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Guide Gay Castro, San Francisco

The "City by the Bay" is one of the world's most panoramic, open and vibrant, attracting millions of tourists each year. Gay San Francisco is absolutely integral to that well-deserved reputation, integrated into every aspect of the city's life, from nightlife to politics to fashion to construction. And gay life is hardly limited geographically to the Castro; you'll find gay people everywhere. Gay bars, restaurants and business are sprinkled through many of the city's neighborhoods.


Castro en San Francisco


The bar/club scene here is incredibly diverse in age, race and interests. Whereas once the Castro wasdominated by middle-class white men, today it is ever bit as latin, asian and even African-American. The transgender community has a special place here, and difference is honored as perhaps nowhere and no time else.

show Palma de mallorcaThere's a large leather & "bear" community, a number of places for the younger club/partyboys & girls to dance, and a variety of neighborhood and video bars where crowds mix liberally. It's the special kind of place where a queer Silicon Valley billionaire and a recent gay immigrant with little more than a job might socialize in the same bar and think nothing of the difference. Truly San Francisco earns its reputation as the cool, gray city of love.

The Castro (or Castro), largely considered the center of the gay universe, was the first openly and unabashedly gay neighborhood in the country back in the seventies when an influx of gay men permanently changed the character of Eureka Valley and of San Francisco as a whole.

This is the home district of Harvey Milk, the slain city counsel representative who was the first openly gay government official ever elected to office in the United States.



The throbbing heart of the neighborhood is at Market and Castro Street where you will find the Castro Theatre, a 1920’s movie palace where live piano music entertains audiences before features.

show Palma de mallorcaA number of film festivals and an eclectic blend of films are the staple of the Castro Theatre. You will find events including Sing-Along-Night, the LGBT Film Festival, the SF Independent Film Festival and, on occasion, the Jewish Film Festival—to name just a few. The surrounding area both along Castro Street to 20th street and down Market Street are packed with restaurants, specialized stores, and gay bars. A campy sensibility pervades the area and manifests in the ironic names of establishments like Moby Dick (a famous local bar with an aquarium over the bar) or the Sit and Spin (where you can eat and wash your clothes at the same time). With sex aid stores and S & M clothing boutiques, this is definitely an adult rated section of the Castro.

On most weekday mornings, the Castro is much like any other neighborhood in the city. Few are the Castro jobs that can pay for the high rents in the area, so a steady stream of suited professionals takes to the local MUNI lines that fairy them to jobs in the financial district or the BART stations. Some drive, but even with city issued parking permits, finding parking in the Castro is notoriously difficult unless your apartment has a garage. Because the Castro is so well served by three separate MUNI lines however, a car is unnecessary for most residents and it is not unusual to find twenty-somethings who have never learned to drive.

As people get off work, however, and as the sun drops behind the hills, the Castro comes alive in its nightly celebration of gay lifestyles. Just about any night of the week, but especially on the weekends, the corner of Castro and Market fills with throngs of guys—a virtual army of gay men looking to party with other gay men.

Duboce Triangle which is a satellite neighborhood extending north of Market along Castro Street and Duboce Avenue, is the up and coming neighborhood at the edge of the Castro (often considered a neighborhood onto itself). Many little restaurants and stores have recently taken up residence there and the neighborhood seems to be undergoing the sort of gentrifying changes that transformed Noe Valley in the 90’s. It is currently an eclectic mix of gay and straight, young and married.

show Palma de mallorcaFree Breathtaking Views at Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks (501 Twin Peaks Blvd) is a must-see when visiting (or living in!) San Francisco. It’s one of the most spectacular views in the city. This set of high peaks offers stunning 360-degree panoramic views of San Francisco, the bay and the beautiful ocean.

Free Movie at Dolores Park
Film Night In The Park is an annual summer film festival (June-September) of favorite flicks new and old presented at our beloved Dolores Park (and other Bay Area venues). Admission is free but they do encourage donations. Goodies like drinks, candy and popcorn are available at all screenings. Arrive by 8pm and be sure to bring blankets and pillows!

Free Concerts at Jane Warner Plaza
The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District hosts live performances at the Jane Warner Plaza every year. With music and entertainment ranging from Celtic rock and jazz to literary performances and even cheerleading, "Live in the Castro" has something for everyone to enjoy!

Free Epic Fun at the Seward Street Slides
You’ve got to try out one of Castro's favorite places to play, the Seward Street Slides (Seward St & Douglass St)! These concrete slides are built into the ground and are loads of fun. Bring a piece of cardboard, wear sturdy pants, and prepare for a joyous ride! Open 9am-5pm.

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