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Friday 16 May 2003

Top 4 free things to do in the East Bay

  1. The Albany Bulb
    Located right next to Golden Gate Fields, this old dump now holds a ton of art made out of junk. There are paintings, sculptures, mosaics, installations and more. Even a very small castle. See it now before the city of Albany buldozes it. Open during daylight hours. Indy Media Artcile
  2. Chapel of the Chimes
    Located in Oakland on Piedmont Avenue. This is a big building, designed by local architect Julia Morgan, that holds the ashes and remains of many, many people. It's seperated into a bunch of rooms. Some are tiny. some are medium-sized gardens, some are large chapels. The walls are display cases filled with urns. Floor to high ceiling. Many of the urns are shaped like books, with the name of the person who is inside on the spine like a title. The ceiling is glass, so sunlight filters in. the rooms are very echo-y, given all the hard surfaces and very interestingly resonant, with obvious resonant pitches. some of the glass ceilings slide back to let in a breeze. Many of the garden rooms ahve fountains. Parts of the place are maze-like. Part is big open rooms. There's something for everyone and it's really interesting to wander through. Not all of the rooms are accessable. Open 9-5 daily. Official Website
  3. Doggie Diner Heads
    This is the largest tourist attraction in Emeryville, except for the Ikea. the dog heads sit on a trailer, just off Ocean avenue, between Hollis and San Pablo. I think they might be in New York right now, though. The Doggie Diner, a local restaurant chain, closed in 1976, but it's emblem, a mona-lisa like weiner dog head, has enduring fame and is often featured in Zippy the Pinhead. These dog heads used to sit on poled in front of the restaurants. They're big. They're weird. They will make you laugh. You can go see them anytime, but they do travel and there's nobody to call, so it's hit or miss. Roadside America Article
  4. Indian Rock
    It's a big rock in North Berkeley. Some people practice rock climbing on it, but there's also a couple of stairways carved into it. It has a terrific view, so you can climb to the top and look at the entire bay area. It's a great place to look at sunrises (although facing the wrong direction), sunsets, eclipses, meteor showers, stars, whatever. Technically, it's open during daylight hours, but I've seen plenty of people there after dark, especially for unusal celestial events. The rock itself is not accessible, but the park has a little path through it that is. And the route there takes you through one of Berkeley's three roundabouts. the biggest one! It has a fountain or something in the middle. Berkeley Parks Department Offical webpage about the park

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