People & Places

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best App WillCall Best Bathroom Graffiti Madrone Art Bar Best Change Since 2013 Bike Lane Changes Best City View from a Restaurant (tie) Top of the Mark and Slanted Door Best Drag Queen Peaches Christ Best Producers Mac Walker Best Hill Bernal Hill Best Hook-Up Spot Bernal Hill Best Local Legend Bushman Best Movie Theater The Castro Theatre Best Neighborhood Mission District Best People-Watching Dolores Park Best Person to Follow on Twitter Karl the Fog Best Place to Hear Random Screaming at 3 a.m. Tenderloin Best… More >>
  • Best Highbrow Addition to Mid-Market

    The Strand

    From vaudeville theater, to grindhouse, to den of vice, to boarded-up homeless squat, The Strand has come to emblematize change on San Francisco's main retail artery. And now it's transforming anew under the auspice of American Conservatory Theatre, whose artistic director, Carey Perloff, hopes to give the up-and-coming mid-Market arts district a bit of mooring. Slated to open in 2015,… More >>
  • Best Lowbrow Addition to Mid-Market

    McDonald's

    This city's politicians haven't just served as cheerleaders for the tech beachhead transforming mid-Market, they've provided covering artillery fire in the form of lucrative tax breaks. There is one business, however, local leaders have striven to keep out, even though it easily does something many of the city's tech darlings cannot do — turn a profit. That business is McDonald's,… More >>
  • Best BART Performance Art

    Rat on BART Escalator

    There is so much free entertainment to be had on BART that we'd never judge you for riding it around on Friday night just for the show. Among the many delights we see while on BART: talented turf-dancers, morbidly obese pigeons pigging out, naked acrobats, passengers humping BART seats, passengers humping each other in BART seats, and commuters stun-gunning each… More >>
  • Best High-Tech Wingman

    Mistletoe Drone

    We've spent the last few years dodging drones, fearing the unmanned planes are nothing more than another way for the government to screw us out of privacy. But now that these flying weirdos will deliver pizza to our door, we're totally on board. Drones became all the more appealing after we witnessed their wingman abilities over Christmas time, when an… More >>
  • Best Reason to Take the Ferry

    BART Strike

    If BART commuters learned anything in 2013, it was that their ride to work didn't have to smell like shit. And they have unyielding unions to thank for that. The multiple BART strikes that plagued the Bay Area forced commuters to experience something other than total misery on their way into the office. Until then, most of us had written… More >>
  • Best Cross-Section of San Francisco Life

    The 14-Mission Bus

    You start at Daly City and you end at the Ferry Building. The 29 runs longer — it'll take you from the Presidio to Candlestick Park, and not in a straight line — but no bus line offers up a rich smorgasbord of San Franciscans to compare with the 14. It's a rare hour of the day you won't find… More >>
  • Best Junk Mail Offer

    Lisa Is A Slut McIntire

    Junk mail is annoying, but it's never malicious. Unless of course you're Lisa McIntire, a San Francisco writer who received a credit card offer from Bank of America addressed to "Lisa Is A Slut McIntire." The story went viral, yet no reporter ever got down to the bottom of how that profanity managed to slip past a mega-financial institution. Nor… More >>
  • Best R-Rated Scene on BART

    The Naked Acrobat

    If San Francisco were ever to get into the business of directing seedy low-budget films, Yeiner Perez, aka BART's naked acrobat, would be a hometown star. Hell, he already is. Perez's improv performance at the 16th Street BART station, which included dropping trou and breaking into a series of acrobatics in between accosting commuters, captivated a virtual audience — and… More >>
  • Best Place for Drivers to Piss off Homeowners

    Bernal Heights

    It's a bitch to park pretty much anywhere in San Francisco, we know this. But no neighborhood has created more of a parking fracas than Bernal Heights, where you're more likely to find a mean note on your windshield than a parking ticket. The neighborhood conflict has peaked to the point that only high doses of Xanax and Prozac could… More >>
  • Best Modern-Day Definition of "Working On a Boat"

    Google Ferry

    Until this year, the phrase "working on a boat" only evoked images of blue-collared folks — you know, like longshoresmen and skippers. But Google changed all that in 2013 when it launched its private Google ferry, making it possible for tech bros to program away while traveling to and from Silicon Valley by boat. So the answer to your question… More >>
  • Twerking Trio

    Best Spontaneous Dance Performance

    Twerking Trio

    Obviously, you see a ton of spontaneous shit around San Francisco, even if you're only here for the day. But there was no better spontaneity this year than the twerking trio who amused, confused, and/or annoyed all of San Francisco with their sexually suggestive booty bounce across town. In Chinatown, BART, and even the grocery store, these gals would just… More >>
  • Best Machine Shop

