Best People-Watching Spot - 2005
Ever noticed how Dolores Park seems to be, hands down, the warmest spot in the city? Aside from the weather, it's an idyllic place -- equipped with six tennis courts, two soccer fields, a stellar downtown backdrop, and a playground that even adults can enjoy. It has also been the neighborhood mecca for cultural and political activities since the 1960s, hosting anti-war rallies, Aztec ceremonial dances, and San Francisco Mime Troupe performances year-round. But the delicious dichotomies of Dolores Park are what make it a spectator's paradise: a grassy knoll dotted with half-naked sunbathers and a sandbox full of screaming kids; a mob of incensed protesters and a cluster of eccentrics drawing attention to the performative aspect of politics; a gaggle of itinerant joint-smokers and the nice old lady walking her poodle (which bears a most interesting resemblance to its owner). Sure, it's not the Power Exchange, but you can stumble across a brilliant cast of characters if you stick around long enough. Grab some coffee at Dolores Park Cafe, plant yourself beneath a palm tree, and enjoy the mayhem or silence.