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  • Best Chance to Sleep with Buster Posey

    AT&T Park (Giants' Ballpark)

    The reigning Rookie of the Year is a married man, as the ladies in the crowd are well aware, and we would never, ever endorse or condone any behavior beyond winking and waving from the lower boxes. Anyway, it's about time you learned to share your, ahem, admiration with all those innocent younger fans who idolize the Giants' hunky, down-to-earth catcher. So you're welcome to join the family-oriented crowd at the Giants' ninth annual Slumber Party, following the Aug. 10... More >>

  • Best Giant

    AT&T Park (Giants' Ballpark)

    He is not a Freak. He has no beard to fear. But here's something else Matt Cain doesn't have: an earned run average in the postseason. The stalwart right-hander — one of the team's youngest players, yet the longest-serving Giant — hurled 21 1/3 innings in the playoffs en route to the World Series title and was touched for nary a run. For a man who has spent much of his career in Tim Lincecum's lanky yet massive shadow, it... More >>

  • Best 49er

    Candlestick Park

    Being a football punter is a paradoxical position. The less you do, the better things are for your team. In fact, the punter's appearance on the field only indicates the team's incompetence. So, considering the last few 49ers' seasons have been unmitigated failures, it's nice to know that the man whose job it is to make up for said failures has been a smashing success. Hardly anyone has punted as much as Andy Lee over the past half a dozen... More >>

  • Best New Professional Sports Coach

    Candlestick Park

    During the disappointing 2010 season, San Francisco 49ers fans had a cross to bear in the form of erratic head coach Mike Singletary, known for sporting his own wooden cross, prominently dangled around his neck. Countless flubs wrecked the Niners' once-promising prospects for a berth in the playoffs, but the buck stopped with Singletary, who — despite his deserved renown for his years as a Chicago Bears linebacker — couldn't seem to set the team on a winning course. Candlestick... More >>

  • Best Pool Hall

    Billiard Palacade

    If crossing Cesar Chavez is going south of the border, this Excelsior hangout would be exotic enough for the laptop-music crowd. Grooving to corridos music between shots, you'll find there's no better place in San Francisco than this converted former theater to get some old-school pool hustle on — and you'll need it. Fourteen pool tables and four billiards tables mean there's always space for an amateur game, but there are always a few lurking sharks. The family-run enterprise serves... More >>

  • Best Table Tennis Emporium

    AMDT Table Tennis Club

    To help you become a top-notch table tennis player, this North Beach spot has all the tools, imported straight from China where, for once, they were never outsourced in the first place. AMD's arsenal is fit even for top-spinning misanthropes — who needs a partner when you serve and volley with one of the sophisticated table tennis robots, of which AMD is the exclusive American importer? Once the machines are conquered, move onto serving up aces to flesh and blood... More >>

  • Best Freaky Cold War–Inspired Hike

    Presidio of San Francisco

    Peace and love weren't always the watchwords in San Francisco; before the Summer of Love came the specter of nuclear holocaust. Before that it was invasion by ship, and through it all, folks on the western side of town got front-row seats. Where once were coastal batteries — huge cannons meant to ward off ships from attacking the city — the military placed missiles meant to shoot down Soviet bombers. The missiles are gone now, but what's left is the... More >>

  • Best Hike

    Glen Canyon Park

    To find San Francisco at its most natural, head to the source of Islais Creek. You can find it — a trickle of a stream in deeply wooded wildland, 60 acres of what the city's eastern side was like before people. One of the Bay Area's last remaining freshwater creeks sustains wild berries, native chaparral, coyote brush, and wildflowers, while at the end of one of the narrow trails is a hidden rope swing. Towering natural rock formations on either... More >>

  • Best Bootcamp

    Basic Training

    If you walk by AT&T Park on certain days, you may spot a group of athletes who aren't professional baseball players, but boot-campers with Basic Training, a local outdoor fitness club run by S.F. local Jennifer Pattee. She kicks the trainees' butts up and down the bleachers, then runs them all over Mission Bay. Sometimes they're carrying giant medicine balls and look like they're on the verge of tears. They do this in various locations around the city: the Exploratorium,... More >>

