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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Best Practices for Being a Tourist in San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Dec 1, 2010 at 1:15 PM


San Francisco is a town of unique tourist attractions, and some guidebooks recommend going off the beaten track to mix with the locals. But should you? I don't think so.

Home base: Union Square

This is the heart of the city. Why else are 93 percent of the hotels here? People have a great time riding escalators at Niketown and watching Tom Sweeney open a door. Some people spend their whole vacations in Union Square. You should, too. But if you're feeling adventurous, button up your shorts, finish your Chocolate Tuxedo Cream™ Cheesecake and get the hell out of Macy's.

Day 1: Union Square to Twin Peaks

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to cross the Castro, where a man will press his penis against the Hertz and offer sex acts, because local gays want nothing more than to turn straight men from your neighborhood gay -- they've been watching you. Might as well get it over with. Keep an eye on your sons! Is one of them blowing an old queen in the backseat? Of course not, but turn up Bill O'Reilly nonetheless.

Once on the hill, take in the view. Do you hear the low roar? That's our debauchery.

Day 2: Union Square to Golden Gate Theatre

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to broach the Tenderloin, one of the worst places on Earth. Seriously, it's like George A. Romero is producing this shit. Stagger around with a boner: This is how you be a "john." Scratch your eyes out: This is how you "jones." If you're not doing either of these things, you have no business lingering in the Tenderloin, so get a move on, Hendersons! Watch your step lest you fall into a bar.


Once at the theater, imagine what all the crackheads will be like in three hours when Fiddler lets out.

Local tip: Massage parlors congregate in the Tenderloin because of the district's laissez-faire attitude toward ejaculate, but during election years the mayor will often pop into a room with the entire police department and a reporter, so be prepared to explain the finger in your ass.

Where to eat: Café Donut on Eddy. Hah, just fucking with you.

Day 3: Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to squeak through Chinatown, where out of the corner of your eye you'll see a man with a handmade cleaver fillet a live frog when you're trying to steer the family away from hanging pig carcasses. Try not to think about the turtles in the bucket.

At Fisherman's Wharf, do things that are there. Crab? I got nothing.

Day 4: Union Square to Golden Gate Park

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to cross the Haight, a staging ground for people blasting apart their lives. Are these our legendary hippies? Spray one with Simple Green: Those aren't crow's feet, they're tattoos. Behold the gutter punks, deep into an extended sit/lie, hashing together enough dinero for a morning bottle. Hey, go ahead and keep spraying.

Once in GGP, choose from among flowers, plants, tea, rowboats, art, bison, homeless encampments, police actions, drum-slash-drug circles, not-good nudity, and much-worse camp sex.

Day 5: Union Square to AT&T Park

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to cross SOMA, and SOMA stands for Sadism or Masochism for All, and the whole family is just blazingly screwed. Pull down your cap, tighten up the group, and march down Third Street. Eyes forward, lissome teens! If you lose your way, hunker down in the REI tent section until a supervisor arrives in a Zip car. And try to catch Dad before he goes into a bar and is asked to lie on the floor so all the boys can piss on him. Once at the ballpark, visit Java House, one of the last vestiges of the old waterfront. Don't eat there.

Further reading: SoMa, by Kemble Scott; The Thinking Dad's Guide to Amyl Nitrates, by Anonymous.

Day 6: Union Square to Noe Valley

Oh, fuck. The map says you have to skirt the Mission, where residents eat marrow and clothe themselves in whatever they find at the foot of the bed that day. The gallery art makes no sense, the baristas throw you out if you order anything "venti," and the kids have just sprinted from the car. You'll find them at Zeitgeist -- or, shit, Kink's Armory.

Once in Noe Valley, pinch yourself. Hey there, Pasta Pomodoro.

Day 6: Union Square to Coit Tower

Oh, fuck. The map says you'll have to cross North Beach, where beatnik layabouts recite verse about copulation and free will in the city-state while smoking "tea" (methamphetamine). Your grandmother warned you about Allen Ginsberg in 1984, and she was right. Michael Savage is probably having a Rockstar somewhere, so keep your eyes peeled for a sweating sack of compost wearing a scarf and sunglasses. There are also strip clubs, but if you're going to pay for it you should have stayed put at the Boobie Bungalow in Milwaukee.

Once at Coit -- wait, is that thing a penis? Get up there and bellow a dick joke, cowboy, because you'll never have it so good again.

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Michael Leaverton


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