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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Jogging Path

    Marina Green to Fort Point

    Never mind that the previous night you drank mojitos till the Union Street bars closed, or perhaps just chased an indulgent lunch with a bottle of premium California wine. For instant invigoration and an in-your-face reminder of everything great about this city, slap on the running shoes and hoof it from Marina Green to Fort Point and back. The three-mile-ish round trip promises a glimpse into the luxurious living rooms of Marina Boulevard mansions, of salty San Franciscans at Marina... More >>

  • Best Pickup Basketball Game

    Mission High Outdoor Courts

    At some pickup games (take the Panhandle or Dolores Park, please), the style of basketball can best be described as egocentric: get the ball and shoot the ball, with a bunch of jukes, jibes, and fakes in between. Blame it on Chicago Bulls all-world superstar Michael Jordan, who glamorized the idea of the one-man scoring machine, or Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale, who was called the "Black Hole" because he never returned a ball passed to him. Some players might... More >>

  • Best Pickup Game Drug Scene

    Dolores Park

    Anyone who's stood back and watched what passes for basketball on the tennis court surface of Dolores Park's hoops cage has probably asked himself what those guys are smoking. What with the endlessly incoherent, befuddled pace, the bizarre improvisations, and the masses of players who sometimes wait more than an hour for a game on weekends, it's only natural to wonder. Well, for a hint, swing by the illuminated courts almost any night of the week. And there they are,... More >>

  • Best Extreme Outdoor Sport You Can Do Indoors

    Rock Climbing at Mission Cliffs

    There's no better way to realize you're out of shape, even if you thought you were pretty athletic, than to rock climb. In fact, you may be a little shocked on your first visit to Mission Cliffs, the city's only indoor climbing gym, by how much strength, stamina, and mental determination it takes to snake up the walls. But climbing can be addictive, and after your first hour -- your arms quivering, calves shaking, and fingers aching -- you'll be... More >>

  • Best Day Trip

    Red Bluff

    In a few weeks, Financial District suits will be holding their trench coat lapels two-handed against an icy fog. Newspaper and coffee vendors will be keeping their shutters closed, opening only to push merchandise into the chill. Gloves and ski caps will abound. Summertime will have landed upon San Francisco. Mark Twain's comment that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco is sometimes cited as if it were a source of pride. It's foolish pride.... More >>

  • Best Bike Path

    Old Railroad Grade on Mount Tamalpais

    In their unquenchable need to sell more product, bicycle manufacturers have managed to create a false and unquestioned mythology; namely, that to traverse paved roads it is necessary to possess a narrow-tired "road bike," and to traverse dirt roads it is necessary to have special fat-tired bicycles with shock absorbers called "mountain bikes." The time has come to banish the fat-tire myth. Bay Area cyclists have been riding skinny-tired bikes in the dirt for decades. The area has long been... More >>

  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    REI

    You won't find a basketball at the Bay Area's best sporting goods store. Or a baseball glove. Or a tennis racket. So why is REI the best? Because you'll see things here that you won't at other sports stores: possibilities. REI is devoted exclusively to outdoor adventure sports -- camping, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, kayaking -- and there is something about walking into this store, some ineffable tug at your soul and adrenal glands, that gets your heart racing and... More >>

  • Best Pool Hall

    Hollywood Billiards

    If Fast Eddie Felson, Paul Newman's character in The Hustler, had been looking for some action in San Francisco, Hollywood Billiards is where he would have gone. It's the kind of pool hall you don't find much anymore, a place with real atmosphere and genuine characters. It is said to be the oldest pool hall in San Francisco, dating from the '50s, and climbing the rickety stairs to the second floor, above the porn shops on Market, is like entering... More >>

  • Best Place to Meet Limber Chicks and Get a Good Stretch

    Yoga Tree

    Everybody knows chicks love yoga. And any dating expert will tell you that in order to score, you need to put yourself in the mix. In other words, go where the ladies go. Which is why any single, heterosexual man on the prowl should take a class at Yoga Tree, a studio that attracts an overwhelmingly large ratio of young, attractive, twentysomething females to its classes. A recent beginning Hatha yoga class on Saturday morning had a male/female ratio of... More >>

  • Best Way to Blow Off Steam After Work

    Speed-Walking Along the Embarcadero

    There's nothing like a brisk walk along the water at the height of rush hour to take the edge off a tough day. While car drivers grow more agitated with each crawl to the next red light, you can simply turn your head and enjoy the spectacular and ever-changing sights of the bay. The Embarcadero from South Beach to Pier 39 offers a long and virtually unimpeded walk, and you'll find that the brine and the breeze work wonders on... More >>

