Centering on Telegraph Avenue between Piedmont and South Berkeley, Temescal ("sweat house" in the language of the Aztec) is a low-pretension, moneyed-hipster hood with many young families and—gasp—middle-aged folks thrown into of the mix. A critical mass of excellent eateries, from veteran Doña Tomás and favorites Pizzaiola and Aunt Mary's to Bakesale Betty (5098 Telegraph Ave.), where folks line up for the fried-chicken sandwich on the one-item menu, and Doughnut Dolly (482B 49th St.), who fills her fried treats to order, draws folks from around the Bay Area. Old-time dive bars and check-cashing places share space with newer arrivals like crafty, local children's clothing shop Ruby's Garden (5026 Telegraph Ave.) and stalwart East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse (4695 Telegraph Ave.), where you might find a bucket of buttons or 1,000 muffin wrappers for $1 among birdcages, furniture, lunch boxes, and ribbon.
Around the corner, Temescal Alley (49th St.), a tucked-away lane of tiny storefronts, crackles with the creative energy of the craftspeople who have set up shop there. You can make some surprising finds at Crimson Horticultural Rarities and the fresh home-decor shop Bounty and Feast.