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Best of the City 2009: Day

Best Dog Day

The city’s newest doggie day care is the eco-friendly High Tail Hotel, which uses plants, grass, natural light and an oxygen system to re-create the outdoors in its 5,000-square-foot indoor facility. Think of it as a biodome for man’s best friend, a romper room where they get to munch on tasty organic kibble. The best part? You’re not on cleanup duty.

Best Day in the Park

Sorry, Tejas. Your good ol’ boys, the Houston Astros, are spending the Fourth of July on San Francisco Giants’ turf, while we San Franciscans sit in our luxe waterfront stadium, wave mini flags (free to the first 30,000 fans), eat garlic fries, drink Anchor Steam and thank god we don’t live in the state that had the hair-brained idea to secede from the nation. How’s that for patriotism?

Best Way to Peace Out

The 32nd annual Haight Ashbury Street Fair on June 14 might not bring back the Summer of Love, but if past featured artists (Jefferson Starship, Metallica, Noel Redding from the Jimi Hendrix Experience) are any indication of this year’s lineup (undecided at press time), don’t be surprised if you lose a few inhibitions.

Best Day on the Bay

Zinc oxide is required, but Dramamine is optional. Take advantage of the extended daylight on the weekend of the summer solstice, June 20–21. While away the sun-drenched hours on a boat during the Summer Sailstice event at Treasure Island and you’ll have a front-row seat for the onshore concert, water races and buried-treasure hunts.

Best (Formerly Secret) BBQ Spot

Why hold your picnic in crowded Crissy Field when you can head out to Fort Miley just above Sutro Baths (take Geary out to 43rd Avenue and make a right) and enjoy a large grill, picnic table and stunning view atop Ocean Beach, all to yourself? And we do mean yourself—you can reserve the site by calling 415-561-4700. No more waking up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to secure your spot.

Best Nooner

Since taking a short afternoon nap at your desk isn’t standard operating procedure at most workplaces, consider a new type of restoration hardware: a free guided meditation at Golden Gate University every Tuesday at noon, courtesy of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual organization. Happy place, here you come.

Best Message in a Bottle

The Plastiki, a sailboat made almost entirely from postconsumer plastic bottles, will launch from SF Bay this summer with environmentalist David de Rothschild at the helm. The mission? To spread the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” gospel over the course of a three-month expedition to Sydney, which will include a stop at the infamous Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch—a floating wasteland of debris twice the size of Texas. Track the voyage on thePlastiki.com.

Hottest Workout

Take flight Cirque du Soleil–style with aerial dance lessons by professional acrobatic dancer Alayna Stroud. Her six-week beginner’s series teaches a bevy of body-sculpting party tricks that involve twisting, climbing, spinning and inversions on dangling ropes and fabric. Dress code: skimpy.



Most Dramatic Afternoon

Tragedy or comedy: You’re trying to woo an aspiring actor but have less than zero background in the dramatic arts. Think of the July 26 SF Theater Festival at YBCA as a one-day intensive study of the city’s thespian community, where 100 acts unfold on 14 stages in six hours. In no time, you’ll be dropping the names of such obscure local repertoires as Three Wise Monkeys and Uncle Buzzy’s Hometown Theater Show, and using industry terms like “the magic if” and “craft services.”

Best Way to Make Like a Bangle

Now’s your chance to walk by an Egyptian. Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs opens at the de Young Museum on June 27, featuring 130 stunning treasures from the tombs of Tut and his ancestors, including a rare yellow-green jewel (possibly from a meteorite) carved into a scarab and the gold diadem found on the young royal’s mummified head.

Best Tale Spin

In addition to regular workshops on shadow puppetry, papermaking and insect-wrangling, Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids is adding a story hour to the lineup every Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m., just in time for summer vacation. Beginning this month, participants of the writing program at the nearby 826 Valencia will spin yarns daily for the tykes at PGCK.

The Running Man: Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathoner
Dean Karnazes, 46, has scorched 350 miles in 82 straight hours; run 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days; written Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner (Penguin); and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of “Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.” The SF resident and father of two is now focusing on being a fitness motivator. “I’m not talking about running a marathon,” he says, “but perhaps getting off the couch and walking around the block. All great journeys start with a single step.” Read more...

Best Basic Training

Make yourself indispensable to the general population (and get Good Samaritan cred) by signing up to learn fundamental life skills at Sports Basement in the Presidio. The discount athletic store offers free monthly training workshops ranging from CPR to bike repair, in addition to their weekly yoga classes, fun runs and Sunday group bike rides.

Best Damn Music Festival Ever

This year, the Beastie Boys, Thievery Corporation and Tom Jones will perform at the three-day, insta-legendary Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival. We know you’ll be there—because the musical orgy featuring more than 50 hot bands, thousands of screaming fans, dozens of porta-potties and maddening traffic jams is—cue record-scratching—whatcha, whatcha, whatcha want. Aug. 28–30; sfoutsidelands.com

Best Sun Salutation

For anyone with the drive to attend a Yogalates Power Bootcamp at Cocoon Urban Day Spa in SoMA, we have four words for you: Bad. To. The. Bone. Not only are we in awe of your commitment to this intense athletic fusion of yoga, Pilates, martial arts and strength training, but you get an extra salute for arriving to the one-and-a-half-hour class at cocoonurbandayspa.com

Best Way to Get Your Affairs in Order

Gather your friends and a ballpoint pen. Attorney Amy Shelf knows that when there’s a will, there’s a way. Her Panic-Free Planning Potlucks combine the spirited vibe of a gathering of friends with the task of organizing your future—all at a thrifty, group-discount rate. (Do you have a will and testament, financial power of attorney and advanced health care directive? Didn’t think so.) Fair warning: Alcohol is prohibited until all legal documents are signed.

Best WMDs

Starting June 12, the Asian Art Museum will display more than 160 objects from the ancient Japanese feudal class in the special exhibition, Lords of the Samurai. Trust us, you’ll get more from this impressive display of battle-scarred armor, swords and guns than Tom Cruise ever could have delivered in his feeble attempt at warrior pose in
The Last Samurai.

Best Science Fair

Take the Exploratorium and add sunshine. The result? A new Outdoor Exploratorium at Fort Mason, featuring interactive science exhibits starring the environment: Low-flow drinking fountains spout salt water in the “Tasting the Tides” display, and the “Wind Arrows” exhibit tracks the breeze via strategically placed flags.



Best Garden Party

The recently unveiled, 14,400-square foot SFMOMA Rooftop Garden, designed by local architect Mark Jensen, is home to large-scale sculptures by Robert Arneson, Louise Bourgeois and Bangalore artist Ranjani Shettar (whose work is made from recycled cars). Our advice? Sip a Gibraltar from the new rooftop Blue Bottle Cafe to sharpen your mental acumen before making any critiques.

Best Training Day

Excuses, Excuses. Personal trainer Rachel Schey does not want to hear them. When the accomplished triathlete shows up at your door with abig red SUV full of workout equipment and a personalized, fun regime that includes running, walking, weights, Pilates and even some dance, your often slothful self has no hoice but to submit.

Check out our other 2009 Best of Picks

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