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Lawrence Hall of Science

Those without young kids or an odd science obsession may not be familiar with Lawrence Hall of Science. Nestled in the Berkeley Hills, far above Grizzly Peak and past Memorial Stadium and the Botanical Gardens, Lawrence Hall of Science is UC Berkeley's center for preschool-through-high-school science and math education (current exhibit: animal grossology). But it also boasts one of the Bay's best views, the kind of sweeping, heart-stopping vista that makes you wish you'd brought a camera and seriously wonder why anyone would want to live anywhere but the Bay Area, ever. You've got Oakland's glimmering high-rises to your left, El Cerrito and more of Berkeley's eucalyptus-furred hills to your right, the whole blinking city down below, and the silver-blue bay and the Golden Gate Bridge straight ahead. Bring a six-pack and a date and climb atop Pheena (LHS's resident life-size fin whale replica) to get cozy and watch the sunset, or have a picnic dinner and dip your feet into the fountain while taking it all in. And if you can't make it up the hill, there's a 24-hour live video feed and daily time-lapse ( — the best antidote to workday ennui there is.

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