From Ginsberg to Green Day to Whoopi Goldberg, Berkeley’s arts scene, and particularly its performing arts scene, is always changing, but consistently among the country’s most active and diverse. The city has always been populated by a disproportionate number of people waiting to make it big, so you never know what future stars you might see when you catch a play at one of Berkeley’s many venues or check out one of the bands in the thriving music scene.

For local theatre, you can’t beat the Berkeley Repertory Theatre , since 1968 one of the country’s top resident companies. The theatre has drawn a national audience for its staging of both classic and modern pieces, even being the site of significant West Coast and world premieres. In addition to the rep, there are literally dozens of other companies putting on performances all the time in Berkeley, including Last Planet Theatre , the Shotgun Players , and Unconditional Theatre . For more information on all Berkeley and the rest of the Bay Area has to offer, check out Theatre Bay Area .

The most notable name in the Berkeley music scene, meanwhile, is 924 Gilman Street , a West Berkeley institution and a fixture in the city’s punk scene (although the Gilman is advertised drug-, alcohol- and violence-free, and is open to all ages). The club’s stage is where Green Day, AFI and Operation Ivy, among many others, got their starts and still is the place to go to see the area’s top up-and-comers.