  • Best Gym and Pool

    USF Koret Health & Recreation Center

    If smells of sweat and visions of dark, overcrowded workout rooms pop into your head when you think about exercising, you obviously haven't been to the Koret Center. To begin with, this stunning facility boast 40-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. It also sports a gorgeous Olympic-size pool open daily for lap swimming, four basketball and five racquetball courts, a weight room, a martial arts room, an aerobics room, and more than 60 machines in "cardiovascular alley" near those wonderfully oversized... More >>

  • Best Bicycle Shops

    Studies show that it's a crazy person who commutes in S.F. by any means other than a bicycle. Parking a car on city streets requires $100 in disposable parking ticket income per month, another $100 in downtown parking fees, and a 30-minute schlep between office cubicle and parking space. Muni, meanwhile, prunes even more spare time; a ride from, say, Haight-Ashbury to the Financial District could take an hour. The same trip by bike is 20 minutes with a sweat,... More >>

  • Best Place to Shoot Guns

    Jackson Arms Shooting Range & Gunshop

    Most people who object to guns on principle have never shot one. Perhaps they're afraid they'll enjoy it? Regardless, if you've never held a firearm, you can rectify that inadequacy at Jackson Arms. Pay 30 bucks, sign some important forms ("I will not shoot myself in the foot" -- OK, it doesn't really say that), and sit down for a half-hour "Novice Shooter Package" class. Then set yourself up in one of the 10 50-foot lanes, mount your target, load... More >>

  • Best Run for Drinkers

    San Francisco Hash House Harriers

    It's the existential urban dilemma: train or tipple? With the S.F. Hash House Harriers, you can do both -- simultaneously. Essentially a runners' club for extroverts, SFH3 is one branch of a huge society, started in 1938 by British expats and spread to over 1,500 "hashes" around the world. The local version meets Monday nights at 6:15 -- call the hot line for the location -- gathering 60 to 80 people of all ages for a run of about five... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Your First Date Seminaked

    Kabuki Springs and Spas

    In an age of genital warts and AIDS, it may take weeks -- months even -- before you get a glimpse of your date's really important parts. That's a lot of time, money, and energy spent without any chance to check out the goods. Wondering if your he-man's sporting love handles or a six-pack? Curious if your hot tamale's packing cellulite? Then instead of dinner and a movie, check out Japantown's Kabuki Springs and Spas. Designed in the ancient tradition... More >>

  • Best Walk

    Edgewood Avenue

    Edgewood Avenue may be the prettiest street in the city. Paved with red brick and lined with ornamental plum and cherry trees, its blossoms in the spring frame a lovely view of the bay. Park your car somewhere around Stanyan and Haight. Walk south down Stanyan to Carl, take a right on Carl, a left on Willard, a right on Belmont, and then a left on Edgewood. Head to the top of the street. When you've had your fill of... More >>

  • Best Power Walk

    Start at Jones and Filbert...

    We've compressed last year's marathon power walk into a more intensive 45-minute, 26-block jaunt featuring eight thigh-strengthening downhill blocks and 11 heart-pumping uphill blocks, four of them staircases and four of them the intimidating sort of uphill blocks where the cars have to park sideways. Start at Jones and Filbert and head the two egregious blocks up Jones to Green. Go left down the staircase to Taylor, go right one unpleasant block up Taylor to Vallejo, head down the staircase... More >>

  • Best Spot for Serious Surfers

    Ocean Beach

    Pacifica is fine for newbies and Santa Cruz is great if you have the time for a drive, but for serious local riders the broad, ever-changing wave field of Ocean Beach can't be beat. It can be tough to paddle out, but once you do, the feeling of freedom is like nothing else. Unlike other surf destinations, Ocean Beach doesn't have a sweet spot; depending on the day, any part might be going off. Because its riptides -- the surface... More >>

  • Best Place to Root Against the Locals

    Shannon's Sports Bar

    Seeing as how it's become cliché to observe that hardly anyone in San Francisco is from San Francisco, it doesn't really seem fair to demand allegiances to our pathetic local sports teams from out-of-towners. Between Barry Bonds' insufferability, the cheapskate A's, a Niners defense that probably couldn't sack groceries, the Raiders' endless roster of former felons (which includes the kicker -- the kicker!), and the Warriors, the local franchises don't exactly endear themselves to fans who weren't raised to root... More >>

  • Best Mascot

    Thunder, Golden State Warriors

    Considering that the Warriors just put up one of the worst half-seasons in NBA history, you wouldn't expect anyone to even show up at their games, much less be excited about it. And yet, for the duration of the TV timeout before the start of every fruitless fourth quarter at the Arena in Oakland, the crowd (or whatever is passing for a crowd) rises to its feet and actually makes some noise. The excitement is courtesy of Thunder, the team's... More >>

