Best Annual Event
San Diego Street Scene
A foaming mob of music and culture; a clash of identities and alter egos; empty plastic cups as plentiful as leaves in a Midwestern fall. Ah, Street Scene, were it not for the rules, we would never leave.
Best Cheap Date
Let's hoof it, baby. More than 12,000 acres, 15 museums, 85 performing arts and culture centers, San Diego Zoo, Frisbee Golf Course, miles of biking and hiking trails, gardens and open space-all within walking distance of downtown. Heads up for "Balboa Park December Nights," Dec. 5 and 6, when all the museums are open free of charge. www.balboapark.org
Best Elected Official
Toni Atkins, District 3 city councilmember
Councilwoman Toni Atkins is most lauded by her constituents for getting the ball rolling on inclusionary housing, but she's also recognized for standing in favor of needle exchange and medical marijuana.
Best Institute of Higher Learning
University of California, San Diego
Is it the medical school? Its location in La Jolla? Or UCSD's "next generation approach to education and research" that makes this University of California campus so appealing? We're not sure, but we do know that the National Research Council ranked UCSD 10th in the nation for quality of its faculty and graduate programs. www.ucsd.edu
San Diego Museum of Man
There was life before Farberware and the Gap. At the Museum of Man, you can check out pre-industrial textiles, but more importantly, you can glimpse into the lives of early humans, including the Mayas, Kumeyaay Indians and Egyptians. A special exhibit, "Efe: Archers of the Congo," opens Nov. 15. 1350 El Prado, Balboa Park. 619-239-2001.
Best Place to Get in Trouble
Troublemakers spill out of the Coaster Bar onto the beach for some late-night wrestling; during the day, canned beers are cool with the cops, but the badges patrol in force looking for underagers.
Best Place to Be Seen
Pacific Beach Bar and Grill
There's no better way to show that you can hang than to return to the bar you were at Saturday night for Sunday brunch; P.B. Bar and Grill is so popular that folks wait in line night and day. 860 Garnet Ave. 619-272-4745. www.pbbarandgrill.com
Torrey Pines Beach to La Jolla Shores
Five miles of beach, rock and wildlife along 100-foot cliffs that is tucked away from the throngs of beach life; it's a good spot to watch hang-gliders and skinny dip in the ocean.
Marilyn Monroe kicked it on Coronado's shores back in the day, and so should you-white sands, natural jetties and a good chance of spotting celebrities.
Mt. Laguna, Cleveland National Forest
Mt. Laguna came close to being scorched from the Cedar fire, but fortunately for campers, it's just as gorgeous as it always was. 858-673-6180
Best Bike Route
Mission Trails Regional Park
The road leading into Mission Trails, Fr. Junipero Serra Trail, is an easy morning ride before work, and the mountain bike trails throughout the park offer challenges and thrills for every level of mountain biker. 1 Fr. Junipero Serra Trail. 619-668-3275. www.mtrp.org
Best Place to People Watch
Mission Beach Boardwalk
Depends on what kind of people you are watching for... well, actually... the boardwalk has it all: Tourists, transients, bikinis, surfers, skaters, joggers and that guy who's choreographed his rollerblade routine to symphony music.
Best Place to Play Chess
In a medieval setting marked by swords, maces and wall-mounted candles, Kadan instigates the competitive urge with break beats and house music. 4696 30th St. 619-640-2500
Best Place to Play Golf
Torrey Pines Golf Course
With two 18-hole courses, Torrey Pines is home to the PGA's annual Buick Invitational, and in 2008 the course will host the U.S. Open. 11480 North Torrey Pines Road. 800.985.4653. www.torreypines golfcourse.com
Best Place to Propose Marriage
La Jolla Cove
In proximity to Scripps Park and the chic La Jolla Village, La Jolla Cove is an enchanting haven carved out of sandstone cliffs by the sea. 1100 Coast Blvd.
Best Place to Relax
There are more than 25 miles of public beach in San Diego County, and all you have to do to hit one is drive west. Leave the headphones at home and let yourself go to the rhythm of the waves. Booze can work, too.
Best Place to Surf
Beginners beware. Windandsea has the county's most envied breaks, but if the coral reefs and rocky shores don't bust you, eager advanced surfers probably will.
Best Domestic Beer
A testament to the effectiveness of brand recognition.
Best Imported Beer
Truly wherever you booze in San Diego, at least one couple in the room is throwing back Coronas.
Ol' Karl was the son of a German brewer, and he was actually born in the brewery. Bottled or tapped, Karl Strauss microbrews have replaced the old favorites in San Diego.
Best Local Brewery
Karl Strauss Brewery
Karl Strauss Breweries have four locations in San Diego, including downtown, La Jolla, Sorrento Mesa and Carlsbad. The restaurant serves American cuisine and the downtown location has a late-night Saturday happy hour that goes till 1 a.m.
Best Romantic Getaway
Hotel Del Coronado
Known lovingly by San Diegans as Hotel Del, this New England-style hotel has boarded Frank Sinatra, Charles Lindbergh and Kate Morgan, among many others. Built in 1888, Hotel Del Coronado was voted the No. 1 wedding destination by the Travel Channel. 1500 Orange Ave. 619-435-6611. www.hoteldel.com
Best Bowling Alley
Mira Mesa Bowl
In addition to 44 lanes, a bar and video arcade, Mira Mesa Bowl also has karaoke, and bowling2u.com voters gave it high marks for quality and fun. 8210 Mira Mesa Blvd. 858-578-0500
3093 Clairemont Drive. 619-276-2240.
The Magnet, the Living Room, Rice, Beach, Sweat, Wet-the W has a name for every room and wherever you end up, the scene is high-profile socializing with Joe Neighborhood. The décor is modern art deco to cruise liner patio and all things hip and luxurious. 421 West B St. 619-231-8220
Best Tourist Attraction
San Diego Zoo
Can you think of another place that will entertain and exhaust the kids, while keeping your interest, as well? Coming soon, baby panda viewing. 2920 Zoo Drive, 619-234-3153. www.sandiegozoo.org
Old Town State Historic Park
Viejas boasts the biggest poker payout in San Diego history. Two lucky guys split a $63,343 jackpot. Who's gonna be next? 5000 Willow Road. 800-84-POKER. www.viejas.com