Known (for better or worse) as the "Gourmet Ghetto," North Berkeley is best known for its epicurean pleasures: Chez Panisse, the original Peet's Coffee & Tea, The Cheese Board, Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen, et al. It's a bucolic neighborhood, with gorgeous homes tucked up in the hills, secret stairways connecting streets, the Berkeley Rose Garden, Tilden Park, and enough trees to make you feel like you're not living in an area with 7 million other people.
One of the most desirable places to live in Berkeley, Elmwood is close to everything: campus, Rockridge, the hills, every freeway — not to mention shopping (hello, Jeremys!), cafes, and restaurants. Nestled in the shadow of the grand Claremont Hotel & Spa, the neighborhood is a mix of families, students, professors, and professional types. It's a great place to get a cappuccino and study, then pick up a pair of jeans afterward.
South and Downtown Berkeley
Encompassing the area south of campus, South Berkeley — the main thoroughfares of which are Shattuck Avenue and University Avenue — is where Berkeleyans work, play, and do business. Indian restaurants? Check. Bookstores? Yep. Movie theaters? Uh-huh. Fancy restaurants? Berkeley Repertory Theatre? The Jazzschool? Freight & Salvage? All this — and more.