Sports & Recreation

  • Readers' Poll

    Best Place to Blade Golden Gate Park Best Urban Hike Twin Peaks Best Suburban Hike Mount Tam Best Place to Skateboard The Embarcadero Best Gym 24 Hour Fitness Best Bike Shop Pedal Revolution Best Outdoors Shop REI Best Place to Walk the Dog Golden Gate Park Best Place to Avoid Dogs Downtown Best Jog The Embarcadero Best Beach Baker Beach… More >>
  • Best 49er

    Julian Peterson

    On a team that's lost its most recognizable offensive players -- quarterback Jeff Garcia, wide receiver Terrell Owens, and running back Garrison Hearst -- the best of the new-look 49ers is linebacker Julian Peterson. A two-time Pro Bowler who has yet to become a household name, Peterson is everything the modern linebacker is supposed to be: intelligent, fast, explosive. With… More >>
  • Best Reason to Be Glad Terrell Owens Is Gone

    Brandon Lloyd

    Of the many, many reasons to be relieved that the 49ers have parted ways with volatile wide receiver Terrell Owens -- who brought us Sharpie distractions, too many dropped passes, and ever-more-infrequent brilliance -- the best just might be Brandon Lloyd, a 6-foot, 184-pound second-year speedster from the University of Illinois. The 49ers took the unheralded Lloyd last year with… More >>
  • Best Warrior

    Brian Cardinal

    He was the last player invited to training camp in the fall, but for stretches of the season, Cardinal was what this year's iteration of the Warriors aspired to be: cagey, unselfish, overachieving. The fourth-year forward from Purdue threw himself at loose balls, boxed out on rebounds, drew fouls in the paint, hit his open jump shots -- all things… More >>
  • Best Rookie

    Bobby Crosby

    In the past three years, the A's have lost more MVPs to free agency than most teams will produce in two decades -- first baseman Jason Giambi jumped to the Yankees in 2002, and shortstop Miguel Tejada is now an Oriole. But this never seems to bother General Manager Billy Beane, ever sure he can just look at a spreadsheet… More >>
  • Best Biplane Rides

    Vintage Aircraft Co.

    Ever wonder what Redford and Streep felt like as they soared above picturesque herds of wildebeests stampeding o'er the veld in Out of Africa? We have no idea. But we do know what it's like to soar above housing tracts, wineries, and rusting tractors in Sonoma County. It's grand! Just strap on an old-timey leather flying helmet, step into the… More >>
  • Best Sailing School

    Tradewinds Sailing Club

    Summer's a month away and the beautiful blue bay beckons. You've always wanted to hop aboard one of those sleek boats packed with all those happy-looking people and scud off to Angel Island for a picnic. Two problems: You have no friggin' idea how to sail, and you don't have a lot of jack to spend learning. One solution: Tradewinds… More >>
  • Best Bike Repairs on the Cheap

    Bike Kitchen

    Maybe it's about gas prices. Maybe it's about love handles. Maybe it's the idea of flying down Market with the wind in your hair. Whatever the excuse, it's time to dust off the Huffy and ride. To get that old horse running, hit the Bike Kitchen, a cooperative repair shop with a full tool set and volunteer mechanics. They won't… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Air Hockey

    Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House

    Yes, it's as weird a combination as it sounds. But what this place lacks in ambience (the bar area is tiny, and the restaurant seating is reminiscent of a mall food court, with bright lights and nondescript tables) it makes up for in arcade fun. Pool tables and video games are available, but the real reason to visit is the… More >>
  • Best Surf Report

    Wise Surfboards

    San Francisco is not a surf town. To confirm this, simply pick up the phone and call Wise Surfboards' surf report, updated every day at 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m. There you'll hear the bored, dejected voice of one of the shop's employees as he describes the surf at Ocean Beach, which is almost always "blown out," "unridable," "lumpy,"… More >>
  • Best Weird Sport Invented in San Francisco

