A Visitors Guide To Attending Cal Football Games At California Memorial Stadium

Written By Dan Holmes on August 31, 2023
A comprehensive guide to attending Cal football games at California Memorial Stadium during the college football season, from playca.com

Perhaps the most acclaimed academic institution in the Golden State is the University of California, Berkeley. But “Cal” is far more than just a place for world-class research and education.

While Cal boasts more than 100 Nobel laureates, the Golden Bears football team has won or shared five national championships. Each fall, the Cal Golden Bears attract thousands of students and alumni for every home game at the famous California Memorial Stadium.

No, you can’t bet on Cal football games (or any sporting events, for that matter) in California yet, but there is still a lot to be excited about.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about attending a Cal football game at California Memorial Stadium.

Getting to California Memorial Stadium

The address for California Memorial Stadium is 2227 Piedmont Ave, Berkeley, CA 94720.

The stadium is located north of Oakland, tucked into the western edge of the University of California campus.

From Downtown Berkeley

California Memorial Stadium is only about 1.5 miles away from downtown Berkeley.

From the center of downtown Berkeley, head south on Martin Luther King Jr Way toward Addison St.

Take a left onto Channing Way, and at the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Piedmont Ave.

From Oakland

The beautiful city of Oakland is only about 9 miles south of the Cal campus. That means you can get from the city to a Bears game rather easily, and hopefully, rather quickly.

Most of the time, the drive from Oakland to California Memorial Stadium shouldn’t take more than 20 or 25 minutes.

To get started, get on I-980 East and take CA-24 East to Broadway.

Then take Exit 6 from CA-24 East. Take Tunnel Road to CA-13 North, and take Warring Street to Piedmont Avenue where you will see the stadium.

From San Francisco

You’ll only need to drive about 35 miles from San Francisco to watch a Golden Bears football game. But, depending on when you leave, that trip can take a while on game day.

Plan accordingly, and be sure to give yourself several hours leeway, especially if you plan to tailgate.

When driving from San Francisco, get on I-80 East from Folsom Street. Continue on I-80 E to Oakland and take Exit 3 from CA-24 East.

Then, continue on Claremont Ave. Drive to Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley, and follow the signs to Cal Memorial Stadium.

From Sacramento

Sacramento is about 79 miles northeast of Cal Memorial Stadium. Fans in Sacramento can travel much of the way via freeway to Berkeley.

First, get on I-80 BUS West. Then take I-80 West and I-680 South to CA-13 North in Oakland.

Take Exit 5B from CA-24 West, and continue on CA-13 North. Then take Piedmont Ave in Berkeley.

Free Shuttle Bus

Starting about 2.5 hours prior to kick-off on game days, the BART (Berkeley Area Rapid Transit) system offers free shuttles to Cal Memorial Stadium.

Stops are available all throughout downtown Berkeley, as well as on campus. There is a 5-10 minute walk to the stadium from drop-off points.

Because of the walking distance required after drop-off, these shuttles might not be convenient for those needing ADA assistance.

Nearest Airports

There are two major airports within 25 miles of Cal Memorial Stadium.

Oakland International Airport is about 10 miles from the Cal Berkeley campus, and San Francisco International Airport is about 25 miles from campus.

These airports are major hubs for most airlines. If you are flying in for a Cal Golden Bears game, you will find many transportation options from the airport, including paid shuttle, taxi, Lyft, Uber, or rental car.

Parking at Cal Memorial Stadium

UC lots

If you have a UC parking permit, you may park in one of the UC permit lots closest to the stadium. You can expect about a 5 minute walk to the stadium from these lots.

Public parking is available in UC lots, or public lots. If you park in a UC lot, it is important to know that a permit is $45 for game day.

Public parking spots are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis at Lower Hearst Structure (Level 2), Genetics Garage, and Lower Sproul Garage.

Non-UC lots

When parking in a non-UC lot, keep in mind that parking rates vary for each lot.

Main off-campus lots used for game day parking include Center Street Garage, Oxford Garage, and Telegraph-Channing Garage.

Parking is also available at select fraternities and sororities along Warring St. and Channing Way.

In addition, fans can park at Berkeley High School on game days. The school is located at 2000 Bancroft Way.

Plan ahead

Expect road closures near the stadium on game days. Plan accordingly, and leave early to increase chances of getting a parking spot.

Regardless of where you park, expect a 5-10 minute walk from your spot to the entrance of the stadium.

For more parking information, call 1-800-GO-BEARS.

