GlitterGirl’s Top 10 Favorite Places to Fire Spin in San Francisco


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Union Square – I first spun in Union Square when we did a renegade there. We were chased off the plaza by security within a few minutes and I subsequently would not recommend trying it. I would never renegade there now that we do the expo there, but it is one of my favorite places to spin in San Francisco and was in fact one of my favorite Renegade spots.
Palace of Fine Arts – The Palace is a historic and picturesque place to spin and really is a great place to practice. We’ve never been shut down there either. However, it can be very windy there even though there may be some protection from rain when it’s not windy.
Justin Herman Plaza – 2011 revealed the utter awesomeness of Justin Herman Plaza. Though we’d performed there a few years ago for the SFFB fund raiser in December, it wasn’t until we renegaded there several times this summer, the police showed up and we did not get shut down that I realized how great a spot this truly is.
Napoleon Street – When I first started Temple of Poi, we did renegades out front of the ware house where I ran the school on Napoleon Street near Evans. A few summers back, Zihni and I put on a show for my cousin there and even though the police came by, we did not get shut down — pretty much like the old days.
Harry Bridges Plaza – although the fine is a federal find of $5000 and we have gotten some warnings in the past, 50% of the time or more we successfully ran a jam on the median in front of the Ferry Building. Great spot with the Embarcadero traffic moving as it does.
Mint Plaza – I’m not sure other people would enjoy the success I have in this spot since I have a relationship with the plaza security as well as the management staff there. And, I love to spin in the plaza, but only on nights where there are not events at the Mint Building because when there are, an SFFD fire marshal is sure to be on hand and not only will they shut you down, they will ticket you.
Rincon Park (Folsom and Embarcadero by the Bow and Arrow) – Although there are some logistical challenges with the space, by the Bow and Arrow at 3rd and Embarcadero is a great place to spin some fire and capture great photos. The two main challenges revolve on it being a boardwalk. Subsequently it is not that wide and there is a lot of bike traffic in the space, making it a bit less safe than some of the other spots.
Horse shoe pits – The first place I spun fire was in the highly secluded Horse Shoe Pits in Golden Gate Park by the conservatory. This area is set up off the road so you can’t see anyone spinning fire from the street even in the slightest. The downsides to the space are that we have had encounters with skunks and bums there and, as with all spaces in Golden Gate Park, if you park there past 10 PM, you risk getting a ticket.
Beach – Ocean Beach between Lincoln and Fulton Street may be the only public location in San Francisco you don’t need a permit to spin fire. There are some limitations on that, like time of day and size of bonfire crowd and also, be careful about parking restrictions on the street to ensure you don’t get a ticket. I’m not a big fan of spinning on the beach for a few reasons: it’s windy, it’s cold and the ground is generally uneven because it’s sandy. For those nights where you need to get your bonfire fix, bring a few large cardboard boxes that are broken down and make an impromptu dance floor with them in the sand. When you’re done, burn the cardboard to keep warm and leave no trace.
Shakespeare Garden – If you’re looking for a stage like rehearsal area that is pretty secluded and only gets shut down sometimes, check out Shakespeare’s Garden in Golden Gate Park. The space is good for about half a dozen people taking turns spinning so it is not ideal for a jam, but it does work well for a practice. Again, be warned about parking there after 10 pm.

Honorable mentions: Pier 7 for the view and exposure; Minna Street behind the Temple for historic reasons; Golden Gate Park bandshell and the very darkly lit Aids Memorial Grove for sentimental reasons.