Best Cemetery - 2007
In a city famously (and intentionally) lacking in graveyards, this lovely little "cemetery garden" at the city's oldest landmark is a hands-down winner. The gravestones date to the 1830s, but they don't begin to tell the whole story. There are an estimated 5,000 Ohlone Indians buried on the grounds. And for good reason: They built the place, as slave laborers, when Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Dolores) was established in 1776 as the sixth in the string of 21 California missions. Among the notables buried here (within a garden of native plants from the late-1700s era) is Father Francisco Palou, the mission's designer and biographer of the legendary Father Junipero Serra; Don Luis Antonio Arguello, the first governor of Alta California under Mexican rule, and Don Francisco de Haro, the first mayor of San Francisco. Oh, by the way, Hitchcock fans, the tombstone of Carlotta Valdes that Jimmy Stewart famously visited in the movie Vertigo: It was just a prop. Open, along with the mission itself, from 9 to 4 daily. There's a suggested donation of $3 for adults, $2 for children.