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'Cal' is one of the country's top universities, California's oldest university (1866), and home to 40,000 diverse, politically conscious students. Next to California Memorial Stadium, the Koret Visitor Center has information and maps, and leads free campus walking tours (reservations required). Cal's landmark is the 1914 Campanile, with elevator rides ($3) to the top and carillon concerts. The Bancroft Library displays the small gold nugget that started the California gold rush in 1848.
Leading to the campus's south gate, Telegraph Avenue is as youthful and gritty as San Francisco's Haight St, packed with cafes, cheap eats, record stores and bookstores. Or you can enter from Center St and Oxford Lane, not far from Downtown Berkeley BART station.