Tailgating at Cal provides a unique experience since Cal’s football stadium is in the center of the metropolitan city of Berkeley. And a short ride away from the heart of San Francisco. If you’ve never had a chance to visit San Francisco, I’d encourage you to turn your game day at Cal into a weekend trip to explore the city.
For everything, you need to know to have a successful gameday experience in Berkeley, read along!
Before Gameday at Cal
Be sure to purchase your game tickets ahead of time, so you can check this box off. If you’re a Cal Bears fan, I’d suggest going directly through their ticket office. If you’re a fan of the away team, I’d check with your own ticket office if you want to sit with your fellow team fans.
Here’s the Cal Bears 2022 Home Schedule:
- Sept. 3 – UC Davis
- Sept. 10 – UNLV
- Sept. 24 – Arizona
- Oct. 22 – Washington
- Oct. 29 – Oregon
- Nov. 19 – Stanford
- Nov. 25 – UCLA
Travel, Accommodations, and Transportation
If you want to stay the weekend in Berkeley, explore the college town and be close by on game day, I’d recommend you fly into Oakland Airport. However, if you’re flying in a bit early, and making your gameday a weekend getaway to San Francisco, you can fly into either Oakland or SFO. Typically SFO is a bit easier if you’re heading into the city, but both work!
Here are some great articles outlining top hotels in either area:
When it comes to transportation – this is one of the locations I would recommend you get a rental car for your visit. Although there is public transportation around the city, it’s nice to have a car if you want to explore different areas within the Bay. It’s much more convenient and allows you to maximize your time.
Getting to California Memorial Stadium on Gameday
Taking Bart + Shuttle/Rideshare
If you’re coming in from San Francisco, you can take the Bart in, and then either walk, rideshare, or shuttle to the stadium.
Drive & Park
Most campus parking at UC Berkeley is pre-sold to football season ticket holders. Any remaining are sold on a first-come, first-served, basis to the public. Typical rates are $40 per car and they take credit card only.
Campus Parking Lots:
- Genetics Garage (Oxford St/Berkeley Way)
- Lower Hearst Structure Level 2 (Hearst Ave/Scenic Ave)
- Lower Sproul Garage (Bancroft Way/Telegraph Ave)
Non-UC parking lots/garages that offer public parking on game day in downtown Berkeley:
- Berkeley Way near Shattuck Avenue
- Allston Way near Shattuck Avenue
- Durant Avenue near Telegraph Avenue
- Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street
- Nearby campus fraternities and sororities along Warring St or Channing Ave
- Berkeley High School at 2000 Bancroft Way (@ Milvia), with entrances on both Durant Avenue and Bancroft Way
You can always take rideshare in on gamedays. Drop-off locations vary, but postgame you can pick up an Uber or Lyft at the corner of Dana Street and Bancroft Way.
Here’s more information on Cal Football Shuttle and Golf Cart Services.
And here’s more information on Berkeley Public Parking/Disabled Parking on Football home games.
Tailgating at CAL
There are quite a few options when it comes to your pre-game experience when visiting the California Memorial Stadium. From traditional tailgating to joining the Tailgate Town event, to even doing some bar-hopping in downtown San Francisco or Berkeley. There’s an option for all fans. All in all, though, tailgating at Cal is an awesome experience.
Gameday Cooking Permit Maps
If you’re tailgating at Cal, be sure to read this section! This is unique to the Cal bears pre-game experience.
Tailgating/BBQ using an open flame or cooking appliances will be allowed by CFM permit ONLY. Within these areas:
- Maxwell Field
- Goldman Plaza
- Stadium East Rim
- Clark Kerr Parking Lots – Northwest and Southwest Parking lots
See the below maps for more details on this BBQ exclusion zone. This is something you want to keep in mind if you’re tailgating in these areas – you’ll need to rethink your traditional tailgate menu of burgers and dogs, and potentially opt for more pre-made options or sandwich bars.
You can find more info on Cal’s Gameday Cooking Permit Policy linked.
Tailgate Town is hosted on the Maxwell Family Field, just Northeast of the California Memorial Stadium. This is the official pregame tailgate location for every Cal home football game.
Tailgate Town opens three hours before kickoff. Admission is free for all fans!
It includes the following:
- Beer Garden & Concessions
- Kids Zone
- Cornhole, Giant Jenga, and other fun games
- Tables and seating for the public
- Sponsor giveaways and activities
See the below map for the location.
Restricted items in Tailgate Town: Outside alcohol of any kind, grills or BBQs, glass/metal bottles, umbrellas, animals, cans, handcuffs, banners, balls, cans, sticks/poles, spiked attire/chains, fireworks, artificial noisemakers, weapons, hard Coolers, personal video cameras, hard fruit or vegetables (unless cut into small pieces), Frisbees.
Pregame Rally at Sproul Plaza
A great pregame tradition at Cal is the pregame rally at Sproul Plaza, which is hosted by the Cal band, cheerleaders, and dance team. After you attend the rally, you can join them in the March to Victory. About 2 hours and 20 minutes before kick-off, fans can watch the Bears walk into the California Memorial Stadium and cheer them on.
Bar Hopping in Berkeley
There are TONS of great restaurants and bars throughout Berkeley within walking distance to California Memorial Stadium.
Some favorites include:
The Tap Haus – 2518 Durant Ave Suite C
It’s a German-inspired beer hall and so much fun!
Raleigh’s Pub – 2438 Telegraph Ave
A casual, convivial tavern for American eats, wine & beers served in a spacious indoor and outdoor setting.
Henry’s – 2600 Durant Ave
Great, higher quality drinks and eats located in the Graduate Hotel (also a great place to stay on game days!)
Cal Gameday Gear
It’s not a game day without some koozies to keep your beer chilled. These are great not only to have at home when watching away games but also for the tailgate. You can find them here.
If you want to rep your team to the neighbors, this is a great way to do it. You can hang your flag on game days at home, or also use zip ties to hook it onto your tailgate tent on game days. You can find this one on Amazon here.
For anything you’ll need attire-wise, check out Fanatics – Cal Bears. They have something for everyone. Be sure to only purchase when they have promotions happening – which happen quite frequently!
Fanatics also has a great ‘Tailgate Party’ section for all the NFL and NCAA teams that cover a good majority of your tailgate gear. Check out Cal’s Tailgate Party section for more items like the ones below!
If you have any other suggestions for tailgating at Cal, be sure to leave them in the comments below for other fans to see! Or if you have any questions, throw them down there too so our community can help.
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