  • Best Bike Ride

    Samuel P. Taylor State Park

    This works best during the summer months: Get off work early Friday — 3 p.m. or so. Attach panniers or a BOB trailer and pack with food, sleeping bag, tent, and other camping gear. Ride your bike across Golden Gate Bridge, through Fairfax, and along St. Francis Drake Boulevard and a footpath/bike trail that borders Papermill Creek into a redwood grove that is the home of the Samuel P. Taylor State Park campground. Unfold your tent. Wake up Saturday in... More >>

  • Best Day Trip

    Red Bluff Rodeo Round-Up

    Sure, Daly City is home to the Grand National Rodeo Horse & Livestock Show. But to get a real flavor of how Northern California is authentic rodeo country, it's worthwhile to get out of town for a day. A good option is the Red Bluff Round-Up, held every spring in the capital of Tehama County, a three-hour drive north on Interstate 5. Red Bluff is a legitimate cow town year-round, with jacked-up pickups and plate-sized belt buckles as common as... More >>

  • Best Run

    Mount Sutro Open Space Preserve

    Believe it or not, you can spend hours in San Francisco running through what seem like isolated forests without getting near Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, or McLaren Park. The Mount Sutro Open Space Preserve is eucalyptus-covered state-owned land nestled behind the University of San Francisco. For the past few years, the volunteer Mount Sutro Stewards have been performing God's work restoring century-old trails traversing the forested knoll, making it possible to imagine you're perusing a national park despite being... More >>

  • Best Word-of-Mouth Athletic Event

    DFL Outlaw Cyclocross

    Frustration of one sort or another always seems to accompany cyclocross, a bike-riding amalgam of roller derby, steeplechase, and mud wrestling. That, and sagging garter belts, tighty-whities that never seem to set straight, and flowing feather boas that somehow keep making a dive for your drive train. Welcome to the 10th annual Urban Outlaw Cross Dress Cyclocross series. Its promoters, members of the local Dead Fucking Last bike club, take the century-old former fringe sport to the fringes of fashion... More >>

  • Best Fishing

    The Lovely Martha

    So you have no boat, no friends with boats, and no fishing gear, and lately you've been throwing tantrums. Stop it! Realize that all your fishing needs can be met for a mere $100 (well, for one day, anyway). The Lovely Martha, a sportfishing craft built in 1959, will scoop you up at Fisherman's Wharf at 6 a.m., provide you with gear, permits, company, and fishing know-how, and drop you and your scaly dinner back on land in the afternoon.... More >>

  • Best Park

    Crocker Amazon Park

    The best dang dog park and playground in S.F. is at Crocker Amazon in the southeastern part of the city. Recent renovations have upgraded playground swings as well as the expansive green soccer fields, where neighborhood children gather and play every weekend. At Crocker you'll also find basketball courts, tennis courts, table tennis, a recreation center, and a dog-friendly walking trail. Take your pup out past the duck pond for a spectacular view of the city.... More >>

  • Best G-Rated Cock Ride

    Koret Children's Quarter

    You can admire the artwork at the de Young Museum, but you sure can't ride it. Built in 1914, the carrousel in Golden Gate Park made the rounds at the World's Fair on Treasure Island before settling in as the park's interactive artistic masterpiece in 1940. The whimsical animals double as works of art — an exotic Bengal tiger with a mermaid-adorned saddle, a roaring dragon with a seahorse tail, a ram rearing on its back legs, a flaming rooster.... More >>

  • Best Place to Stop and Smell the Lavender

    San Francisco Botanical Garden

    Our favorite flora pleases us on two simultaneous levels (visual and aromatic), which is what makes the Botanical Garden's Garden of Fragrance so captivating. Visually, it's one of Golden Gate Park's most attractive little nooks, a sun-dappled hideaway of winding pathways, garden benches, and mossy stone walls forming beds of colorful plant life. (These aren't just any old stones, by the way; they're chunks from a 12th-century Spanish monastery shipped here by the whimsical William Randolph Hearst 70 years ago.)... More >>

  • Best Walking Tour

    ForageSF Wild Seafood Tour with Kirk Lombard

    Ever heard of candlefish? Limpets? Monkeyface eels? These intriguing local marine species and more will seem familiar friends after two hours with fishing guru Kirk Lombard on ForageSF's wild seafood walk. Lombard, a rock musician who spent seven years as a fisheries monitor with the state Department of Fish and Game, combines a knack for performance with encyclopedic knowledge of all things fish-related. For $30, you'll learn the basics of recreational crabbing, poke-poling — an addictive pastime that involves shoving... More >>

