8.5 out of 10

Telegraph Ave, Elmwood District

37.8591791824516 -122.259323903258
Great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Eating Out
  • Internet Access
  • Pest Free
  • Shopping Options
Not great for
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Clean & Green
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Parking
  • Peace & Quiet
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"A Sixties Icon with Lots to Offer"

If you really want to get the full Berkeley experience, this is definitely the street to do it on. Telegraph has just about everything you could ask for on a street, although most people when they refer to “Telegraph” usually mean from Dwight to Sproul Plaza. The section of Telegraph that most people neglect is from about Parker to 66th Street (where Telegraph enters Oakland). This later section of Telegraph is mainly for people who live in the area, although there are lots of restaurants that we should not forget, including the Smokehouse, a great Ethiopian place and lots of little joints that come and go. There are also supermarkets, auto parts stores, chiropractors and hair stylists—basically all the sorts of things that you need to get by. If this were all Telegraph had to offer, it would still be a pretty good street.

However, the four of five blocks as you come up to Cal are the part of Telegraph that take it to a whole new level. First, there is the history. Telegraph is home to what’s left of People’s Park, that great icon of Berkeley in the Sixties. (It’s mostly a hangout for diehards and drug dealers these days and you can definitely still smell the drug culture as you come up to it.) Telegraph also spills on to Sproul Plaza, the epicenter of Free Speech Movement in the first part of the Sixties. That’s where Mario Savio, the Martin Luther King of the Free Speech Movement, gave his famous defenses of political protest on campus.

You can still find a fair representation of the Berkeley crazies on Sproul Plaza and Telegraph. Guys like the “Hate Man” and “J’Shua” (a guy who preaches for your soul’s salvation, but thinks that J’Shua not Jesus is the man to save you). It’s not as strong of a group as there used to be. No more Rick Starr (a Sinatra impersonator with everything Sinatra had except for the talent and the fame) or the Naked Guy—but you can still find a lot of drumming down by Zellerbach and your share of wanna-be Hippies and actual former Hippies. There are also lots of relatively aggressive teenage panhandlers and although I always feel safe on Telegraph itself, I can’t say the same for the side streets at night. It seems like especially as the weather gets warmer near the summer that things get a bit dicey.

Telegraph also has not one but three great Bookstores. Moe’s is the place to go for used and cheap foreign books. Cody’s Books is a Berkeley Icon. It is just a great store with a great selection of just about every kind of book and what they don’t have they will order for you. It gives what Amazon simply cannot: A knowledgeable staff (you as them thing like what was that French book about the alienated guy who shoots some Arab guys on the beach and they will actually be able to tell you) and an intellectual culture. Authors often speak at Cody’s. And it is clean, well lit place to browse and really feed your mind.

Telegraph also has lot’s of great relatively inexpensive places to eat from Blondie’s Pizza and Noah’s Bagels to Blakes and the Mexican place across the street from Cody’s. (There are also a plethora of eateries and coffee shops just off Telegraph up or down a block.) Mediterrano (sp?) is a good coffee shop right by Shakespeare Books and there is a really nice Sushi place right around the corner on Dwight.

As far as cool places to buy clothes or accessories, here are a couple of recommendations. The Buffalo exchange just past Dwight is great for used hipster clothes. You can, not only sell some of your clothes there, you can often find a great little slightly used shirt or pair of pants. If you are into leather or tattoos, or the goth look, you can definitely find places to outfit yourself on Telegraph. There are three tattoo parlors, of which I personally like Zebra’s. (I bear more than one of their samples on my body and they also did the majority of my piercings—though I’ll leave the specifics to your imagination.) There is also a very substantial trinket market that closes the street down on Sundays and that is a great place to find interesting handcrafted jewelry and that kind of thing.

Put simply, this is the place to hangout if you are young and alternative. Just be sure to come ready to get panhandled at every block.
  • lots of eclectic stores
  • lots of eclectic restuarants
  • great for people watching
  • dirty
  • lots of pan handlers
  • crowded at lunch hour
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students

Travelling to Telegraph Ave?

Find Hotels

Unranked Streets in Elmwood District

Ashby Ave

"Residential but mostly used to get from once place to another"
37.8571071924794 -122.252866773688

Benvenue Ave

"Typical Berkeley nonsense north of Ashby, but quieter toward Alcatraz"
37.8584803094953 -122.254458556691

College Ave

"Just One of the Greatest Streets in the World!"
37.8585604966136 -122.253232437459
"A Sixties Icon with Lots to Offer"
37.8591791824516 -122.259323903258

Unanswered Questions in Elmwood District

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More