  • Best Jogging Path

    Marina Green to Fort Point

    Never mind that the previous night you drank mojitos till the Union Street bars closed, or perhaps just chased an indulgent lunch with a bottle of premium California wine. For instant invigoration and an in-your-face reminder of everything great about this city, slap on the running shoes and hoof it from Marina Green to Fort Point and back. The three-mile-ish round trip promises a glimpse into the luxurious living rooms of Marina Boulevard mansions, of salty San Franciscans at Marina... More >>

  • Best Pickup Basketball Game

    Mission High Outdoor Courts

    At some pickup games (take the Panhandle or Dolores Park, please), the style of basketball can best be described as egocentric: get the ball and shoot the ball, with a bunch of jukes, jibes, and fakes in between. Blame it on Chicago Bulls all-world superstar Michael Jordan, who glamorized the idea of the one-man scoring machine, or Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale, who was called the "Black Hole" because he never returned a ball passed to him. Some players might... More >>

  • Best Pickup Game Drug Scene

    Dolores Park

    Anyone who's stood back and watched what passes for basketball on the tennis court surface of Dolores Park's hoops cage has probably asked himself what those guys are smoking. What with the endlessly incoherent, befuddled pace, the bizarre improvisations, and the masses of players who sometimes wait more than an hour for a game on weekends, it's only natural to wonder. Well, for a hint, swing by the illuminated courts almost any night of the week. And there they are,... More >>

  • Best Extreme Outdoor Sport You Can Do Indoors

    Rock Climbing at Mission Cliffs

    There's no better way to realize you're out of shape, even if you thought you were pretty athletic, than to rock climb. In fact, you may be a little shocked on your first visit to Mission Cliffs, the city's only indoor climbing gym, by how much strength, stamina, and mental determination it takes to snake up the walls. But climbing can be addictive, and after your first hour -- your arms quivering, calves shaking, and fingers aching -- you'll be... More >>

  • Best Day Trip

    Red Bluff

    In a few weeks, Financial District suits will be holding their trench coat lapels two-handed against an icy fog. Newspaper and coffee vendors will be keeping their shutters closed, opening only to push merchandise into the chill. Gloves and ski caps will abound. Summertime will have landed upon San Francisco. Mark Twain's comment that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco is sometimes cited as if it were a source of pride. It's foolish pride.... More >>

  • Best Bike Path

    Old Railroad Grade on Mount Tamalpais

    In their unquenchable need to sell more product, bicycle manufacturers have managed to create a false and unquestioned mythology; namely, that to traverse paved roads it is necessary to possess a narrow-tired "road bike," and to traverse dirt roads it is necessary to have special fat-tired bicycles with shock absorbers called "mountain bikes." The time has come to banish the fat-tire myth. Bay Area cyclists have been riding skinny-tired bikes in the dirt for decades. The area has long been... More >>

  • Best Sporting Goods Store

    REI

    You won't find a basketball at the Bay Area's best sporting goods store. Or a baseball glove. Or a tennis racket. So why is REI the best? Because you'll see things here that you won't at other sports stores: possibilities. REI is devoted exclusively to outdoor adventure sports -- camping, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, kayaking -- and there is something about walking into this store, some ineffable tug at your soul and adrenal glands, that gets your heart racing and... More >>

  • Best Pool Hall

    Hollywood Billiards

    If Fast Eddie Felson, Paul Newman's character in The Hustler, had been looking for some action in San Francisco, Hollywood Billiards is where he would have gone. It's the kind of pool hall you don't find much anymore, a place with real atmosphere and genuine characters. It is said to be the oldest pool hall in San Francisco, dating from the '50s, and climbing the rickety stairs to the second floor, above the porn shops on Market, is like entering... More >>

  • Best Place to Meet Limber Chicks and Get a Good Stretch

    Yoga Tree Stanyan

    Everybody knows chicks love yoga. And any dating expert will tell you that in order to score, you need to put yourself in the mix. In other words, go where the ladies go. Which is why any single, heterosexual man on the prowl should take a class at Yoga Tree, a studio that attracts an overwhelmingly large ratio of young, attractive, twentysomething females to its classes. A recent beginning Hatha yoga class on Saturday morning had a male/female ratio of... More >>

  • Best Way to Blow Off Steam After Work

    Speed-Walking Along the Embarcadero

    There's nothing like a brisk walk along the water at the height of rush hour to take the edge off a tough day. While car drivers grow more agitated with each crawl to the next red light, you can simply turn your head and enjoy the spectacular and ever-changing sights of the bay. The Embarcadero from South Beach to Pier 39 offers a long and virtually unimpeded walk, and you'll find that the brine and the breeze work wonders on... More >>

