The Voice Plays

By Kietty Phuangpolchai

kietty 1Photo Credit: Kietty Phuangpolchai

Tilden Regional Park – 2501 Grizzly Peak Blvd – 3 miles from BCC

Who said summer is the best time to hike in California? Whether you’re a hiker or just looking for a spot to get away from school chaos, you shouldn’t miss this local spot. Though you still might, as the entrance can be troublesome to spot. The park is gigantic, offering facilities such as a golf course, steam trains, a petting farm, a carousel, botanical gardens, and picnicking. Look for a small sign that reads “Padre” and you’ll be quickly on your way to explore the Arroyo and Lupine hiking trails, both of which loop around on the northeast part of the park. They run roughly 3 to 4 miles each and are currently covered with red and yellow leaves, creating the feeling of strolling along a holiday carpet. Best of all, the park is free to everyone year round.

Starry Plough – 3101 Shattuck Ave – 1.5 miles from BCC

This little, mysterious pub is a hidden center for poets, next-door neighbors, and BCC students to meet. Their chief attraction is a poetry slam they hold every Wednesday night, which never fails to bring a crowd. On event nights, they ask for a donation of $7 to $10, which is well-worth it for the assured evening of literary pleasure. The slams resemble concerts with the amount of energy the poets pour into their works, each filled with diverse emotions and personal stories. The poets make up a community of support and all are welcome to read. They even offer a poem writing workshop on some nights. The bar has become a popular attraction for those in the know and seats are filled quickly, even more so when a slam is going on. Get there early, get yourself a seat, and enjoy some good food, but make sure you leave some room for all of the tasty readings!

Games of Berkeley – 2151 Shattuck Ave – 1 block from BCC

If you have some free time to spare, take a stroll to this superstore of gaming. Inside you’ll find a wide assortment of people who hang out here, some of your classmates included. This quaint shop hosts a variety of events, ranging from Magic the Gathering Card Game tournaments to Cards Against Humanity nights, and even classic board games like World War I. Need help? The staff would be happy to walk you through their collection of familiar family board games like Sorry! and Apples to Apples but can also point you in the direction of a new favorite. You never know, a fun, new game might be useful for your next family gathering on the upcoming holidays!

kietty 2

Photo Credit: Kietty Phuangpolchai

Iron Works – 800 Potter St – 2.5 miles from BCC

Iron Works climbing gym is a power workout hub! If you aren’t focused, upon entering you might find yourself distracted by the many different workout sections competing for your attention. Iron Works has cardio, weight training, yoga, a room for the various classes the gym provides, and most impressive of all, huge rock climbing walls. It’s a giant warehouse gym with a very casual community vibe. Inside, you’ll meet rock climbers of all levels, ranging from novice to experienced, so there’s no reason not to at least try to jump on a wall. The entrance fee for a day pass is $15 or a pricey $20 during peak hours, but it’s well worth it for the awesome workout experience!

Eudemonia Computer Cafe – 2154 University Ave – 3 blocks from BCC

Whether you’re a serious PC gamer or just need a little break from your classes, Eudemonia is the spot for you. Eudemonia is tabletop game store and computer gaming center made up different communities with card players and PC rock stars alike. Speak to a front desk staff member if you aren’t sure which group you want to join in but know that they’re all friendly geeks who love to guide newcomers. Eudemonia is similar to Games of Berkeley in the tournaments they host but bring a lively vibe to the games that’s hard to beat. Even if you aren’t a big fan of teamwork, for a small $4 fee, you can jump on a computer and play any of the games they have available. Eudemonia conjures up many nostalgic moments from my own childhood as I first started coming here when I was 15 years old. Because there weren’t many indoor establishments for the under-21 crowd, I found myself frequenting the gaming center often throughout my teenage years. Even now, I sometimes stop by to see what’s going on. Open from 12:00PM – 12.30AM, this cafe rocks until the early morning.

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