Arts and CultureSan Francisco

Guide to Getting Your Park on in Alamo Square

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C'mon, you know you love the view...

Of course Dolores is the awesomest park to see and be seen in the city, but contrary to popular hipster belief, things exist outside of the Mission. There are parks in other neighborhoods, including mine. Its name is Alamo Square Park. Yes, there are some tourists. Yes, sometimes it’s a little windy. But there’s also a shoe garden, a view of amazingly beautiful Victorians, a bunch of little trails, bathrooms whose lines will not set you back 45 minutes, and a nice, firm hill on which to park your blanket. I know it’s scary, but trying new things can be exhilarating. Plus you probably won’t run into your most recent ex-boyfriend and his new, taller, blonder girlfriend here, and that in itself is worth the change.

Here I present a mini-guide of pit stops to make before settling into the Square:

1. Alamo Square Market & Deli

Yeah, the sandwiches at Bi-Rite are delicious, but they’re really not cheap and, to be honest, are pretty weak in terms of size. The guys at Alamo Square Market & Deli at 535 Scott St. (btw Fell & Hayes Sts.), on the other hand, will make you a HUGE, tasty sub of your choice for six to seven bucks and have awesome daily specials (Meatball! Steak with onions and peppers!). You’ll probably want to share one of these guys, especially since you’ll be filling up on booze from…

2. Key Food Market

I’m not biased toward this liquor store at 501 Fillmore St. (@ Oak St.) simply because I love Omar, the chatty guy behind the cash register who makes me feel better about my life by insisting I won’t have “real” problems until I’m his age (which I’m assuming means I still have a good 20 years of “fake” problems); there’s just good, cheap booze here. Bottle of champagne = $4.99. 12-pack PBR = $7.99. Mega bottle of cabernet sauvignon = $5.99. Four Loko = it doesn’t matter because I’d pay literally any price for this liver-ravaging miracle juice.

3. Vapor Room

So by now you’ll have bought your eats and drinks. The only thing missing from Alamo Square is the cooler-toting ganja treats man. That’s okay — just stop by nearby Vapor Room at 607A Haight St. for some special lollipops, cookies and other treats. If you don’t have a medical card to get in, I bet your friend carrying the blanket does. If I’m wrong, just pretend like you’re 16 again, stand outside and bribe anyone who’s about to walk in. Good thing stoners are a friendly breed.

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Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

When Christy announced she was leaving her family's Southern California home and moving to San Francisco, her mom said, "Have fun in that den of sin." This is the only (however sarcastic) advice Christy has ever taken from her mom, who also told her to join eharmony.com and cover her eyes during sex scenes in movies. Christy puts her creative writing degree to good use by locating the typos on Chinese food menus and spends most of her time challenging friends to all-you-can-eat contests and trying to get that one bartender at Zeitgeist to smile.