  • Best Gym and Pool

    USF Koret Health & Recreation Center

    If smells of sweat and visions of dark, overcrowded workout rooms pop into your head when you think about exercising, you obviously haven't been to the Koret Center. To begin with, this stunning facility boast 40-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. It also sports a gorgeous Olympic-size pool open daily for lap swimming, four basketball and five racquetball courts, a weight room, a martial arts room, an aerobics room, and more than 60 machines in "cardiovascular alley" near those wonderfully oversized... More >>

  • Best Bicycle Shops

    Studies show that it's a crazy person who commutes in S.F. by any means other than a bicycle. Parking a car on city streets requires $100 in disposable parking ticket income per month, another $100 in downtown parking fees, and a 30-minute schlep between office cubicle and parking space. Muni, meanwhile, prunes even more spare time; a ride from, say, Haight-Ashbury to the Financial District could take an hour. The same trip by bike is 20 minutes with a sweat,... More >>

  • Best Place to Shoot Guns

    Jackson Arms Shooting Range & Gunshop

    Most people who object to guns on principle have never shot one. Perhaps they're afraid they'll enjoy it? Regardless, if you've never held a firearm, you can rectify that inadequacy at Jackson Arms. Pay 30 bucks, sign some important forms ("I will not shoot myself in the foot" -- OK, it doesn't really say that), and sit down for a half-hour "Novice Shooter Package" class. Then set yourself up in one of the 10 50-foot lanes, mount your target, load... More >>

  • Best Run for Drinkers

    San Francisco Hash House Harriers

    It's the existential urban dilemma: train or tipple? With the S.F. Hash House Harriers, you can do both -- simultaneously. Essentially a runners' club for extroverts, SFH3 is one branch of a huge society, started in 1938 by British expats and spread to over 1,500 "hashes" around the world. The local version meets Monday nights at 6:15 -- call the hot line for the location -- gathering 60 to 80 people of all ages for a run of about five... More >>

  • Best Place to Get Your First Date Seminaked

    Kabuki Springs & Spa

    In an age of genital warts and AIDS, it may take weeks -- months even -- before you get a glimpse of your date's really important parts. That's a lot of time, money, and energy spent without any chance to check out the goods. Wondering if your he-man's sporting love handles or a six-pack? Curious if your hot tamale's packing cellulite? Then instead of dinner and a movie, check out Japantown's Kabuki Springs and Spas. Designed in the ancient tradition... More >>

  • Best Walk

    Edgewood Avenue

    Edgewood Avenue may be the prettiest street in the city. Paved with red brick and lined with ornamental plum and cherry trees, its blossoms in the spring frame a lovely view of the bay. Park your car somewhere around Stanyan and Haight. Walk south down Stanyan to Carl, take a right on Carl, a left on Willard, a right on Belmont, and then a left on Edgewood. Head to the top of the street. When you've had your fill of... More >>

  • Best Power Walk

    Start at Jones and Filbert...

    We've compressed last year's marathon power walk into a more intensive 45-minute, 26-block jaunt featuring eight thigh-strengthening downhill blocks and 11 heart-pumping uphill blocks, four of them staircases and four of them the intimidating sort of uphill blocks where the cars have to park sideways. Start at Jones and Filbert and head the two egregious blocks up Jones to Green. Go left down the staircase to Taylor, go right one unpleasant block up Taylor to Vallejo, head down the staircase... More >>

  • Best Spot for Serious Surfers

    Ocean Beach

    Pacifica is fine for newbies and Santa Cruz is great if you have the time for a drive, but for serious local riders the broad, ever-changing wave field of Ocean Beach can't be beat. It can be tough to paddle out, but once you do, the feeling of freedom is like nothing else. Unlike other surf destinations, Ocean Beach doesn't have a sweet spot; depending on the day, any part might be going off. Because its riptides -- the surface... More >>

  • Best Place to Root Against the Locals

    Shannon's Sports Bar

    Seeing as how it's become cliché to observe that hardly anyone in San Francisco is from San Francisco, it doesn't really seem fair to demand allegiances to our pathetic local sports teams from out-of-towners. Between Barry Bonds' insufferability, the cheapskate A's, a Niners defense that probably couldn't sack groceries, the Raiders' endless roster of former felons (which includes the kicker -- the kicker!), and the Warriors, the local franchises don't exactly endear themselves to fans who weren't raised to root... More >>

  • Best Mascot

    Thunder, Golden State Warriors

    Considering that the Warriors just put up one of the worst half-seasons in NBA history, you wouldn't expect anyone to even show up at their games, much less be excited about it. And yet, for the duration of the TV timeout before the start of every fruitless fourth quarter at the Arena in Oakland, the crowd (or whatever is passing for a crowd) rises to its feet and actually makes some noise. The excitement is courtesy of Thunder, the team's... More >>

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