San Francisco: 5 best June values

Courtesy Andrew Turner/Flickr

Few people know about the Tenderloin National Forest, an urban garden in Cohen Alley filled with murals, sculptures, and sparse but beautiful landscaping. Created and run by the Luggage Store art gallery, which is worth a visit in itself, the forest is both a work of art and a green oasis for city dwellers. It's open erratically—basically whenever the gardeners are working—but stop by on the 15 of every month, when the public is invited for an open house. June 15, noon-5 p.m., Cohen Alley, off Ellis Street between Leavenworth and Hyde Streets.

Get your mid-century fix at San Francisco's Art Deco and Modernism sale this weekend. With more than 150 vendors, the sale is the largest of its type in the country. Browse through a range of clothing, collectibles, furniture, books, jewelry, and more from the art nouveau, art deco, and mid-century modern eras (that's 1900 to 1980). There's even a vintage fashion show Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. and a swing dance performance on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. $10. Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Concourse Exhibition Center, 8 Street at Brannan, 510/628-4450.

Also happening this weekend, the Farmer's Block Party on Minna Street has a lineup of hip-hop artists playing live, including the Honor Roll Crew, a music group that has been compared to the Wu Tang Clan and was named the best new hip hop clique for 2010 by SF Weekly. The eclectic event also features graffiti-inspired street art, organic and raw food from local farmers, and even some vintage clothes for sale. $5. Saturday, 2-8 p.m., Minna street between Second and New Montgomery streets.

Live the luxe life for a night thanks to a great deal from Luce restaurant and the InterContinental Hotel. Start off with a three-course dinner of seasonal artisanal food at Luce (rated one of the best new restaurants in 2008 by Esquire), which includes a glass of sparkling wine. Follow that up with an included taxi ride up the hill to the InterContinental's Top of the Mark for a martini nightcap and live music overlooking the city—all for $80 per person. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Luce, 888 Howard Street, 415/616-6566. Top of the Mark, 999 California Street, 415/616-6916.

Thursdays mean free salsa nights at the Madrone Bar in the Western Addition neighborhood. Start off with a free salsa lesson, then enjoy more dancing and cocktails, like the special $5 Macchu Pisco Sour, a Peruvian version of margharitas made with clear brandy. The club draws a large number of college students, guaranteeing a full dance floor. 500 Divisadero Street, 415/241-0202.

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