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People & Places

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best New Politician Ed Lee Best Politician to Vote Out Gavin Newsom Best Place to People Watch Dolores Park Best Neighborhood The Mission Best Place to Take Visitors Golden Gate Park Best Giants World Series Memory The parade Best Person to Follow on Twitter Brian Wilson, S.F. Giants Best Bartender Chupa, DNA Lounge and Bender's Best Drag Queen TIE: Honey Mahogany, Heklina Best Radio Morning Crew Sarah and Vinnie, Alice 97.3 Best Newscaster TIE: Darya Folsom (KRON), Dana King (KPIX) Best… More >>
  • Best New Microhood

    Mint Slope

    You aren't a true San Franciscan until you have referred casually to a microhood, be it FolSOMA (Folsom between Seventh and Eighth streets), SoMisPo (where SOMA, the Mission, and Potrero Hill meet) or, most impressively, Mint Slope. Where to find this diagonal candyland? Follow Market Street south until you notice the Federal Mint towering above, then try to remain calm… More >>
  • Ed Lee

    Best Short Short-Timer Mayor

    Ed Lee

    When longtime city bureaucrat Ed Lee was anointed as mayor, it revealed that power-play politics is alive and well in this city. Lee may yet give his naysayers an opportunity to shriek that he's doing the bidding of the powerful interests who guided him into office. But, in the meantime, he's been a breath of fresh air — because he's… More >>
  • Best Urban Garden

    Dearborn Community Garden

    There's a reason the Dearborn Community Garden in the Mission has a wait list of 18 years (or possibly longer). Since 1991 — when guerrilla gardeners converted a former PepsiCo parking lot into green space — dedicated community gardeners have nurtured the 45 plots like their own children. Depending on the time of year, Dearborn is replete with pumpkins, potatoes,… More >>
  • Kelly Malone

    Best Do-It-Herself

    Kelly Malone

    If you were looking to crown the DIY queen of San Francisco, this would be the easiest royal appointment you ever made, because Kelly Malone makes the shit out of stuff. She's behind the Indie Mart (an underground shopping affair in her backyard that has quadrupled in size over the past three years) and Workshop, a McAllister Street space entirely… More >>
  • The Summit SF

    Best (Free) Office for the Officeless

    The Summit SF - CLOSED

    Never again will we have to drive around San Francisco at 9 p.m., crying and pummeling the steering wheel because there's no damn place to work and get some caffeine. Now we just go straight to the Summit — open until midnight Tuesday through Sunday — and wind up procrastinating in a sea of Mac-owning, card-carrying start-up junkies. Its high… More >>
  • The Statue of Liberty Lady: Denise Jameson

    Best Living Advertisement

    The Statue of Liberty Lady: Denise Jameson

    To Denise Jameson, who dances around on Mission Street dressed up as the Statue of Liberty in a bid to bring attention to the Liberty Tax Service: You are truly an inspiration. In fact, you are hands-down the most beatific human we have encountered in San Francisco, regardless of the fact that you spend your days in March and April… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch a 97,000-Pound Gun Disappear

    Battery Chamberlin

    Before there were smart bombs, there were smart bombardiers. The battery of artillery cannons that protected San Francisco Bay from Civil War days until the end of World War II wasn't guided by lasers or computers but by the Pythagorean theorem, which was used to chart the distance of a floating target — with chalk upon slate. Just one such… More >>
  • Best Ruin in the Midst of a City

    Sutro Baths

    Even in ruins, the Parthenon is one of Athens' most cherished tourist sites. Now, Sutro Baths ain't the Parthenon. And map-wielding, F-Line-clogging tourists don't often turn up in the west of the Athens of the West. Nevertheless, there's something reassuring about the city failing to place zillion-dollar condos on prime property and instead leaving the weathered foundation and aging relics… More >>
  • Best Cantankerous Watchman of Public Funds

    Harvey Rose, Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst

    Imagine a tableful of 11 attractive, free-spending friends. At the end of the meal, naturally, no one can figure out the bill — because they can't do math. An older gentleman with a checkered jacket appears out of nowhere, tabulates the bill, and analyzes whether dinner was worth the price. That's the role Budget and Legislative Analyst Harvey Rose has… More >>
  • San Francisco Cable Car Museum