    Ride & Tie

    Ride & Tie is an obscure endurance sport that's part relay race and part horse race, dreamed up as a publicity stunt by a Levi's marketing executive in 1971 (competitors wore cutoff Levi's). A team of two covers a distance of 20 to 100 miles -- one person running, the other on horseback. After a few miles (the distance is… More >>
  • Best Scenic Races

    EnviroSports

    www.envirosports.org Every course in an EnviroSports race is chosen for its scenic qualities. The contests are held on trails in Muir Woods, Tennessee Valley, Big Basin, and various other parks in the Bay Area; most are offered in three distance options -- seven miles, 13 miles (a half-marathon), or a full 26.2-mile marathon. Regardless of which you choose, you'll be… More >>
  • Best Sneering Sports Guy

    Gary Radnich

    When you turn on your local sports radio show, you expect to hear guys like KNBR's Rick Barry spouting wisdom such as "Defense wins championships" and "So-and-so needs to use his off-hand more in the low post." What you don't expect is an aging white guy reciting 50 Cent lyrics or lamenting the drop in programming quality on the BET… More >>
  • Best Outdoors Store

    REI

    Were we the only ones who jumped up and down when REI opened a store in San Francisco? Surely not. Ground zero for all things outdoors -- gear for camping, hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, snowboarding, running (OK, we'll stop now before we hyperventilate) -- REI has finally come to our town after residing for years in Berkeley and San Carlos.… More >>
  • Best Playground

    Julius Kahn Playground

    The pull of the rich over our public realm has downsides. Disproportionate city resources go to yachting and golf. Cops concentrate in tony neighborhoods like the Marina. And, with the election of our Getty-backed mayor, the rich now apparently don't merely pay to elect public officials -- they first nurture them into adulthood. Thankfully, excess produces spillover, including a recent… More >>
  • Best Discount Store for Triathletes

    Sports Basement

    Sports Basement isn't quite what it used to be when it opened six years ago. Back then you could find $90 triathlon suits for $15, $30 running shirts for $5, and other high-tech sportswear for around half what the market would bear. But though the shop has hiked its prices over the years, one thing remains the same: the heady… More >>
  • Best Alternative to Kinky Sex

    Mission Cliffs

    Looking for new thrills that don't require Astroglide? Try climbing huge plastic rock outcroppings! It's a lot like kinky sex -- you wear a cute little harness, stretch unknown muscles, and lose the ability to control bestial facial expressions. You can even talk dirty with all kinds of smutty-sounding climbing terms like "dogging," "slopper," and "smear." All these depraved pleasures… More >>
  • Best Cheapo Ice Skating

    Yerba Buena Ice Skating & Bowling Center

    Skating rinks are magical places. Maybe it's the motion -- that graceful, circular glide. Maybe it's the nostalgia -- that memory of skating hand-in-sweaty-hand with your middle-school sweetheart. Maybe it's the cheesy, upbeat pop hits that blare from the speakers -- the perfect soundtrack for next week's bruises. Welcome to Wednesday nights in Yerba Buena Gardens, which features San Francisco's… More >>
  • Best Secluded Soccer Field

    St. Mary's Recreation Center

    Shh, don't tell everyone, but hidden in a remote corner of the Mission is one of the best public fields for a private get-together. Call 15 or 20 of your best friends for an impromptu game of football (either the American or Euro kind), or play some fast-pitch on the well-groomed baseball diamond. Tucked away behind the main building of… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Sea Bowl Entertainment Center

    Let's face it: We're officially in the age of Astro Bowling, when teeny-boppers flood bowling alleys on Friday and Saturday nights and toss gutter balls amid techno music and black-lit lanes. But even on weekends, the Sea Bowl Entertainment Center in Pacifica is the best tenpin venue around, and it all but overlooks the ocean. Even if the recently renovated… More >>
  • Best Bar for Expats to Watch Their Home Sports Teams

