Tucked beneath residential hills and away from the surrounding busy streets, quiet Solano Avenue is where Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito meet. All the classics are here: from Peet’s Coffee to ethnic eateries and groovy shops. If you haven’t been yet, and are looking for an East Bay enclave to explore, this is the place.
Here are five of our faves.
1. Start the day with something completely unique to Solano and bone up at the eccentric Bone Room. Yes, they specialize in natural history, but this quirky spot is anything but boring. Art and fossils for viewing and for sale, weekly gallery openings and academic talk, plus a funky yet friendly staff. (1569 Solano Avenue, boneroom.com)
2. Next, bag your bones at The Fickle Bag, the shop with every handbag imaginable, from the evening clutch to the giant hobo. The inventory is constantly changing, all the more reason to visit often. (1885 Solano Avenue, theficklebag.com)
3. Now that you’ve walked up an appetite, get some lunch at the famous Zachary’s Pizza, known (along with its sister location on College Avenue in Berkeley), for its decadent, deep-dish Chicago-style pizzas. (1853 Solano Avenue, zacharys.com)
5. Save the best for last. Get a sugar rush at the Xocolate Bar, which boasts much more than bonbons, bars, and hot chocolate. This sweet spot has edible chocolate art and chocolate jewelry as well as chocolate making classes (1709 Solano Avenue, xocolatebar.com)
Take BART to North Berkeley then hop on the shuttle to Solano Ave. (solanoave.com)