    TechShop

    Few things seem more quintessentially San Francisco than a tech-savvy "maker" who treats a 3D printer as his spinning jenny, or a welder who turns digital prototypes into objects. Both abound at the TechShop, a SOMA industrial building that serves as this city's analogue to the old-fashioned textile mill. Heavy machinery rumbles on the ground floor, while 3D printers squirt… More >>
  • Best Hackathon

    Science Hack Day at California Academy of Sciences

    San Francisco certainly doesn't suffer from a dearth of Hackathons; in the past year alone, we've cloistered programmers overnight and instructed them to make apps to fight homelessness, promote a sustainable meat system, and even bridge hostilities along the Gaza Strip. The most productive of these is Science Hack Day, an annual event that draws bio-engineers, astrophysicists, space enthusiasts, 3D-print… More >>
  • Best Co-Working Space

    Impact Hub

    Real estate deals seem to happen with all the ease of money being passed across a Monopoly board in this city. And even then, there's not enough office space to house everyone who wants a downtown office: People still run start-ups out of apartment buildings, or work exclusively in crowded cafes. The best anodyne to this problem is shared workspace,… More >>
  • Best Hacker Hostel

    20Mission

    At a time when well-heeled tech executives are converting mansions into communes, their younger counterparts are glomming onto the same cooperative ideals — albeit in a slightly less opulent form. Even as high-priced, communal citadels sprout up in Alamo Square, funkier co-living spaces are appearing in the Mission, featuring dorm-style rooms, roof decks, and extremely limited street parking. The best… More >>
  • Best Bitcoin Evangelist

    Brewster Kahle

    Fortune seems to turn overnight for Bitcoin, the once-promising digital currency that ballooned in January, plummeted in March, and still retained a stalwart following in San Francisco. Through it all, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle never lost faith. He still accepts Bitcoin payments for the Archive's affordable housing complex, still pays some of his employees in digital tender, and still… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Arrested

    Glen Park Library

    It's only fitting that a city awash in tech would produce the nerdiest criminals, which might explain why the city's most dramatic crime bust of 2013 took place in the temperate confines of a library. Ross Ulbricht — the alleged Dread Pirate Roberts who operated a famous black market Internet site called Silk Road — was nabbed while pecking at… More >>
  • Best Up-and-Coming Political Kvetch

    Jon Golinger

    North Beach activist Jon Golinger was too clever by half when he finagled his way into writing the "opposing view" to the waterfront height limit measure he championed. This was bad PR for the slow-growth development critics enjoying a resurgence in this city. Other than that, however, the diminutive political giant-killer has had a hell of a run. He helped… More >>
  • Best Surefire Political Cause

    Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill by Mark Leno and George Gascon

    Supervisor David Chiu might be courting the roller disco vote as he jockeys for state Assembly, but District Attorney George Gascon and Sen. Mark Leno have found an even more appealing cause célèbre for a city beset by gadget theft. Their new kill-switch bill, which cleared its first Senate committee hearing in April, will require all manufacturers to bake anti-theft… More >>
  • Best Simmering Political Slugfest

    David vs. David in the Assembly Race

    San Francisco's political spectrum is famously wafer thin; the rancorous distinction between pro-business moderates and huarache-shod progressives vanishes upon reaching Sacramento, where legislators from elsewhere in the state unashamedly eat meat and wear cowboy hats in their official photos. Even by San Francisco's impressively parochial standards, however, this is getting ridiculous: Voters this year have a choice for Assembly candidate… More >>
  • The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge

    Best Bridge No One Will Ever Call By Its Proper Name

    The Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge

    Granted, we're short a few orgies and beheadings. But there was a certain Caligula-like liberation in not even bothering to obscure overt political unseemliness when the Legislature obediently renamed a perfectly good bridge after Willie "Ayatollah of the Assembly" Brown. There are any number of reasons why this move contravened the Legislature's own rules — Brown lives, breathes, and writes… More >>
  • Best User of Cartoons as Metaphor for Changing Times

    Sirron Norris

    It's often said that to understand society, look at its artists. To get an idea of how much this once-quirky city has grown up, look no further than Sirron Norris. The muralist who created the "cartoon literalism" genre once addressed issues of gentrification with paintings like Victorion: El Defensor de la Mission. These days he has his own studio, and… More >>
  • Chad Brey

    Best North American Tree-Climbing Champion

    Chad Brey

    San Francisco is a city with no shortage of champions; Tim Lincecum has two World Series rings to his name and may soon be an honoree for "Best Preteen Please Sell Me Beer 'Stache" at the Beard and Mustache Internationals. But, a lesser-known champ walks among us. Actually, he's probably overhead. Arborist Chad Brey — whose voicemail message accurately posits… More >>
  • Best Inventor

    Ralf Hotchkiss

    Ralf Hotchkiss is an engineering professor at SF State and the founder of Whirlwind Wheelchairs International, an organization that has been designing wheelchairs for use and manufacture in developing countries for more than 35 years. They are made to be durable and cheap for people in urban and rural settings alike. The organization's mission is to make it possible for… More >>
  • Best Approachable Local Celebrity

