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Sports & Recreation

  • Readers Poll Winners

    Best Bike Shop Valencia Cyclery Best Bootcamp BootcampSF, Koi Fitness (tie) Best Golf Course TPC Harding Park Best Gym The Bar Method Best Dog Park Duboce Park Best Hike Land's End Best Park Golden Gate Park Best Athlete Buster Posey Best Team San Francisco Giants Best Yoga studio Yoga Tree Best Bike path The Wiggle … More >>
  • Best Way to see the Mission Before it's Annexed to Google

    Scout for Street Art Walking Tour

    Russell Howze describes his tour as a "three hour zigzag through the Mission District." For fans of street art, or anyone curious about the changing city, it's a zigzag worth taking. Howze has been chronicling the stencils, tags, murals and graffiti that decorate San Francisco for 15 years, and is the author of the street art tome Stencil Nation. His… More >>
  • Best Workout Before Drinking

    Climbing the Hill to Get to 15 Romolo

    The fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyle of a San Francsico young professional can leave little time for a good workout. Which means the dark clouds of guilt hang over the after-work round of drinks. Not to worry. An excursion to 15 Romolo ensures a conscience-clear night. The delightfully creaky North Beach watering hole is hard to find and harder to reach. It… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Small Kids on a Bike Ride

    Ocean Beach Promenade

    There are only four reasons to ride a bike on the sidewalk in San Francisco: 1. You're uncomfortable riding a bike in San Francisco; 2. You're drunk; 3. You're a kid; 4. You're chaperoning a kid. The first two reasons aren't good. But the last two aren't bad. And there's no better place, day-in and day-out to pedal along with… More >>
  • Best Warrior

    Stephen Curry

    Ttthhhhrrreeeeeee...rrraaaaaaahhhhh! There is no sound in sports like the Oracle Arena roar when Steph Curry catches fire. It is a perfect marriage of player and city. Each three-point shot turns the crowd up another notch, until it seems the people can go no louder and then there goes another swoosh and it's like God turned on another speaker. Curry became… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Jim Harbaugh

    There is no shortage of coaching talent in the Bay Area. Bruce Bochy won his second championship in three years and Mark Jackson turned a young team with an offensive reputation into a hard-nosed and savvy contender that won hearts on an unexpected playoff run. But this year belonged to Jim Harbaugh, the man with the balls to bench the… More >>
  • Best 49er

    Colin Kaepernick

    Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl less than four months after starting his first professional game. The face of the new breed of NFL quarterbacks, he confounded defenses with his rare mix of physical prowess and mental dexterity. He's as big as the defensive ends trying to tackle him, smarter than the linebackers trying to… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Nonito Donaire

    It was a banner year for Bay Area boxing. Andre Ward beat the bigger Chad Dawson to establish himself as one of the three best fighters in the world. Robert Guerrero won a vicious brawl with Andre Berto to earn a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. And boxing writers named Virgil Hunter the 2012 Trainer of the Year. It was… More >>
  • Best Cheerleader in Uniform

    Kent Bazemore

    Even some of the most dedicated Warriors fans didn't know his name at first. But they did know his face. How could you not? Anyone watching an early season Dubs game saw the man conducting some of the most creative and passionate celebrations ever known to rock an NBA bench. He'd kneel down and shoot into the air three fingers… More >>
  • Best Public Bathrooms

    Lower Great Highway Public Convenience Stations

    They don't build 'em like they used to. Case in point: Nobody is suggesting fine black-and-white tiling, solid stonework and Greek-inspired columns for public bathrooms anymore. Then again, nobody uses "public convenience station" when "restroom" will do. And it's too bad. A trip down to the surf is always better without the need to jump into a wetsuit and paddle… More >>
  • Best Place to (Illicitly) Get High

    SF Art Institute's Roof Deck

    The koi pond and Diego Rivera fresco are all well and good, but the view of the Bay and Coit Tower from the top of SFAI's concrete vista over the Chestnut Street campus's plaza has made this a not-so-secret favorite spot for decades of, um, artistic types to gather and ponder the finer chemicals in life. It's easy to pretend… More >>
  • Best Reason They Call It Telegraph Hill

    Monument to Guglielmo Marconi

    The man who revolutionized communication never knew an iPhone and never saw the Internet. The inventor of wireless now has a quiet corner of Telegraph Hill (named for semaphore as in flag-waving, not wireless), with tidy landscaping and an Art Deco-era monument all to himself. The modest stone bench by artist Attilio Piccirilli may seem inadequate, especially considering the other… More >>
  • Best Group Bike Ride

    San Francisco Bike Party

    Riding your bike in a group setting can be a confounding issue in San Francisco if you are not one to fully embrace spandex and timed laps, nor the political statement that partaking in Critical Mass makes. If you still want to do a group ride but don't have a pack of enthusiastic friends to join you, there is always… More >>
  • Best Place to Watch a Sunset Over the Ocean

    Grand View Park

    Watching the sun set over the ocean is a definite perk of living on the West Coast, and there are dozens of places to take in the sight, including the Ocean Beach promenade and Sutro Heights Park. But for an even more spectacular, panoramic view, a little climb of some stairs brings a big payoff. The aptly-name Grand View Park… More >>
  • Best Way to Learn


