Fourth Street extensive guide to Berkeley and San Francisco area, plus inspiring articles about trips around the world

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BERKELEY’s BEST Attractions

Fourth Street  1800 block.  For a city of the size and income level of Berkeley, it is surprising that it has no department stores or traditional shopping malls.  This trendy block featuring a 1920s industrial style of architecture is as close to one as the city comes.  It is a shopping mall done Berkeley-style.  Designed, built, and owned by a Berkeley developer/architectural firm, the street’s buildings are kept at 2 stories.  The owner controls leasing of the entire block and hand picks the unusual stores.  A variety of restaurants offers delicious fare and spectacular people-watching.  The shops and restaurants do radiate out several blocks, though this one block started things and is still the center of this universe. 

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Builders Booksource  #1817.  Books here center on architecture and design, but “nesting” books on interior design and gardening are also on the shelves.

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Castle in the Air #1805.  In this one-of-a-kind shop for the creative artist-craftsperson you’ll discover rarities—everything from fine pens and lovely journals to mouse dolls and paper models.  Upstairs is a studio where regularly scheduled classes are conducted--make a paper bird,  carousel, or a santos folk art figure.  

Earthsake  #1722.  The first manufacturer of organic mattresses in the U.S., this flagship shop also includes eco-friendly organic cotton bedding and bath items. 

The Gardener #1836.  This attractive shop specializes in elegant accessories for the garden and home and is a premier spot for finding the perfect gift.

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George  #1824.  Set back from the street, down a driveway and through a parking lot, this little shop stocks everything tempting for cats and dogs, including fresh-baked treats

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Market Hall Foods  #1786.  This is a spacious branch of the mother ship in Oakland

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Miki’s Paper  #1801.  An impressive selection of handmade Japanese papers is purveyed here.

Outback  #1799.  Here you’ll find stylish designer clothing in delicious fabrics at outlet prices, plus accessories and gifts. 

Sur La Table  #1806.  This kitchen specialty shop purveys fine equipment at fair prices. 

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