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Best Place for a Walk (Indoors) 


290 Townsend (at Fourth Street), 543-5466,

For all their still-emerging hip grandeur, South of Market's growing high-rise neighborhoods are still a bit of a rat hole. Until the city does something to narrow and calm the one-way thoroughfares, reduce the number of car-magnet parking garages, and encourage bicycle commuting with additional and safer bike lanes, the area will remain more of a traffic sewer than a decent place to live, shop, or work. Amid the worst of the traffic, however, there does exist a solace-giving sanctuary in the form of a furniture store. We don't recommend you actually buy anything here, unless you're in the market for an $8,000 couch. But the pieces, contrived by some of the world's best designers, are so clever, beautiful, thought-provoking, and surprising that merely walking among them for an hour or so is a transforming experience. After a midday break spent amid Limn's eye candy, battling SOMA's automobile hell somehow doesn't seem so bad.


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