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  • Best Place to Walk Your Dog

    Buena Vista Park

    When you want to give Cujo (and yourself) a canine-worthy workout, head for this little bit of Alpine greensward smack in the middle of the Haight. Rising 569 feet above sea level, the park offers a pleasant sense of solitude despite the teeming masses just down the hill. Buena Vista was officially designated a city park in 1870, the same year as Golden Gate Park, but the planting of trees and shrubs in its sandy soil didn't begin in earnest... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Stoned and Walk Your Dog

    Bernal Heights Park

    Roll up a spliff and treat Fido to the majestic vistas of Bernal Heights Park, 39 acres of grassy recreation space where man's best friend can frolic without a leash. Towering over the Mission District, the park is easier to get to than you might think. Just take Folsom south until it hits Bernal Heights Boulevard, where there is ample parking. The paved trail around the bottom of the park is a popular destination for walkers and runners. But the... More >>

  • Best Cheap Overnight Getaway

    West Point Inn

    Mount Tamalpais is glorious this time of year: The slopes are blanketed with wildflowers, the creeks and waterfalls burble and splash from the winter rains, and the crags and meadows and forests smell of warm earth and flora basking in the sunshine. You can luxuriate in the mountain's late-spring resplendence at a top-dollar B&B, or you can go authentically rustic at the West Point Inn, which has been boarding hikers at a minimal stipend for precisely a century. Located just... More >>

  • Best New Ethnic Neighborhood

    Little Saigon Deli

    The heart of the Tenderloin may not be as touristed a locale as espresso-scented North Beach or the alleyways of Chinatown, but since the fall of Saigon three decades ago, this bedraggled neighborhood has been the commercial and cultural center of the city's Vietnamese community. There are 2,000 Vietnamese-American residents, 250 Vietnamese-owned businesses, and several citizens' groups in the district, and its annual Tet (New Year's) celebration is popular indeed. Last September the Board of Supervisors officially designated two blocks... More >>

  • Best Design Firm

    Fuseproject

    Fuseproject is the brainchild of Yves Béhar, a Swiss-born industrial designer whose lengthy résumé of awards could very well render him an Olympian in the field of design. Béhar and his team seek to create objects and product concepts aimed toward the tech-savvy and environmentally-conscious consumer. Whether it's the eco-friendly, cornstarch-based packaging for DEVO underwear (it dissolves with a toss in the wash), or the cell phone designed for Avo (it molds to fit a user's hand), the fuseproject philosophy... More >>

  • Best Clown Matriculation

    San Francisco Circus Center

    There was a time when the San Francisco Circus Center would have been called a "clown college" and would have devoted itself to turning out white-faced jesters bound for three-ring extravaganzas. But that was before the Great Circus Renaissance set into motion by Cirque du Soleil. These days the SFCC offers adult and children's classes in such big-top diversions as stilt-walking, trampoline, tumbling, and aerial arts. The school also runs the intensive yearlong Clown Conservatory, whose Web site is awfully... More >>

  • Best Bar Owners

    Rickshaw Stop

    The bar business isn't an easy one, especially for bars that put on live events. The profit margins are slim, the crowds are fickle, and the noise limits are exacting. It's no wonder that many club owners are so miserable. Not so the proprietors of the Rickshaw Stop. Certainly, it helps that Christopher White and Waldo Williams are new to the game, having opened their Hayes Valley venue in January 2004. So far, the bar has hosted DJ dance parties,... More >>

  • Best Place to Put Up Visiting Hipsters

    Hotel Triton

    If you'd like your visiting hipster friends to stop crashing on your couch, point them to the Triton, a funky boutique hotel off Union Square. For your pals who want to see the wild and crazy side of the city, the best bet is the "So Hip It Hurts" package: For $289 a night, you get accommodations in one of the hotel's celebrity suites plus a $65 tattoo or piercing credit at Mom's Body Shop on Haight Street. The celebrity... More >>

  • Best Bartender

    The Orbit Room

    As Alice Waters is to a bushel of organic produce, the Orbit Room's quirky Alberta Straub is to a shelf of top-notch booze. Part of being a great bartender -- next to a Sam Malone-ish sympathetic ear and some seen-it-all, commonsensical advice -- is, well, knowing your way around a cocktail. "I just like to make people happy," says Straub. And she does. Not only does she use her very own homemade brandied cherries, tarragon- and lemongrass-infused vodkas, old-fashioned glass... More >>

  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Chateau Tivoli

    Bed & breakfasts don't come any more opulent or attractive than this fairy-tale French Renaissance town house in the heart of the city's Alamo Square district. Commissioned by an Oregon shipping magnate in 1892, the Tivoli has an eclectic history since World War I that includes stints as a home for single Jewish girls, a rooming house, and, at the height of the New Age era, the headquarters for sexual healer Jack C. Painter. (The New Age paper Common Ground... More >>

  • Best Indoor Waterfall

    Rincon Center

    For our money, there's no finer commercial lobby anywhere in town than the one in the Rincon Center development, adjacent to the lovingly restored former 1930s Rincon Annex post office, and much of it has to do with the dramatic 150-foot-tall "rain column" dripping recycled water from the skylighted ceiling and generating a soothing roar from the pool in the lobby's center. A great place to stake out one of the many tables shared by a swarm of ethnic eateries... More >>

  • Four Best Places to Chill Out

    Conservatory of Flowers

    What with the manifold opportunities for losing your job and getting evicted and being framed on a murder rap and running out of ice cubes, modern life can be downright traumatic. Sometimes the best solution is to get away from it all, if only for an hour. When the stresses of daily life have taken their toll, consider the soothing options proffered below. Conservatory of Flowers Golden Gate Park, John F. Kennedy Drive near the Stanyan Street entrance, 666-7001,... More >>

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