The Best Underground Spots on Campus

April 17, 2024

At a whopping 1,232 acres, UC Berkeley’s campus is quite vast. While there are plenty of iconic landmarks and popularly frequented spots, like Sproul Plaza, the Campanile, and Memorial Glade, there are also less trafficked areas that offer a respite from the hustle-bustle of campus. Here are a few of my favorite that I’ve discovered so far:

1. Ishi Court

Hidden in the bowels of Dwinelle Hall, Ishi Court is a beautiful courtyard surrounded by orangey-pink walls and plenty of trees. It’s the perfect location to take a break in between classes and enjoy the fresh air on one of the benches! However, it can be quite confusing to find. I’d recommend entering Dwinelle through the North entrance and going straight into Ishi Court. If you go through the main Dwinelle entrance, you might find yourself circling the hallways and traveling up and down staircases to find the entrance! Fun fact about Dwinelle Hall: The building is so huge that a student built a Dwinelle Navigator website that will give you step-by-step directions to each classroom based on which entrance you enter! It even has an estimated walking time.

2. Women’s Faculty Club Garden

I often hear about the main Faculty Club, but the Women’s Faculty Club is a lesser known gem on campus. Located behind the Haas School of Business, the Women's Faculty Club garden offers a serene atmosphere amidst the surrounding buildings (and construction sometimes). Abounding with flowers, buzzing bees, and lush greenery, the garden is the ideal place to sit and read. Though the Women’s Faculty Club is only open to faculty and PhD students on campus, anyone can enjoy the garden!

3. Social Research Library

UC Berkeley’s 27 on-campus libraries offer a variety of vibes, but the Social Research Library might just be my favorite. It’s located in Haviland Hall next to the East Asian Library. The pastel blue-green walls and engraved ceilings add to a cozy atmosphere for catching up on lectures or finishing assignments. And while finding a place to study can be challenging in some of the more popular libraries like Moffitt and Doe, the Social Research Library always has some open seats waiting for you!

4. Eshleman Hall Roof

If you take the elevator up to the top floor of Eshleman Hall, turn left, and walk out the door, you’ll find a somewhat hidden rooftop deck. With views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as a few tables, I love bringing my lunch up there and sitting under the sun. It’s a peaceful escape from the bustle of Sproul Plaza and Telegraph Avenue below.

5. Grass behind Clark Kerr Building 8

The green space of my freshman year dorm, Clark Kerr Campus, was one of my favorite aspects of living there (besides accumulating many steps while walking to and from campus). I think a common misconception about UC Berkeley is that it is very urban, but some parts are actually very park-like. One of my heavily frequented places was the grassy area behind Building 8, where there are palm trees, picnic tables, and more. It’s often used by students for playing frisbee and volleyball, tanning, and my favorite activity of all, hammocking!