    This educational start-up offers peer-to-peer learning through a weekly e-mail list of available classes. Just sign up and select from courses in design, crafts, entrepreneurship, and more. Classes are taught by anyone who has a skill they'd like to share (if you're a master at handstands, perhaps, or paper-crane making, or JavaScript, think of this as your chance to pass… More >>
  • Best Critical Mass Alternative

    SF Bike Party

    Sometimes it's not about the politics – it's about the party. It's about rolling out with a few dozen of your new best friends and enjoying yourself and everyone else, while not blocking traffic or otherwise contributing to the ongoing war between cyclists and motorists. So leave the angst of the fossil-fuel bubble at home, take heed of the theme… More >>
  • Best $10 Bicycles

    San Francisco Yellow Bike Project

    At the end of the day – and at the beginning of the commute hour, and during the grocery shopping time – it's about numbers, as in how many people are out on bicycles. That's why anyone is welcome and free to take their rig to the volunteer-run shop on Division Street – and why anyone with $10 can buy… More >>
  • Best Hill-Free Jogging Route

    The Embarcadero

    San Francisco is a beautiful city with many beautiful jogging routes passing beautiful sights. But sometimes you just wanna ratchet the incline-setting down a notch, because it's hard to appreciate that scenery when you're hunched over in front of a parked car throwing up yesterday's lunch. The Embarcadero offers the beauty — the bridge, the bay, the breeze, the sun… More >>
  • Best Place to Stare at the City's Beauty While Smoking a Joint

    Alamo Square Park

    Once in a while, you just gotta sit back, light up, and savor the city's aesthetic prowess. And it's almost as if God created Alamo Square Park for this specific purpose. From the top of the park's lush, green hill, the city feels satisfyingly intimate. You can plop down on the eastern slope — where it's vibrant, sunny, and dotted… More >>
  • Best Free Sporting Spectacle

    The America's Cup

    Lord knows the America's Cup got 99 problems. But seeing the forthcoming races free of charge ain't one. Sure, you could pay for elite seating in the grandstands, or drop a king's ransom and rent a 12-bedroom manse overlooking Alcatraz and the Golden Gate. But most of us will just pack a lunch, bring our dog, and take in the… More >>
  • Best Giant

    Madison Bumgarner

    There's a superlative young star on the San Francisco Giants. A multitool player who can win a game with his bat, glove, or arm and is the reigning National League MVP. But Buster Posey won in our magazine last year, so we're giving this one to the team's transcendent young starter, Madison Bumgarner. The dominant young lefty shook off a late-season… More >>
  • Best Marathon Sporting Development Battle

    Beach Chalet Soccer Fields

    After five years of wrangling and approval by four city agencies, the state's Coastal Commission finally approved proposed Astroturf fields under 60-foot light towers on the far west of Golden Gate Park. It was a long and odd road; a city document actually argued that the turf-and-lights plan was best because the area had fallen prey to "undesirable uses such… More >>
  • Best Hike to Ruins of an Astronomical Observatory

    Summit of Strawberry Hill, Golden Gate Park

    You won't find strawberries atop Strawberry Hill anymore. Nor will you find the Sweeny Observatory, a grand, castle-like structure erected in 1891. Sepia-toned photos reveal a wondrous, circular structure sprouting atop the hill and reflected in Stow Lake. In fact, the bridges on the north and south of the lake were constructed to provide access to the observatory. Those bridges… More >>
  • Best Convergence of Talent

    By Albert Samaha There is a certain ecstasy only experienced through sports. It is an ecstasy of losing yourself in the present, every sense attuned and aligned to the rush of adrenaline and joy. It is an ecstasy that blooms only under the proper conditions: a lingering anticipation, oscillating between fear and hope, building drama and drawing prayers with much at… More >>
  • Best Value for Flips, Tricks, and Trapeze

    Circus Center

    The last few years have been tough for the S.F. Circus Center. There were leadership changes, a mysterious closure, and a surge in competition from other schools (some run by alumni). But the organization that spawned the Bay Area's flourishing circus scene isn't going away. They're firing back with a value package unmet by the upstart schools. The new unlimited… More >>
  • Best School for Teens, Tweens, and Toddlers


    AcroSports has classes in gymnastics, tumbling, parkour, and circus arts for all ages, but where it really shines is its kids classes. The summer camps begin in June, and teach children as young as 4, with aftercare available for certain age groups. And beyond toddlers, AcroSports is at the cutting edge of another youth-influenced movement in Bay Area circus: urban… More >>
  • Best Stadium Musical Tradition

    "Lights" by Journey playing in the middle of the eighth inning when the Giants are winning and "Don't Stop Believing" when the team is tied or losing.

    It's the middle of the eighth inning at AT&T Park and the Giants are winning. The night is cool, the air is crisp, and crowd is at peace. The guitar strums over the stadium speakers. The video screen pans the Golden Gate Bridge. The patrons lean back in their chairs, let loose a satisfied smile, and reflect. When the lights… More >>

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