Top Things To Do And See On California's Telegraph Avenue

Allan Ferguson/Flickr
Allan Ferguson/Flickr
Photo of Aviva Schmitz
9 February 2017

Anyone looking to sample the spirit of the Bay Area should take a trip along Telegraph Avenue. This main thoroughfare stretches through both Oakland and Berkeley, and is lined with shops, restaurants, street vendors, and more.

Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music is the world’s largest independent record store, with locations in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. But people still flock to Amoeba’s original location, established in 1990 and located just a few blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. Make a trip to the flagship store to peruse the store’s hundreds of thousands of new and used CDs, LPs, and DVDs. Make sure to check the website for information about special events, like free live shows, sales, giveaways, and more.

Amoeba Music, 2455 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA


Amoeba Music | © markheybo/Flickr

Moe’s Books

Many bookstores are struggling to survive in the age of online books and media, but Moe’s Books is thriving. Since 1959, this store has provided the public with four floors of books. You’ll find bestsellers and new releases, but there is also an entire top floor dedicated to rare and out-of-print books. Antique lovers will delight in these leather-bound volumes, but people who prefer contemporary works will also find more than enough to satisfy them on the floors below.

Moe’s Books, 2476 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA

Street Vendors

If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, Telegraph Avenue has you covered. Most weekends, street vendors set up shop along the blocks closest to the UC Berkeley campus, and the wares they offer are beautiful, cheap, and undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. Stop by for some handmade jewelry, tie-dyed T-shirts, and knit socks and beanies, as well as practical items like hand-carved cutting boards and real leather wallets. Whatever you buy, it’s sure to be a gorgeous item that will always remind you of Berkeley.

Bear Basics

Among the street vendors of Telegraph Avenue you’ll find Bear Basics. This store is the go-to place for UC Berkeley gear, and a portion of all college apparel sales directly benefits the university. But what makes this store really worth visiting is the basement. On this floor you’ll find ‘T-Shirt Orgy,’ a massive collection of graphic tees. There are shirts with a Bay Area theme, shirts with sports logos, shirts emblazoned with cartoon characters, and shirts with pop culture references and witty sayings. Stop by to enhance your wardrobe.

Bear Basics, 2350 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA


T-Shirts | © Nicolas/Flickr

Burma Superstar

Experience an authentic Burmese meal at Burma Superstar. This Oakland restaurant offers a delicious yet affordable menu that will transport you to Burma (also known as Myanmar), a nation whose cuisine has been influenced by its Chinese, Indian, Thai, and Laotian neighbors. Try the Oh Noh Kauswer, a coconut noodle soup with chicken, onions, eggs, lemon, and cilantro, or the samusas, which are filled with curried potatoes, deep fried, and served with a special sauce. Burma Superstar also helps to support organizations like the Oakland Public Library. Your meal will taste even sweeter knowing that your money is going to a good cause.

Burma Superstar, 4721 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA


See Jyet Kauswer at Burma Superstar | © rick/Flickr

Sockshop Telegraph

Sockshop Telegraph is the brainchild of Ellen and Eric Gil, a California family who opened their first boutique in Santa Cruz in 1988. Since then, they’ve opened two new locations, and one is on Telegraph Avenue. Come in to look through a large collection of socks, tights, and leggings. It’s the perfect spot for people who love fun, colorful socks that go beyond basic designs like stripes or polka dots. If you’ve ever wanted socks decorated with guitars, skulls, or even the Mona Lisa, Sockshop Telegraph has you covered.

Sockshop Telegraph, 2505 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse

Whether you’re looking to tidy up your basement or are about to embark on your next DIY project, make a trip to the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. This pioneering organization is an attempt to curb waste by repurposing items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Here you can unload your old scrapbooking gear and art supplies, and pick up gently used items like fabric, picture frames, and typewriters. You might even be able to snag a new bicycle or some new kitchen gadgets.

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, 4695 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA


Bags for Sale at East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse | © J.H. Fearless/Flickr


Like the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, Walrus is dedicated to giving old objects new life. But when you shop at Walrus, you won’t have to do any of the painting or sanding yourself. At this Oakland store, you’ll find beautiful pieces of furniture and décor that are made from pre-owned items. Stop by to grab a new piece of wall art or even a desk! These unique items are guaranteed to perfectly complement any room in your house.

Walrus, 470G 49th Street, Oakland, CA, USA

Oakland First Fridays

As the name would suggest, Oakland First Fridays are events held on the first Friday of every month. But what you might not be able to gather from the name alone is that Oakland First Fridays are a veritable explosion of culture and pure fun. Thousands of people from all over the Bay Area flock to the portion of Telegraph Avenue between West Grand Avenue and 27th Street for a night of live music, great food, dance performances, poetry readings, and more. Stop by and experience Oakland culture at its best.

Oakland First Fridays, Telegraph Avenue and West Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA

Oakland's First Friday

Oakland’s First Friday | © blocker1501/Flickr

Bowl’d BBQ

Bowl’d BBQ is Telegraph Avenue’s best spot for Korean barbecue. Order streak, brisket, or pork belly to grill on your own at your table, and let everyone try their hand as the chef. The glowing fire pit at the center of the table is sure to keep everyone both warm and entertained. Vegetarians, vegans, and people with gluten allergies will have plenty of options as well. If you don’t eat meat, try the bibimbop with tofu and bean sprouts, or the spicy ramen.

Bowl’d BBQ, 4869 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA


Korean Barbecue | © Yinan Chen/Wikipedia

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