed in pints or quarts before they run out. Spring bring with it refreshing favorites like: basil, lemon lime mint sherbet, Meyer-lemon (with candied orange peel), and chicory whiskey. They also have Bon Bons, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Root Beer Floats, Brownie Sundaes, and homemade candies and cookies for sale along with full sized ice cream cakes and Blue Bottle Coffee to wash it all down. Be prepared to stand in line, but you’ll get to taste as many flavors as you want while you wait. 

Shop: 

You’ll find college students and CEOs alike rummaging through the racks at Jeremy’s for high-end couture at rock bottom prices. You can find anything from a pair of Louboutins to Gucci sunglasses or a Prada bag at majorly discounted prices. Peruse the designer labels downstairs, but don't forget to check out the salvaged items next door, the even more affordable wears upstairs, and even the baskets on the floor – We've scored cute bikini pieces for $2 each! Plus, there’s an equally fashionable and affordable men’s section. Say goodbye to your wallet now. 

Dinner: 

Trattoria La Siciliana is the perfect place to sit downs with friends, family and wine, and feast on some of the most authentic and delicious Italian food around. All of the items in this cozy restaurant can be served family-style and the atmosphere really feels like you’ve been invited into the home of a large Italian family (one with a really expansive wine list). Make sure to make reservations if you don’t want to wait for a table, and know that the restaurant accepts cash only. 

Work it Off: 

The Dailey Method is one of the best ways to get fit in Berkeley. The unique combination of ballet barre work, core conditioning, muscle strengthening, yoga and orthopedic exercises will have you looking toned in no time. The one hour classes effectively strengthens, tones and lengthens the entire body. And who doesn't want that? The spacious studio also offers a ton of class times, two spa-like locker rooms, onsite childcare, and ample parking. 

Have more suggestions? Add them in the comments.