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Cuffing season has trickled its way into the New Year and Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. Regardless of who you have in your life at the moment (and even if you’re currently riding solo), it never hurts to unfurl from your blanketed cocoon and head out for a fun date. Lucky for you, UC Berkeley hooks up its students with free admission to the following places:

1. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Steps away from the UC Berkeley campus is BAMPFA, a perfect date option if you’re looking to be impressed by convenience, culture and creativity. Perhaps you are an Art History major or merely a fan of the visual arts. Regardless, a trip to the museum to either appreciate, snobbily critique or digitally document the current art exhibits at BAMPFA is a sure-fire way to add excitement to your weekend. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming events, workshops, their CineFile collection and other cool amenities like the Babette Cafe or the Koret Reading Room.

2. UC Berkeley Botanical Garden

Plant and nature lovers alike can indulge in the flora and fauna offerings of the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. The magnificent collection of native and exotic species includes plants from six continents and features specialty gardens, such as the Deserts of the Americas garden, the redwood forest and a garden for native Californian plants. From personal experience, the garden is picturesque in winter even if it is a bit barren and it’s a tranquil place to get lost in its maze of vegetation. Hours of operation and seasonal events can be found on the garden’s home page

3. The Lawrence Hall of Science

Whether you’re a STEM major or not, The Lawrence Hall of Science is sure to quench your thirst for knowledge, curiosity and hands-on exploration. Take a trip down memory lane to grade-school field trips by engaging with the cool exhibits and the 3D theater. You can even climb up sculptures like the Sunstone II monument, made of granite, to take artsy pictures for Instagram. More details on other cool amenities, like their planetarium and Animal Discovery Zone (both coming soon), can be found on their website

4. UC Aquatics Center at the Berkeley Marina

If you’re up for a physical weekend excursion by the water, then you might want to check out the UC Aquatics Center at the Berkeley Marina. Stand-up paddleboard and kayaking rentals are available free of charge to Berkeley students and make for exciting activities to cross off your bucket list. To set up an appointment, students should check out the Rec Sports online store. Boating, windsurfing, as well as sunset and evening full-moon paddling sessions are also available through the Bay Experience Pass. 

Whichever activities you choose to try out, be sure to refer to the website for COVID-19 safety protocol procedures, information about operating hours and directions, as well as appropriate attire. Happy exploring!

Rebekah Sim

UC Berkeley '22

Rebekah Sim is a fourth-year at UC Berkeley pursuing a major in English and a minor in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies. The Los Angeles transplant likes to spend her time trying out new restaurants and traveling.
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