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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Day Hike

    Round Trip From Stinson Beach to Pantoll Ranger Station, via Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Trails

    If you haven't yet hiked the extraordinary Steep Ravine Trail, you're missing one of the great scenic wonders of the Bay Area -- a lush, fern-shrouded redwood canyon of ravishing beauty. And Steep Ravine is only one of the natural wonders on this stunning seven-mile loop. The hike begins at ocean's edge in Stinson Beach. At the… More >>
  • Best Easy Hike

    Coastal Trail Along Lands End

    There's no dearth of great hikes in and around San Francisco, but many of them are, well, hard. When you're not up for a strenuous hill climb but you still want to get out and walk -- or when you have visitors in town who consider even Market Street too steep -- head to the end of Geary and walk… More >>
  • Best Cross-City Hike

    Like Venice, Manhattan, and other self-contained, aquatically encompassed cities, San Francisco can be hiked from coast to coast in the space of a pleasant afternoon. One especially rewarding itinerary is the multifaceted southern route. Begin your trek with a baptism of Pacific salt spray just below Golden Gate Park, then head along Noriega and up the Grand View Park staircase… More >>
  • Best Food at Pac Bell Park

    Cha-Cha Bowl

    Former Giant Orlando Cepeda's hearty taste of Cuba can be found at a single stand way out in left-center field, a hefty poke from his favored position of first base. The Baby Bull (as he was called when he wore the orange and black in the 1960s) piles on the white rice, black beans, cubes of flavorful jerked chicken, pineapple… More >>
  • Best Hemingway Adventure Without the Dysentery

    Safari West

    For those desiring the Africa of great fiction, where the landscape is rife with wild beasts and pomegranate-hued sunsets but made comfortable with full tea service, fresh linens, and warm beds, this is your safari. For the price of a nice dinner, you can climb onto the rooftop of a dusty but dependable truck driven by a well-informed naturalist, who… More >>
  • Best Way to Make Like Robin Hood

    Archery in Golden Gate Park

    By all rights archery should be a much more popular sport than it is. The game is so simple that a beginner can learn the basics in an hour, yet so challenging that serious athletes take years to master its skills. It's fun, it's relatively inexpensive, and nailing a bull's-eye with bow and arrow is one of the great simple… More >>
  • Best Women's Pickup Basketball Game

    Monday Nights, Eureka Valley Recreation Center

    For women with hoop dreams but limited skill, it's not easy finding a place to play competitive basketball and learn from better players without making total asses of ourselves. That is, unless you know about Monday nights at Eureka Valley, where women of all skill levels meet for a friendly, female-only pickup game. Though attendance can be hit-or-miss, on a… More >>
  • Best Fitness Club for Voyeurs

    Crunch

    You may say going to the gym is not a fashion show. You may say you don't care what you look like, or what you wear, that you hardly notice the other people sweating and grunting around you. Oh, yes, you may say that, but the folks at Crunch know better. Crunch, a fitness chain in seven cities around the… More >>
  • Best Bike Ride

    Marin Headlands Loop

    With their careening, rocky shoreline, rolling coastal hills, and bountiful wildlife, the Marin Headlands are about as perfect a place as you'll find for an in-town vacation. Oddly, except for surfers and cyclists, the Headlands are all but ignored by locals. As the season of long summer evenings nears, the two-hour ride to Point Bonita and back makes for a… More >>
  • Best Bike Trail

    American River Trail, Old Town Sacramento

    Yes, it's worth the drive. This beautiful, 32-mile-long trail follows the American River through forests and fields from downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake. The hills are minimal, so your calves will thank you. Park near Old Town Sacramento and hop on the trail just beyond the train depot. The new asphalt path makes for a smooth and speedy ride, so… More >>
  • Best Ski Run

    Heavenly

    Heavenly may be the most crowded of Tahoe ski resorts, but fewer people bother to make the trek to the other side of the mountain -- the Nevada side -- where the views are more breathtaking and the powder more likely untouched. From here, you can take in the majestic blue Lake Tahoe and the snow-capped mountains that surround it.… More >>
  • Best Place to Go Fly a Kite

