- This Week
Our guide to living better, for less, in the recession
01.20.10 - 12:00 am | Guardian Staff Writers |
55 Taylor, SF
Sundays, 1-2:30 p.m., free
1590 Bryant, SF
Mon.-Fri. 2:30–3:45 p.m., donations
3261 16th St., SF
SATORI YOGA STUDIO
Mondays, 4:15– 5:15 p.m., free
40 First St., SF
Saturdays, 11 a.m., free
Main entrance of Botanical Gardens
Golden Gate Park
Ninth Ave. and Lincoln Way, SF
Learning to love the rec centers
With free gyms, darkrooms, and play areas, city rec centers may be the athlete (or artist's) answer to the bum economy
By Molly Freedenberg
I've always though of recreation centers as places where kids took cheap summer camp classes or attended awkward junior high school dances. But these city-funded centers are actually some of the coolest, most affordable, and least appreciated resources any community has to offer — and especially so in San Francisco.
From weight rooms and basketball courts to dance studios, dog parks, and performance-ready auditoriums, SF's neighborhood centers offer a variety of resources for budget-conscious adults as well as their kids. Use of most facilities is free (or, on rare occasions, costs a nominal fee) and classes and workshops are priced low with a sliding scale and scholarship option.
Why does the city allocate $34.5 million in general fund support to maintain these centers every year? According to Elton Pon, spokesperson for the Recreation and Park Department (which also oversees public spaces like Golden Gate Park and Coit Tower), "they keep the city sane."
We've outlined the resources at some of our favorite centers, but check parks.sfgov.org for a full list, sfreconline.org for programs, or call (415) 831-5520 for information on renting rec center buildings.
CHINESE RECREATION CENTER
This Nob Hill neighborhood center caters primarily to youth in Chinatown, which is most apparent weekdays after 3 p.m. when its gym areas fill up with teenage boys. But everyone can enjoy volleyball, basketball, and even dance in its indoor gym, outdoor hoops, and mini weight room. The secret to getting some grown-up time? Visit early on weekdays or after 7 p.m.
1199 Mason. (415) 292-2017
EUREKA VALLEY REC CENTER
Well-maintained and recently renovated, this Castro District facility is a favorite for its resources and fantastic location (there's a grocery store right next door, not to mention the full Castro shopping corridor a block away). Parents love that the indoor and outdoor play areas are especially good for toddlers. Dog-owners love the enclosed dog run. Sporty adults appreciate that the basketball court is regularly relacquered, while event planners focus on the auditorium with raised stage and 70-seat capacity. Special bonuses? An LGBT Teen Center and an especially girl-friendly gym scene.
100 Collingwood. (415) 831-6810
HARVEY MILK ARTS CENTER