Berkeley's Best Kept Secrets

Even though I lived in Berkeley an entire semester last year, it would take years of living here just to visit every neighbourhood, try every type of cuisine, and experience all the amazing arts and culture the city has to offer. Some of my favourite parts of Berkeley include all the fresh produce, organic food culture and farmers markets that allow you to buy locally. Berkeley Bowl and Berkeley’s Farmers Market (all organic on Thursdays on Shattuck @ Rose) are the best examples I can think of.

lots of locally grown, organic goodies

This time around, I discovered three little Berkeley gems I had never really heard of before, and definitely never been to. The first was Strawberry Canyon Pool, which sits behind UC Berkeley Campus a little up past the football stadium on the Berkeley Hills. Its an amazing 6 lane pool perfect for swimming laps, has a deep end section where you can just splash around if you prefer, and is exposed to direct sunlight with a green lawn to lay out and tan if you please. The best part is its surrounded by trees, free for Berkeley student, but still open to the general public for a few dollars.

Strawberry Canyon pool

Strawberry Canyon pool

If you keep going a little further up the Berkeley Hills, right behind campus is Tilden Regional Park, a huge, green, forested space with miles of trails, wild cougars, and a beautiful, swimmable lake. There are endless possibilities for hikes, picnic areas and even camping, and this all exists only minutes away (by bus, car, or even ambitious road bikers) from downtown Berkeley.

Tilden Regional Park

The last place I want to mention is certainly the most magical place, but one whose location I cant exactly give out. Among an in-group of Berkeley women, this place called the Essex Hot Tub exists, which is a private hot tub circa 112`F degrees in someones backyard. It sits in a secluded area sort of under the house, with a change room and shower built into the house, and opens to a backyard with lots of trees and lounging area (including a hammock) for you to sprawl out. The only unspoken rules are that since this is  a place for rest and relaxation, no-one can talk, and even though its not a rule, almost everyone goes naked and men can only visit if escorted by a lady companion. Getting the code to the locked door into the yard is the only tricky part, but thanks to a tango dancing friend, I only had to figure out where it was and go.

12 thoughts on “Berkeley's Best Kept Secrets

  1. Katrin…

    […] something about katrin[…]…

    • Girlfriend this sounds like a night that would change your life…. !! I am enticed to kindly request the possibility you might “just quietly” pass on the code!!

  2. i’ve just moved back to the bay and would so like to reunite with the tub and quiet. can your tango friend help?

  3. the code is impossible to get your hands on.

    😉 unless you know someone. like me.

    • Lisa, I live in Oakland and my boyfriend and I visit hot springs up north a lot. But it’s his birthday next week and I really want to make it special. Can I trade you a private yoga class (I’ma teacher) or some premium chocolate or something in exchange for help getting in:)! ALso my eternal gratitude.:)

    • Hi Lisa,

      I’d love to get access to this code. It has been on my bucket list for the past 4 years, and I want it to happen before I leave Berkeley in December. Is there any way we could talk? My email is

    • Hi Lisa,

      I just moved from New York to the Bay area. My dear friend went to the tub and said the experience was peaceful and transformative. Her code unfortunately expired when she moved to India. Do you know how I can obtain the code? I’d love to see what the experience is all about.

      Thank you,

    • Ciao Lisa, Any chance I can join you at the tub some time? I haven’t been there in a while. 🙂

    • Hey Lisa!!!! Im currently a berkeley senior and it has been one of the few things on my bucket list to find this hot tub! It would be AMAZING and greatly appreciated if you could give me the address to it. my email address is

    • Hi Lisa, I am a practicing Buddhist and I feel as if this experience would be parallel to my meditation. I would love to get in contact with you. My email is

  4. Lianne Michaels

    Lisa – do you have ANY suggestions how to get your hands on a code? I’m visiting Berkeley in a week and would love to experience this.

  5. I would love to take my wife. She always bugs me about this place. If any one could help us out, we would be respectful and grateful.
    here is my email

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s