    Tom Sweeney

    What started off as a summer job ended up becoming the career of a lifetime for Tom Sweeney, who has been lead doorman at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel for more than 35 years. Clad in his distinctive red British Beefeater uniform, Sweeney is one of those instantly recognizable faces in S.F.'s ebb and flow of residents and tourists, and… More >>
  • Best Cheap Valentine Date Endup

    Grandview Park

    Chocolate hearts cost money. Steak dinners cost money. Living in San Francisco costs lots of money. So you might as well enjoy the view. And if chocolate and steak and other Valentine's Day necessities have led to sweetheart letters from the debt collectors, you could do worse than squiring your date to Grandview Park. The hill, visible throughout the Sunset,… More >>
  • Best Ghost of Railroads Past

    Juri Commons

    The future of parks and recreation in San Francisco is being built in Dolores Park, but a glimpse of the past can be found a mere mile to the south: Juri Commons, a tiny, blink-and-you'll-miss-it strip that cuts a narrow diagonal for a single block between Guerrero and San Jose. Twenty-five feet wide and 120 feet long, this mellow community… More >>
  • Best Outdoor View of the City

    Ina Coolbrith Park

    Twin Peaks may be the go-to spot for a seat with a view, but it's not the only one in town. Instead, try Russian Hill and, more specifically, Ina Coolbrith Park. Built into the side of the steep hill, the park may not offer much in square acreage, but it more that holds its own against the bigger parks in… More >>
  • Best Indoor View of the City

    The View, top of the Marriott Marquis

    Let's be real. As much as we pride ourselves on being in tune with nature and watching the sunset from a beautiful spot, we secretly love being indoors, because it means we're out of the wind and fog. For an astonishing view that will make you revel in sheer visual overload, visit the top floor of the Marriott Marquis and… More >>
  • Most Underrated Historical Spot

    The Philo T. Farnsworth Plaque

    While the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica building make an appearance in every S.F.-based television show, there's one historical spot that will probably never be featured on the small screen. Which is more than a little ironic considering its subject matter: This small plaque at the base of Telegraph Hill marks the spot where modern television was created. Yes,… More >>
  • Best Modern Church Architecture

    The Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption

    Leave it to the Catholics to take faith to fringes in ways that may not be so bad. The construction of St. Mary's was part of a larger movement to revitalize the structure and order of the Roman Catholic Church in the late '60s. Revitalizing a 2,000-year-old religion meant changing and modernizing ways of expressing faith in practices, and that… More >>
  • Best Traditional Church Architecture

    Mission San Francisco de Asis

    Although Dolores Park may be the site for those wishing to indulge in human banality, next door to S.F.'s favorite gathering place is the city's oldest building and best example of early and traditional religious architecture. Founded in 1776, Mission Dolores, as it is affectionately called, was the center for Spanish monks during their colonization of the California coast for… More >>
  • Best Victorian Houses to Take Pictures in Front Of

    The McElroy Octagon House & The Feusier Octagon House

    The Painted Ladies are such a cliché. For a truly unique Victorian facade that will get people commenting, try these eight-walled beauties. The distinctive powder-blue McElroy home was built in 1861 by architect William C. McElroy and the sunshine-yellow Feusier Octagon home by book agent George Kenny in 1857, during a time when the nation worried about how the shapes… More >>
  • Sutro Baths

    Best Ruin

    Sutro Baths

    Guess what? San Francisco is changing. The city of today looks and feels less and less like the iterations of yesteryear. If Star Trek: Into Darkness has it right, tomorrow's version will resemble a bright, cheery Blade Runner, but with cable cars and a bionic Benedict Cumberbatch disturbing the peace. In the midst of tomorrow's world today, however, it's reassuring… More >>
  • Best Place To Watch The City Gentrify Before Your Eyes

    Starr King Open Space

    "Slums with bay windows," Tom Wolfe called our collection of bright-colored boxes stuck on the hillsides. They might have been made of ticky-tacky, but nowadays our real estate is coveted the world over and commands dump-trucks full of solid gold. Ponder the meaning of this modern-day woodframe Cibola from this undeveloped and unchanged perch near a working-class San Franciscans' school.… More >>
  • Best San Francisco Instagram Feeds

    By Juan de Anda Instagramming every moment has become a way of life for many San Franciscans, and we're not alone. With more than 150 million active users worldwide, there have already been 16 billion photos and videos shared through the social media platform. Although the scale may be impressive, we do lament that not all that content out there… More >>
  • Best Enduring Metaphor for S.F.: the Gold Rush

    By Benjamin Wachs San Franciscans like the idea that history repeats itself about as much as we like the idea that Republicans win elections. We're not only against it in theory, we're trying to stop it in practice. Our cadre of activists thinks of themselves as solving historic injustices. All we have to do is get people to open their eyes to… More >>
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