    Kezar Pub & Restaurant

    A friend of ours was in Rio de Janeiro for his birthday last year when he wandered into a bar, glanced at the TV, and saw not the inevitable soccer game, but the San Francisco Giants, live via satellite from what was then Pac Bell Park. Myriad charms of Rio notwithstanding, it was the greatest moment of his entire… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up a Sailor

    Cal Sailing Club's "Open House"

    Sailing, traditionally a diversion of the posh, carries a commensurate price tag at the numerous local academies where the ambitious can transform themselves from nauseous newbies into sea-legged old salts. Just an hour of lessons can run into the hundreds of dollars, and learning to guide a wind-powered boat across the choppy bay is a complex skill that takes time.… More >>
  • Best Crappy-Bike Repair Shop

    Pedal Revolution

    The vast majority of folks who get around town on two-wheeled vehicles don't pedal about on no-name cycles -- instead, they attack the city's hills on precious $1,000 Bianchi racing bikes and titanium Cannondales that cost more than the first car you ever drove. As a consequence, San Francisco's repair shops have developed a rather nasty snobbishness about the machines… More >>
  • Best Collapse

    Six-Way Tie

    Let's see. We have the Giants waddling toward home plate against the Florida Marlins. We have the A's staring at strike three against Boston and blowing a 2-0 series lead in the most painful way possible. We have the Warriors going from young and promising to old and embittered in the span of a year, looking more hopeless with every… More >>
  • Most Candid Athlete

    Tim Brown

    As the Raiders spiraled (comically) out of control last season, scores of Bay Area sports fans and pundits were left scratching their heads, wondering what in the name of Al Davis was going on over there. Lawsuits, injuries, suspensions, BALCO innuendo, open player revolt -- last year's Raiders had it all. And every week, during the drive time on KNBR-FM's… More >>
  • Best 1968 Bike Shop

    Bike Hut

    There was a time in San Francisco, long distant now, when life was communal and good. Shopkeepers were as likely to be out back toking a doobie as tending to their stores. If you needed some help -- bike repair work, say -- a shopkeeper might perform it expertly, then ask nothing more than a cold beer in return. Those… More >>
  • Best Announcer

    Bill King

    The legendary broadcaster is doing only radio these days, but he's still the best in the Bay Area. In fact, radio is the medium that best allows for appreciation of King's dulcet Midwestern tones, dry sense of humor, and trademark shouts of "Holy Toledo!" He might have slowed down a bit since his glory days of Raiders and Warriors telecasts,… More >>
  • Best Walking Tours

    City Guides

    It seems too good to be true, but in the case of City Guides it isn't. The group offers free walking tours of San Francisco -- interesting ones, every single day of the year, with a wide range of themes, neighborhoods, and levels of steepness -- and as a result draws a surprising audience: locals. (On a recent "Gold Rush… More >>
  • Best Rodeo

    Heavy Pedal Cyclecide Bike Rodeo

    "Ask for forgiveness, never ask for permission." "We're such idiots, we don't know how stupid we are." And, drum roll please, "Too dumb to die." If you've ever wondered what it takes to survive as part of a traveling punk rock Frankencycle performance group, one of the answers is: "A lot of mottoes." The gang known as Cyclecide is seven… More >>
  • Best Hike for History Buffs

    Barbary Coast Trail

    This 3.8-mile hike is perfect for those who want to learn something about the city while burning calories. The circuitous route, marked by 150 bronze medallions and arrows set in the sidewalk by the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society, wends its way from downtown through Chinatown and North Beach to Fisherman's Wharf and Aquatic Park, connecting with 20 of… More >>
  • Best Baseball Series

    Grab the cabernet, Giants fans. Don't forget your calculators and 20-sided dice, A's fans. Here are a few can't-miss matchups on both sides of the bay. A's vs. Toronto, June 3-6 Toronto General Manager J.P. Ricciardi was the first of the Billy Beane disciples to take over another team's front office, and he has done so in dramatic fashion,… More >>

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