    Best Museum to Spend Your Lunch Break

    San Francisco Cable Car Museum

    The Louvre, the Met, the British Museum: Put in gastronomic terms, these museums are Roman-sized feasts — without the benefit of a vomitorium. But sometimes you don't want a multicourse banquet. Sometimes you just want lunch. Or, more relevantly, a museum at which to spend your lunch break. Enter the San Francisco Cable Car Museum. If there's a more perfect… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch an Incoming Tsunami (Non-Idiot Version)

    Grand View Park

    In much the same way your hands are inevitably drawn to any surface marked "Wet Paint" — only vastly stupider —news of a possible March tsunami spurred hundreds of San Franciscans to gather at Ocean Beach and wait. This is an inevitably unsatisfying proposition. Either nothing happens — and you're disappointed; or you die — and you're dead. In the… More >>
  • Best Masking-Tape Street Poet

    Elvis Christ

    Elvis Christ's origins are unclear, but his whereabouts are easily fleshed out. Keep your eyes to the ground as you stroll down Grant Avenue in North Beach: The words written in Magic Marker and Sharpie on strips of masking tape — such gems as "Huck Finn was a Humboldt-Bud Puffin Sumbitch" and several dozen more epitaphs, epithets, and epics covering… More >>
  • Best Keepers of Lost Westside Tales

    Western Neighborhoods Project

    From Carville to Playland-at-the-Beach, the savvy San Francisco historians at the Western Neighborhoods Project have documented it all. When Barbary Coasters ruled the alleys and barrooms of the played-out northeast, all of western S.F. was once a giant sand dune, an undiscovered haunt of farmers, recluses, and beach lovers. Learn the location of the surviving 1906 earthquake shacks and private… More >>
  • Best Place to See Naked Men

    Jane Warner Plaza

    Sometime last year, nudists started descending on the very visible parklet at Market and Castro streets, quite the spectacle for the tourists disembarking from the F-Line. On a nice day, expect a rotating cast of a dozen nudists to show up to read, drink coffee, or just shoot the breeze while brazenly feeling the breeze. The men — yes, all… More >>
  • Eric Corbin

    Best World Champion (Non-Baseball)

    Eric Corbin

    The current World Pizza Games Masters Acrobatic champion, 23-year-old Eric Corbin, is a genius of pie-in-the-sky dreaming, an unusual athlete who can send dough soaring to impossible heights in improbable arcs. After Corbin tied for the title in 2010, another champ, Tony Gemignani, hired him to move to San Francisco from Arizona and become the manager of Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza… More >>
  • Best Street Party

    Sunday Streets

    We can all dream of what San Francisco might be like if faucets ran with ice cream and Japanese selvage jeans fell from trees. But there's one alluring fantasy we can actually see in real life: major streets opened up for humans, devoid of cars. On several Sundays in spring, summer, and fall, the city creates large, temporary public spaces… More >>
  • Best Graffiti Writer

    Girafa

    Many in San Francisco are rightly proud of the city's history as a hub for inspired graffiti artists — or graffiti "writers," as the virtuoso vandals prefer to call themselves. In recent years, the culture of guerrilla art has been taking a beating, as San Francisco has waged a costly zero-tolerance campaign against illicit street scribbling. (As of 2009, the… More >>
  • Best Floor

    The Touch

    Suppose you're tired of looking at outmoded typewriters, outdated globes, and outsize kitty-cat phones, but your date is still haggling over a credenza. A few moments of shoe-gazing might be just the trick: The floors here read like a relief map of an alien planet, an abstract modern geological dig unto themselves. Lines and scores and textures have been scratched… More >>
  • Best Musically Inclined Good Citizen

    Walter Paulson

    San Francisco is a city whose government claims to prize ordinary citizens' input and participation. Yet some of that input comes from citizens who are anything but ordinary. The shining star among those who crowd the microphone to comment during various board meetings at City Hall is one such unusual soul: Walter Paulson. Rather than rhapsodizing on the needs of… More >>
  • Private Club on the Cheap