ADA accessible parking

Cal offers free golf cart transportation for visitors who need mobility assistance on game day. There are several pick-up points throughout campus:

  • Hearst Greek Theatre (Game day shuttle drop-off)
  • Berkeley Law School (Game day shuttle drop-off)
  • Gate 1
  • Gate 4/International House
  • Gate 6

Each parking lot adjacent to California Memorial Stadium has several ADA parking spots close by, clearly marked. Please ensure your ADA tag or parking sticker is visible from the outside of your vehicle.

An ADA shuttle is available for one hour after the completion of the game.

For more ADA parking information at Cal Memorial Stadium, call 1-800-GO-BEARS.

Tailgating at Cal Memorial Stadium

Tailgating is part of what makes college football so great, and Golden Bear fans can enjoy the fun of tailgating at Cal Memorial Stadium. However, there are still rules that need to be followed.

You can only have tailgate parties in the following locations near the stadium:

  • Maxwell Field
  • Goldman Plaza
  • Stadium East Rim
  • Clark Kerr Parking Lots: Northwest and Southwest Parking lots only

In order to use a grill at your tailgate, you must obtain a permit from the university.

Tailgate Town

Many fans opt to experience Tailgate Town, the official tailgating area for every Cal home football game.

Each season, Tailgate Town is situated on Maxwell Field, which you’ll find northeast of California Memorial Stadium, just a short walk away.

Tailgate Town is open three hours before kick-off for Cal home games. Admission is free, and you won’t need a game ticket to enter this sanctioned area that provides food, drinks, and activities.

The main features of Tailgate Town include a beer garden, concessions, food vendors, games in the Kids Zone, corn hole, and other fun activities. There are also plenty of tables for eating and relaxing.

Alcohol at Cal Memorial Stadium

Beer is sold inside California Memorial Stadium up until 30 minutes prior to the end of regulation. You may also purchase beer in Tailgate Town, and alcohol is allowed in the designated tailgating areas.

No drinking games or devices that deliver alcohol rapidly are permitted anywhere on UC property. You may not have kegs in your tailgate setup.

Food at California Memorial Stadium

The food options at Memorial Stadium give fans plenty of variety with a California flair.

Here are five of the most popular food choices at Cal Golden Bears games:

  1. Peet’s Café: Chicken wrap
  2. Peet’s Café: California wrap
  3. Stadium Concessions: Street Taco or Churros
  4. UC Pub: Burger and fries
  5. Stadium Concessions: Pineapple Sausage Skewer

In addition to these options, there are also stadium classics such as burgers, pizza, nachos, and ice cream located at several concession stands throughout the concourse.

You’ll also find Bud Light, Firestone 805, and even Cupcake Pinot Noir for sale in the stadium.

California Memorial Stadium bag policy

Fans are allowed to bring their own bags into Cal Memorial Stadium. However, they must abide by the stadium’s bag policy.

That policy states that fans can only bring clear bags through the gates, unless separately approved by security personnel.

Bags must be no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ and all bags are subject to search.

Ziploc bags are allowed, but cannot be larger than one gallon. A small clutch bag is permitted, but may be searched.

What does it cost to see a Cal football game at California Memorial Stadium?

According to TicketSmarter, the average cost to see a Cal Golden Bears football game at Cal Memorial Stadium is $88.83. However, tickets can often be purchased at lower prices.

The cheapest options will be in the upper levels, while the more expensive seats are located closer to the stadium. Seats in the upper levels and typically be found for $20.

Here is a quick look at the Four family of four:

  • Tickets: $80 (four $20 tickets)
  • Parking: $45
  • TOTAL: $125

Of course, your total bill will increase if you purchase any food or drink in the stadium during the game.

Cal Golden Bears football tickets are available from the UC Athletic Office, online via the UC Game day app, or at resellers like SeatGeek, Ticketmaster, and StubHub.

The Game

The Game” is the annual Cal vs. Stanford football game. It is the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.

A coveted trophy known as The Axe is awarded to the winner of the Big Game each fall.

Cal has won the two most recent Big Game matchups, but Stanford leads the all-time series 65–49–11.

2023 Cal Golden Bears home football schedule

  • Sep. 9: Auburn
  • Sep. 16: Idaho
  • Sep. 30: Arizona State
  • Oct. 7: Oregon State (Homecoming)
  • Oct. 28: USC
  • Nov. 11: Washington State
Photo by AP Photo/Ben Margot
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Staff Writer for PlayCA with plenty of experience under his belt. Dan has written three books about sports and previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He also has extensive experience covering the launch of sports betting in other states, including Ohio, Massachusetts and Maryland. Currently, Dan is residing in Michigan with his family.

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