20 years later, a park instead of a bar
April 23, 2008 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Need help finding a good park for a high school reunion family BBQ in the Berkeley/Albany CA area.

I need a place that can hold up to 150 people and will have at least one large BBQ area and be near restrooms. Right now I'm thinking Tilden Park, although I'm not sure which picnic area is best and am not able to drive down there to look, or the Marina.

Alternatively, a Berkeley city park - like Cedar Rose, Live Oak, Cordonices or something like that (if it has a BBQ area and restrooms) would be fine too. Any suggestions?
posted by luriete to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total)
Tilden has loads of places, certainly. Although it's a bit further away, try Lake Temescal. Easy access to freeways, plenty of facilities, and just a bit off the beaten path. This comes from someone who hasn't lived in the area for ten years, though, so take the suggestion with a grain of salt.
posted by incessant at 10:06 AM on April 23, 2008

Check out the east bay regional parks site. I'd suggest giving them a call, they are pretty friendly and can walk you through the process and what park would be best suited to your needs.

Might want to look at WildCat canyon.

[Disclaimer: Wife is the volunteer coordinator for the parks.]
posted by iamabot at 10:11 AM on April 23, 2008

Tilden Park does indeed have many picnic areas. The link goes to a list of picnic areas, with capacities listed, how to reserve, and fees. Most seem to have barbecues on site, and/or you can bring your own.
posted by rtha at 10:12 AM on April 23, 2008

Seconding Tilden. My wife's university had a big reunion/get together there, and simply reserved a picnic area, which had bathrooms, BBQs, and tables, as well as a nearby field for games. Also, there are the steam trains and carousel for the kids -- not all within walking distance of each other, but then, it's a HUGE park.
posted by mosk at 10:13 AM on April 23, 2008

Peoples Park!!!!! (just kidding!)

Tilden is great.
posted by Large Marge at 10:45 AM on April 23, 2008

thirding tilden. Its such an easy process to book and its a nice place with plenty of space.
posted by subaruwrx at 12:08 PM on April 23, 2008

Tilden is awesome, as is Lake Temescal. A couple words of caution: my girlfriend recently had a meeting at the Temescal Beach House, and every single car (except for two -- one of them was our old dirty bastard, fortunately) was broken into. Apparently there is a ring of thieves that has been targeting cars at park areas. Even though it borders on the obvious, I'd advise your guests NOT to leave any valuables in their car, because there have been recent break-ins. In their case, they were not informed of this fact by the park service (until afterwards -- thanks guys!) and probably several thousands of dollars worth of luggage was stolen from their cars.

in the past I've had a July 4th barbecue at the Berkeley Marina and it was simply too chilly and cold to be enjoyable at all (we had trouble starting the fire, even). Obviously, YMMV regarding weather, but I suspect you'll be a little less exposed to wind at Tilden. The upside of the Berkeley Marina is that it is simple to find, being right off the freeway.

I think most berkeley city parks would present a parking problem if you are having 150 attendees (unless most of them still live in the area) and can walk/bike/bus. I can't think of any parks with substantial parking outside of the ones already mentioned.

Either way you go, definitely call in and make reservations, etc, etc. I haven't dealt with the city of Berkeley regarding park reservations, but I have done it frequently in Sacramento (even obtaining sound permits), and found that it's pretty easy to get ahold of someone who can answer your questions.
posted by fishfucker at 1:49 PM on April 23, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. FF, I am in Sacramento too! Small world.

Tilden people were very nice on the phone. They suggested I have a local call back and make the reservation as it'll be 20% cheaper than someone with a 916 area code...
posted by luriete at 3:46 PM on April 23, 2008

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