  • Best Place to Start a Fishing Expedition

    Gus' Discount Fishing Tackle

    A trip to the avenues is well worth it in order to peruse the goods at Gus', an Outer Richmond fishing mainstay that caters to local anglers. Here you can find local specialties such as crab pots and poke poles, in addition to a large inventory of rods, reels, tackle, and bait. Gus' carries goods at a range of prices — you can spend $26.50 to $160 on a crab pot, depending on the level of sophistication you demand in... More >>

  • Best Downhill Race

    Bring Your Big Wheel Race

    There's no need to train for this race; just grab your old Big Wheel out of your garage and be ready to embrace gravity. The annual Easter Sunday race begins on Potrero Hill on Vermont at 20th Street, where you're likely to plunk down your Big Wheel between costumed competitors, some dressed for the holiday: bunnies, chicks, and Jesuses (because how can you cut him off?). The furious and funny few minutes down Vermont, one of San Francisco's curviest streets... More >>

  • Best Triathlon

    Escape from Alcatraz

    For serious athletes who want to race uninebriated and uninhibited by costumes, the annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon is the best bet. The summer race starts at Alcatraz Island when competitors jump from a boat for a 1.5-mile swim, continues with an 18-mile bike ride along the Great Highway, and ends at the Marina Green after an 8-mile run. To compete, racers must qualify through a triathlon series or be subject to a lottery system. If this scenic triathlon is... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Peace and Quiet

    Redwood Bowl, Roberts Regional Recreational Area

    Tucked within the depths of Joaquin Miller Park, this luscious canopy of redwoods will give you all the peace and quiet you might not find in San Francisco. After making the trek from Skyline Boulevard to find the bowl, take a seat by a tall tree and enjoy the beautiful silence (and no cellphone service).... More >>

  • Best Place to Run

    Strawberry Canyon

    This 7.3-mile trail is the perfect place for runners to get a complete workout. Within walking distance from the UC Berkeley campus, the fire trail offers dirt terrain, steep hills, and picturesque views of UC Berkeley's Campanile, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais. Just as importantly, you don't have to share the narrow pathway with cyclists, since the trail is reserved for running and hiking. If you really want to feel the burn, run the first hill along the... More >>

  • Best Yoga

    Urban Flow Yoga

    It's always a good sign when your yoga teacher has a six-pack. At Urban Flow, the yoga masters will whip you into shape physically and mentally. Yoga guru Rusty Wells took his growing followers and recently moved from the Castro to the hip urban warehouse building along Mission Street. True believers of helping people feel enlightened (or at least lighter), Urban Yoga will never turn you away, even if you don't have the money. There is a suggested donation of... More >>

  • Best Way to Catch a Giants Baseball from Outside the Park

    City Kayak

    By Mollie McWilliams It's 15 seconds of fame, and endless bragging rights — a Giants' baseball sails across the field and into your glove. But if you're not in the stands, the best alternative is McCovey Cove via City Kayak's game-day rentals. If you're a beginner, all the better, as the lucky few who have snagged a ball in a City Kayak rental usually didn't set out with visions of such glory. "The ones who come [and are] very serious... More >>

  • Five Best Picnic Spots

    Dolores Park

    By Matthew Stafford Between the temperate climate, impressive acreage of urban parkland, and global reputation for good eating, San Francisco may be the best city in the country for hamper-packing, blanket-spreading, and al fresco chicken-chomping. Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy a festive meal in the great urban outdoors. Dolores Park Bounded by Church, Dolores, 18th, and 20th streets With its grassy, hilly setting; often toasty microclimate; and lovely views of the bay, the city, and the... More >>

  • Readers' Poll Winners

    Best Bike Path The Wiggle Best Hike Lands End Best Place to Skateboard Potrero del Sol Best Fitness Gym 24 Hour Fitness Best Bike Shop Valencia Cyclery Best Ski/Snowboard Shop Sports Basement Best Public Tennis Courts Dolores Park Best Golf Course Harding Park Best Park Dolores Park Best Place to Walk the Dog Fort Funston Best Jog Golden Gate Park Best Yoga studio Yoga Tree Best Sportswriter Ray Ratto, CBS Sports Best Sportscaster Kruk and Kuip, S.F. Giants Best Giant... More >>

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