Old Berkeley Pier – Berkeley, California - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Berkeley, California

Old Berkeley Pier

A pier that used to act as a busy ferry dock is now a decaying favorite of local fisherman and urban artists. 

Built in 1926 by the Golden Gate Ferry Company, this pier once extended 3.5 miles into the bay, almost reaching Treasure Island.

A two lane road ran the length of the pier as it was primarily used to ferry automobiles between Berkeley and San Francisco. After U.C. Berkeley football games and other large events, cars would wait for hours to board the ferries back to the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. With the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936, the ferries fell out of favor and were shut down two years later. The pier was then left abandoned and it decayed, so that today only half a mile of the pier is maintained and open to the public.

The pier was originally built from the base of University Avenue near Second Street, the location of Berkeley’s original shoreline and a mile behind where the pier currently begins. The mile of land was filled in with the creation of the Berkeley Marina.

The pier is now mostly used for fishing, where anyone can fish without a license. Also of note are the 17-foot sundial and the Fredric Fierstein “Guardian” statue of a hunter at the foot of the pier, and the sometimes impressive (though more often awful) graffiti that can be found along the pier.

Update May 2017: You can no longer walk out on the pier, because it was deemed unsafe.