Here is an abbrieviated version of our "must-see" attractions for San Francisco. If you are interested in buying the full Monk List for this city please CONTACT US for more information about our customized MONK POCKET GUIDE to this featured city. Enjoy!

BALMY ALLEY
Between 24th and 25th, south of Folsom

This block long alley features the volunteered works of celebrated Hispanic muralists. Funky, folksy, and political. The Day of the Dead parade ends here every November first.

CASTRO THEATER
429 Castro Street
415-621-6120

A stunning 1930's movie palace, with Spanish Colonial architecture, a plaster ceiling that looks like a big tent, seating for 1600, and organ music before major shows, this majestic landmark offers the ultimate movie-going experience in the city. For once, a theater to take a same-sex date and not receive attitude for holding hands, though just as many hetero couples make the scene as well.

COLUMBARIUM
1 Loraine Court off Anza
415-752-7892

The ultimate place to stash your ash. A treasure trove of urns line every wall of this four-tiered sanctuary. With stained glass windows, a copper dome and classical muzak it seems like an elegant wedding chapel. It was a polling place during the last presidential election. And the only place you are literally going to find Prince Albert in a can. The head caretaker, Emmitt Watson, leads a fabulous impromptu tour. On it you will see some of the more famous urns in the Columbarium, including those of the Shattuck Family, the Eddy Family, and, yes, the Folger Family. Open 10:00-4:00 PM M-F, 10:00-2:00 on weekends, this is one of the true gems of San Francisco.

DEFENESTRATION PROJECT
214 6th St. at Howard

Brian Goggin and a group of fellow artists created quite the stir in 1997 when they erected this sensational installation that incorporates over thirty brightly colored household furnishings and applicances, such as couches, chairs, tables, and refrigerators in gravity-defying postitions, bolted, welded, and rigged on the walls and out the windows of this gutted, abandoned, six-story building. At first glance it appears as if an earthquake has shaken the building's contents out the windows and toward the street below. But they hang in calm repose, perhaps waiting for the wrecking ball before they decide to complete the leap to the ground. What is Defenestration: According to Mr. Goggin, "It is the act of throwing something or someone out of a window." Only in San Francisco.

GOOD VIBRATIONS
1210 Valencia St.
415-974-8980

This is the most sex positive, progressive dildo shop in the land. Why? Because it’s owned and run by chix. From vibrators to butt plugs, thigh harnesses to nipple clamps Good Vibes always has "the right tool for the job." The staff can be extremely helpful, providing lots of explicit sex education without a trace of shame. Staffer Nao had us down on all fours in doggie collars. Their motto: “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”

LIGURIA BAKERY
1700 Stockton at Filbert
415-421-3786

Stand in line for focaccia, the potato chip of North Beach. This small place bakes and sells ONLY foccacia in three simple varietes, without all that yuppie inventiveness found elsewhere, and it is sooooo cheap. The aromas will knock you over with Italian wholesomeness. For an additional treat, head across Washington Square (where there's a time capsule buried under a statue of Ben Franklin) to Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe, which uses Liguria’s focaccia in making its incredibly savory sandwiches.

PETE'S CAFE
San Francisco Art Institute Cafe
800 Chestnut St. (North Beach)
415-771-7020

Plop the interior of this rooftop cafe down on any street in town, and it wouldn’t warrant a mention. But it makes our highly selective list because of a very simple truism: location. Of the many cafes in town, Pete’s has indisputably the best view of the city and bay. What’s more, you get to hang with groovy academic artistes, which can be soooo heady. You’re also inside, or, rather, atop, the oldest cultural conservatory in the West, the San Francisco Art Institute, with mounts consistently high quality events and gallery shows. And then there's that Diego Rivera mural. The downside: they’re only open when school is open.

PRESIDIO PET CEMETERY
Crissy Field Avenue near McDowell

Humbly located on a small plot of land right under the SF side of the Golden Gate Bridge near the thickly wooded aromatic heart of the Presidio, this sweet cemetery is where military personnel bury their deceased animal friends. Enter through a white picket fence to an ominous warning--Caution: Hazardous Waste Area. Inside you'll find a touching array of pet shrines, some with more trinkets than a queen on parade. Our favorites are those dedicated to Tyson "T-Bone" Brooks, Jason The Dancing Dog, Max Our Happy Puppy, Miss Dusty, Radar, Fifi, Jet, Birdie our parakeet, and Baron ("He Lived to Love and Be Loved"). From a glance at the remarks on the sweet white crosses, it seems the "owners" loved their pets as much as, if not more than, their spouses and family.

SAN FRANCISCO ZEN CENTER
300 Page
415-863-3136

I love "Zen Center" because the guy with the pierced nose, ear and tongue who cruised you at the S&M bar last night is likely to be sitting next to you calm as a cow. It's a place where Evan Dando 20-somethings who look like they shredded all last night commingle with itsy-bitsy Jewish girls; a place where women who look like they are nuns straight out of the Sacred Heart, and guys who look like reps for one of the Napa Valley vineyards, meditate side by side with neurotic eternally depressed victims of some sort of imagined childhood abuse. It’s a true melting pot of Zen, and of San Francisco. I like Zen Center because they keep everything running smoothly without resorting to Gestapo tactics. Because they leave you to your own experience, but gently introduce you to the dharma through lectures and courses you want to drink. I like Zen Center because they recognize the importance of beauty, even though this very neat, well-maintained and elegantly precise center is at times a bit too precious and anal about ceremony and aesthetics. I like Zen Center because the quality of people who attend are a cut above in intelligence, character and depth.

WAVE ORGAN
Marina Blvd. and Baker

East of the Golden Gate Yacht Club on "the point" is a truly "organ-ic" work of public art. Go during high tide, sit down in the lovely alcove, or put your ear to one end of the pipes, which submerge into the Bay, and listen to the deep bellowing organ-like sounds of the water. The stone used in the construction is from a cemetery in Laurel Heights.





   
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