    Crissy Field

    The one thing you need when you're attempting to fly a kite is a good brisk breeze, something San Francisco has in abundance. This is especially true along its northwestern waterfront, where bay empties into ocean and the accompanying atmospheric currents are absolutely invigorating. When Crissy Field became the country's newest National Park last spring, six or seven hundred zillion… More >>
  • Best Stargazing Source

    San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers

    You're strolling along the thoroughfare on a mild summer's evening, wondering if that celestial body just above the Audiffred Building is Jupiter or a particularly sluggish UFO, when you notice a phalanx of people gathered around a large object on the next street corner. Chances are the object is a powerful portable telescope and the guy discussing Io, Europa, Ganymede,… More >>
  • Best Walking Tour

    City Guides

    Why settle for just one educational promenade around this history-packed, pedestrian-friendly city when you can choose from dozens? City Guides offers free walking tours on every sort of subject: Pacific Heights mansions and Alamo Square Victorians; the murals of Coit Tower and the Mission District; a meander through the Palace Hotel, the Haight-Ashbury, or across the Golden Gate Bridge; a… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    Nitro Nationals Drag Boat Festival

    There's a place where nitro fuel drifts over the water like an illicit rumor, where rocket ships the size of fire engines skip across the waves so fast you'd think they were heading back to Mars, where the very earth seems to crackle with supercharged engines. This is the Nitro Nationals Drag Boat Festival, and it's a 3-1/2-hour drive north… More >>
  • Best Place to Chalk Your Cue Stick

    Hollywood Billiards

    Ah, the sea of green felt, the heady aroma of a freshly chalked cue stick, the gentle click and plunk of a game of eight ball in progress. The first thing you notice after you pass beneath Hollywood Billiards' vintage neon sign, push your way through its heavy metal doors, and head up its thickly carpeted staircase is how huge… More >>
  • Best Place to Strum Your Ukulele

    Stow Lake

    Nothing could be finer than relaxing in the bow of a rowboat on a sunny summer's afternoon, strumming "Everyone Says "I Love You'" (or another equally evocative ditty) while some poor sucker works the oars. Golden Gate Park's Stow Lake is the perfect setting for such an interlude. The surroundings are nothing less than tranquil: Strawberry Hill island rising 428… More >>
  • Best Bowling for People With Bad Backs

    HyperBowl

    Swinging a 14-pound ball backward and forward before flinging it toward 10 pins is hardly ergonomically correct, which is why those who want the old-fashioned thrill of bowling without the backache should turn to HyperBowl. At the Metreon's cyberbowling station there's no donning stinky old bowling shoes or cramming fingers into holes many have fingered before. You simply push a… More >>
  • Best Gym Workout

    Gorilla Sports Alhambra

    Let's face it, at most gyms your 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer will be spent gazing at a CNN telecast, or more likely, just zoning out to the minutes displayed on the machine until your workout is over. But there's a better way: Imagine passing the time doing cardio while watching the original Star Wars on a 13-by-18-foot movie… More >>
  • Best Way to Rediscover the City

    The Go Game

    Think you know San Francisco? Well, the folks at the Go Game think there's a side to our beloved city you haven't discovered yet -- and they've devised an urban adventure game to prove it. Described as a "scavenger hunt meets Mission: Impossible," the Go Game leads teams of players to well-known and obscure parts of the city, where they… More >>
  • Best Lovable Loser

    Garry St. Jean

    General Manager,

    Golden State Warriors

    The man they call "Saint" doesn't figure to be living in the Bay Area much longer. We'd be remiss not to sing the praises of the person most responsible for building the team that the sports Web site CNNSI recently rated a notch below the University of Maryland Terrapins in its NBA power rankings. St. Jean's particular genius for losing… More >>
  • Best Place to Impersonate a Budweiser Commercial

    Shannon's Sports Bar

    You know you're in a New York bar when the jukebox offers Springsteen and Sinatra and nobody thinks it's strange. Shannon's -- where the big screens are reserved for the Yanks, Mets, Jets, and Giants -- is a place where everybody knows your name and has the same question: "How you doin'?" … More >>
  • Best Local Cult

    The Oakland Raider Nation

    It's well past cliché to liken Oakland Raiders games to "a Marilyn Manson concert on Halloween," but the reason people keep doing it is because, well, it's true. Raiders fans are the Bay Area's largest-enrollment cult. They paint their faces, pour beers on opposing fans, and don spikes and T-shirts featuring grown men doing unspeakable things to Broncos. And those… More >>
  • Best Sailing Instruction

