Arts & Culture
Although College Ave. isn’t an obvious arts and entertainment district, there are definite cultural gems scattered along the stretch.
The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts is perhaps the most well-known, with its gorgeous wooden architecture designed by its namesake and built in 1910.
Echoing the aesthetic of most businesses on College Ave., the venue is beautifully crafted yet understated in style. It’s home to Berkeley Playhouse, a prolific theater company that puts on spirited productions often appropriate for the whole family, as well as offers a range of performance classes for children and teens. The center is also home to the Berkeley Ballet Theater, which offers both child and adult ballet training and puts on seasonal performances.
Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood
2966 College Ave. rialtocinemas.com
Gateway to History and the World
One of the neighborhood’s first commercial building, built in 1914 by Architect Albert W. Cornelius, the current Rialto Cinemas® Elmwood building is a designated historic landmark. It has a long history of bringing Hollywood and foreign films, surviving the invention of television and chain theaters. After a fire closed the building in 1988, the Elmwood Theater Foundation purchased and renovated the building to ensure it wasn’t converted into retail use.
The current operators are highly regarded film enthusiasts and curators, bringing only the best independent, foreign, and Hollywood films to their discerning and loyal audience. They also hold special event screenings of live theatre and special screenings. If you want to be engrossed, enlightened, moved, inspired, and entertained, there is no better place to go.
Visit the theatre to view their historical plaque, or learn more about the history of the building at this website: berkeleyplaques.org.
GREEK THEATRE AT UC BERKELEY
2001 Gayley Rd.
Built in 1903, the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre is located on the UC Berkeley Campus in the foothills with spectacular views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco, and The Campanile. Throughout its 100+ year history, it has hosted a variety of entertainment and famous personalities including Theodore Roosevelt, Sarah Bernhard, Luciano Pavarotti, and the 14th Dalai Lama to name a few. Popular music artists performing at the venue include Bob Dylan, Talking Heads, Grateful Dead, Phish, Elvis Costello, John Legend, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Genesis, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, Placido Domingo, Mumford & Sons, James Taylor, Adele and Dave Matthews Band.
For many artists, the Greek Theatre is their favorite place to perform. Many artists and fans have stated that the Greek in Berkeley is one of those venues you wish were in every city! The Greek Theatre is one of those extraordinary venues that make any event or concert a truly remarkable experience for both the artist and the audience — one not to be missed!
BERKELEY BALLET THEATER
Provides rigorous classical ballet training to students of all ages since 1981.
2640 College Ave.
510-843-4687 | berkeleyballet.org
Offering theatre productions where the audience is fully engaged along with classes and camps in performance arts.
2640 College Ave.
510-845-8542 | berkeleyplayhouse.org
The historic Greek Theatre is an 8,500 capacity outdoor amphitheater located on the UC Berkeley campus and serves as a favorite venue for artists and audiences alike, renowned for its intimate setting and spectacular views.
2001 Gayley Rd.
MUSICALLY MINDED ACADEMY
Serves the community through 3 purposes: music education center, community center, and professional concert venue.
510-601-5700 | musicallyminded.org
PHOEBE A. HEARST MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Opening in early 2017 after renovation, the museum holds the oldest and largest anthropological collection in the Western U.S., preserving and interpreting a global record of material culture.
103 Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus
RIALTO CINEMAS ELMWOOD
Showing incredible Hollywood and Independent films from around the world for people with a genuine passion for film.
2966 College Ave.
510-433-9730 | rialtocinemas.com
SHAWL-ANDERSON DANCE CENTER
The Center holds performances and offers classes that nurture and mentor dancers and choreographers in a healthy atmosphere for self-expression and development.
2704 Alcatraz Ave.
510-654-5921 | shawl-anderson.org
IN THE SNOW
Rockridge BART Station Plaza
Snow in Rockridge? Come tell Santa and his elves what‘s on your wish list! And join the merchants of Rockridge in celebrating the holiday season with memorable meals, unique gifts, shopping opportunities, and special holiday events! Kids can enjoy the snow zone and take pony rides while folks enjoy live holiday entertainment.
This free event is in its 9th year of making holiday celebrating, shopping, dining, and family time as easy and fun as it can get. Check the website for dates, typically Nov. or Dec.: rockridgedistrict.com.