    Rooftop Garden Cafe at SF MOMA

    Too poor to get into the City Club? Too female to join the Bohemian? Eighty dollars a year buys you easy access to SFMOMA's rooftop garden and cafe, one of the city's most private public spaces. On weekends, the sculpture garden is crawling with 4-year-olds, but on a weekday afternoon, the garden is the most serene square footage downtown. Through… More >>
  • Best Office Building Lobby

    Stock Exchange Tower

    Although the Pacific Stock Exchange departed the premises several years ago, its spirit lives on in its namesake building's dark, dramatic, altogether spooky lobby. Designed by Timothy Pflueger in 1930, the foyer's high ceilings, Egyptian-Art Deco ziggurats, Oz-Expressionist ambience, and preponderance of black marble — it's like being inside the Banker's Heart statue in front of the Bank of America… More >>
  • Best Street Name

    Pleasant Street

    Quiet, tucked-away Pleasant Street is within one of the most elegant square blocks in San Francisco, lined by century-old flats and tony Nob Hill apartment buildings, but it didn't get its name from all that encompassing opulence. The street is named after Mary Ellen Pleasant, one of the most remarkable people in San Francisco history. Born in Virginia around 1815… More >>
  • Best Historic Park

    Portsmouth Square

    When the Mexican government asked Swiss surveyor Jean Jacques Vioget to map out a plan for the burgeoning village of Yerba Buena in 1839, he opted for the standard European model of a grid of streets and a central plaza that would overlook the cove a block away. It was the birth of modern-day San Francisco, and in the 170… More >>
  • Best Hacker Hangout

    Noisebridge

    For the ultimate in DIY ethic, you can't beat Noisebridge. This space is a gathering place for hackers and builders of all kinds, including computer hackers and life-hacking urban farmers. You can learn how to solder, join an iPhone developers' meet-up, take vegan cooking classes, play Go, or join a sewing circle. The guiding principle of the space: "Be excellent… More >>
  • Best Way to Keep the Flame Alive

    Love Art Laboratory

    Legendary porn star and performance artist Annie Sprinkle and her life partner, artist and art professor Elizabeth Stephens, have made marriage into a continuous work of art. For the past six years, they have renewed their vows with elaborate themed ceremonies at locations across the world. In 2009 during the Venice Biennale, they staged an ecosexual wedding where they symbolically… More >>
  • Best Palace of Self-Pleasure

    Center for Sex and Culture

    San Francisco's Center for Sex and Culture may be most famous for its annual Masturbate-a-Thon, but it also has an inspiring range of year-round workshops and events, including informational classes about BDSM, writing circles that provide nonjudgmental feedback to erotic writers, and the "Naked Girls Reading" series, which recently featured a Dr. Seuss night. Another characteristic event: Bobby Gordon's one-man… More >>
  • Best Public Art Mindfuck

    Don Quixote statue in Golden Gate Park

    You'll miss it if you're not paying attention, nestled as it is between the rollerblading, swing-dancing hordes of Kennedy Drive and the leafy dignity of the museum campus, but turn at the right moment and there they are: the ingenious gentleman Don Quixote and his trusty squire, Sancho Panza, done up in elaborate finery and kneeling faithfully before a bust… More >>
  • Best Community Art

    Hidden Garden Steps

    By Joe Eskenazi If San Francisco were ever to launch a literal 12-step program, it would have to be set in the Inner Sunset. The hilly realms of one of San Francisco's most neighborhoody neighborhoods are to staircases what the Inland Empire is to meth labs. You can't walk around the block without running into — or up, or down —… More >>
  • Best Private Investigator

    David Fechheimer

    By Peter Jamison Russian oligarchs. Khmer Rouge leaders. Islamic terrorist suspects. Kobe Bryant. What do they have in common, other than some unsavory connotations in polite society? They've all done business with David Fechheimer, the former literature scholar who is perhaps San Francisco's most venerated private investigator. Fechheimer, who speaks softly and has the flowing white hair and luxurious beard of a… More >>

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