Jenny Odell
Jenny Odell - San Francisco

Jenny Odell is a Bay Area native/captive who makes art from Google satellite imagery. (Portentiously, Odell was born not 6 miles from where the Google Headquarters would eventually be.) Her work attempts to bring into focus the specificity and fragility of human existence by cataloguing its structures: swimming pools, parking lots, billboards, etc. Her work has been featured at the Google Headquarters and Les Rencontres D'Arles in France, as well as on the NPR Picture Show, Rhizome, Gizmodo, ESPN Magazine, Die Zeit, NEON Magazine, Elephant Magazine, and most bizarrely, a Belgian TV guide that came in the mail with an assortment of gorilla stickers.

Bernal Hill (Place)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

You have a lot of hills to choose from in San Francisco but in my opinion the best (and most varied) views are from Bernal Hill. Bonus: from my kitchen table I can watch tiny blobs moving around on this hill-- slow blobs are people, fast blobs are dogs.

Address
Bernal Hill | Bernal Heights Drive | San Francisco

Innovative ways of Ascending/Descending (Area)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

Some areas of San Francisco are so steep that the sidewalk literally is a stairway; other times it’s just more interesting to have a stairway between streets… or a slide. I once saw a grown man with a briefcase matter-of-factly go down this slide and continue on his way down the hill. Why not?

Address
Innovative ways of Ascending/Descending | All over San Francisco | San Francisco

Alicia’s Tamale Stand (Street Food)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

“You can taste the love” sounds like a cliché until you actually taste it and realize you are poor cynical human being who has never been to Alicia’s tamale stand! Especially on foggy days, these lovingly wrapped warm packages of deliciousness are indispensable.

Address
Alicia’s Tamale Stand | Market and Embarcadero | San Francisco

Grand Coffee (Cafe)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

This one’s easy to miss because it’s dwarfed by one of the many loud discount stores on Mission selling Day-Glo flowers and phone chargers. When you find it, the inside is tiny; there’s just enough room for you, an espresso machine, and a guy or two playing great music every time. And they have egg creams!

Address
Grand Coffee | 2663 Mission Street | San Francisco

Laidley between Harper and Fairmount (Area) (Architecture)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

One day when I was walking around in the hills behind my house, I happened upon this bizarre street. It was as though someone had taken postmodernism and tried to make it into a block of houses. Each one has its own internally complete theme, involving strange colors and sculptural elements attached to the outside walls (gold eggs, wisps of wrought iron). This led me on subsequent walks to name them: the Corbusier House, the Barn, the Preschool Blocks house, the House of Wicca… and so on.

Address
Laidley between Harper and Fairmount | Laidley St | San Francisco

Dog Eared Books (Shop)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

#1 in the city for old book smell and creaky wooden floors. Too small to find anything specific you’re looking for, good enough that you’ll find something else instead.

Address
Dog Eared Books | 900 Valencia Street | San Francisco

Ferry Building (Restaurant)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

If you can get past the bourgie factor and/or you work down the street like I do, you will come to love this place. It has some of the best food in the city, a Blue Bottle coffee, and an observation deck from which you can watch the ferries come and go, emitting their weird beeps and disgorging tourists. The people who work here are great too (whether or not I dated a baker from the Acme Bread kiosk because of a Craigslist missed connection will be left to history).

Address
Ferry Building | 1 Ferry Building | San Francisco

Intersection for the Arts (Gallery)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

A veteran San Francisco arts institution that recently moved from its home in the Mission to the bottom of the San Francisco Chronicle Building. Their gallery regularly puts on exhibitions that are relevant, accessible, and often straight up delightful. As opposed to some of the more buttoned-up galleries, Intersection’s penchant for participatory pieces is met with a regular crowd that tends to be game for participating, which always makes for a good time.

Address
Intersection for the Arts | 925 Mission Street | San Francisco

El Rio (Bar) (Music Venue)

San Francisco by Jenny Odell

Reliably divey, with an ample back patio, ill-advertised punk shows and the occasional appearance of dollar oysters.

Address
El Rio | 3158 Mission Street | San Francisco

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