    Modern Sailing Academy

    It's a simple equation: wind + big body of water = good sailing. But what's the point of living near a spectacular bay for sailing if you can only watch from shore? The best place to learn the sport is the Modern Sailing Academy of Sausalito. MSA puts students on fairly large boats (28 to 45 feet) with experienced teachers,… More >>
  • Best Soccer Shop

    Sunset Soccer Supply

    The first soccer specialty store in the city is still the best. For 22 years, the family-owned Sunset Soccer Supply has furnished local teams and players with shoes, balls, uniforms, bags, pins, videos, and every bit of related paraphernalia imaginable. Neighbors like to drop in to watch games on the televisions hanging from the ceiling; women players like the broad… More >>
  • Weirdest Bowling Experience

    Astro Bowl at Sea Bowl

    For those who mourned the loss of Japantown's glow-in-the-dark bowling experience, Sea Bowl offers happy compensation. Every Wednesday and Friday night, Astro Bowl takes over the lanes, shining black light on the neon-colored balls, pumping hip hop and funk over the sound system, and showing videos on a huge-screen TV at the back wall. Though the crowd is… More >>
  • Best Gym Deal

    S.F. Recreation and Park Department Municipal Swimming Pools

    There's a familiar pattern that emerges this time of year: Urban flabster joins a gym to get in shape for summer and gets stuck with a one- to two-year membership contract. Said flabster goes to the gym, finds it sweaty and populated by fit, trim exercise buffs. Flabster has increasingly difficult time mustering inspiration for repeat visits and eventually stops… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Yerba Buena Bowling Center

    San Francisco is weird about bowling. The late, lamented Japantown Bowl had to jazz things up with its kegling-by-black-light "cyberbowl" experience, Pacifica's Sea Bowl features a karaoke night, and all too many local alleys are crammed with hipsters in expensive vintage shirts congratulating themselves on their well-cultivated sense of irony ("We're bowling, Kyle! We're really bowling, like dumb Midwesterners!"). Yeah,… More >>
  • Best Giant

    J.T. Snow

    Though it's tempting to pick Barry Bonds as our best Giant, and he is certainly deserving, we can't. We're suckers for drama, and with Barry there just isn't any. He's found his groove and he's working it to maximum effect. Fun to watch, but drama? Nah. We relish the nail-biting, gut-wrenching scenarios, where there is a real chance of disappointment… More >>
  • Best Giants Trade

    Shawn Estes for Tsuyoshi Shinjo

    We're not sold on Shinjo the way our hype-mongering local dailies seem to be -- we'll wait and see if he's the miracle worker everybody says he is. But we know we're glad that Shawn Estes isn't around anymore. Not that we hated the guy or anything; by all reports he seemed nice enough, and we loved to watch him… More >>
  • Best Local College Basketball Player You've Never Heard Of

    Darrell Tucker

    Forward, University of San Francisco Dons

    He doesn't go to Stanford or Cal, and he's never thrilled the nation in the NCAA tournament, but junior Darrell Tucker is the real deal: a versatile power forward who can post up, shoot the long- and medium-range jumper, block shots, and rebound. This season the 6-foot-9 graduate of Oakland's McClymonds High tied for third in the nation with 17… More >>
  • Best Place to Sweat While Doing Business

    Sportsclub/LA San Francisco

    At the newest offshoot of the wildly popular fitness center out of L.A., the most powerful leaders in business and entertainment can be found sweating it out side by side at one of more than 40 fitness options in 100,000 square feet of space. This is the hottest place to not only get in shape, but advance your career, meet… More >>
  • Sports & Recreation Readers' Poll

    Best BeachBaker Beach Best Neighborhood Park Dolores Park Best Place to Walk the Dog Ocean Beach Best Outdoor Workout Spot Golden Gate Best Gym 24 Hour Fitness Best Pool YMCA Best Hike Mount Tamalpais Best Jog National AIDS Marathon Training Program Best Picnic Spot Golden Gate Park Best Sports Rental Skates on Haight Best Bike Ride Golden Gate Bridge Best Bike Shop Valencia Cyclery Best Bowling Alley Presidio Best Giant Barry Bonds Best Niner… More >>

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