Castro District, San Francisco

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 47 Reviews

Castro and Market Streets

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Castro Theater on Castro Street
    Castro Theater on Castro Street
    by Jefie
  • Gay art and Iconic Bagdad Cafe!
    Gay art and Iconic Bagdad Cafe!
    by machomikemd
  • the Flag!
    the Flag!
    by machomikemd
  • cheap_tourist's Profile Photo

    The Castro

    by cheap_tourist Updated Jul 20, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro Theatre

    I first learned about the Castro District from the Travel Channel's feature on San Francisco. It's interesting to know that there is a place where gays and lesbians predominate--a distinct community.

    I have been to this area several times before but I have never felt at ease. I always worry that I may be breaking some taboo that I don't know about. For example, I don't just take pictues left and right because I may be stepping on other people's privacy. But, hey, it's just me. I am sure that the Castro, with its unique shops and restaurants, is a wonderful place to explore at leisure.

    It is easy to go to the Castro. Take the "F" vintage streetcar; its terminal, which is not Fisherman's Wharf, is the Castro.

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • bluebug's Profile Photo

    Gay Pride

    by bluebug Written Jun 30, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you're in town at the end of June you need to go to Pride. It's the staple event of this city. People of all walks of life will come out and support or celebrate gay pride. It just feels good to have this kind of unity in our city. On the Sat. night before the Gay Parade there is another big event called, 'The Dyke March' which is followed by a huge street party called'Pink Saturday" . Everyone is so friendly and it's lots of fun with lots of random open house parties you can pop into during the march on your way to the big party at the end

    Was this review helpful?

  • mydreamquest's Profile Photo

    Gay Pride in San Francisco

    by mydreamquest Written May 29, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro and Market Street

    Landmarked by the avante garde Castro Theatre, which plays avante garde movies of yesterday and today, this area represents the central hub of San Francisco's influential Gay/Lesbian community.

    I first lived on Hartford Street, one block away from here back in 1980, and, it hasn't changed that much. In fact, 3 or 4 blocks down on 17th and Church Street, I went to Everett Middle School. My Homeroom Teacher used to teach O.J. Simpson when he went to school there.

    Around the time I arrived in San Francisco, the AIDS epidemic hit hard. There many poignant stories of people lost, and as I walked down 18th Street, I felt the ghosts of those many Gay Americans who died of AIDS. There's a specialness to me about the Castro District. If you walk about it at night, there's even a sort of New England haunted November feeling about it.

    Moby Dick on Hartford and 18th is where I seriously injured myself while learning how to skateboard. It's a special place. Walk around the Castro, start off at the ironical Chevron Gas Station (incidentally where many gay bashing occurred, the perfect metaphor of Corporate Conservatism attempting to Pacify alternative methods of expression).

    A great movie to watch which gives meaning to Gay Pride is "The Life and Times of Harvey Milk." A documentary of the United States first openly gay politician.

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • smschley's Profile Photo

    Castro District

    by smschley Updated Mar 14, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro Theatre

    SF has a large gay community and its center is still the Castro District, known worldwide as the "gay Mecca." A neighborhood of gift stores, boutiques, restaurants, bars, clubs, queer churches and community centers, services, street fairs and colorful characters.

    After WWII, many gay men moved to the area. In the midst of the social activism of the 1960s and '70s, and the opening of Twin Peaks bar (the first openly gay bar) a community started and the Castro as we know it was born. The Castro Theater is the main landmark for the Castro area. Built in 1922 the huge art deco style theater and its grand old Wurlitzer organ offer a rare experience for movie goers. People come to the Castro Theater from all over, it's a special place for all movie fans, but it's particularly important to the gay community.

    There are three big events in the Castro every year. In June, the night before Sunday's Pride Parade the Castro celebrates “Pink Saturday”. The boys strut their stuff while girls who've just completed the Dyke March holler and hoot. Then in October, the district goes wild, first at the Castro Street Fair and then the world's biggest Halloween party, which brings thousands to watch outrageously costumed men and women in leather.

    The neighborhood is friendly to all and you have as much chance of finding Yuppies, Locals or Tourist as you do gay men, or lesbians pushing baby strollers. A half block down Castro Street from the theatre is Cliff's Variety, more than just a hardware store, its’ nickname is the Gay Home Depot. On 18th Street at Noe Street is Moby Dick's (no comment) one of the most popular gay bars, if you continue on down 18th to Dolores Street the female lesbian area begins. On the other side of 18th and back toward Castro Street is a restaurant called Harvey's. Inside you will see a heart, this means you are in the heart of the Castro, the food is pretty good and their specialty is breakfast.

    Was this review helpful?

  • SnoopySue's Profile Photo

    Castro District

    by SnoopySue Written Feb 24, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro

    At the upper end of Market Street is the Castro District, an area that caters to its largely gay and lesbian population. This is very friendly neighborhood with a lot of interesting people. When we were there, transvestites organized some kind of quasi-elections or beauty contest, I am not sure. But it was very funny to watch how they support their favorites!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Andraf's Profile Photo

    Castro

    by Andraf Updated Jan 19, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro Theater, San Francisco

    The Castro district is the center of the San Francisco's gay community. I live nearby and often come here to eat, there are many good restaurants in this area. The neighborhood centers around the intersections of Castro and 18th streets. It's a lovely neighborhood, alive at all times of day. Castro started emerging as a gay district in the early 1970, when gay San Franciscans began buying properties in this area and gay bars started opening here. The side streets are also worth exploring, lined as they are with rows of beautiful Victorian houses. You'll notice many of the windows displaying the rainbow flag. One of the area's highlights is the Castro Theater, a beautiful building where you can catch some interesting films (let's just say that you won't find the latest Hollywood blockbuster here). On Halloween the streets are closed to car traffic and a big costumes party takes place here.

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian

    Was this review helpful?

  • Sandi-2004's Profile Photo

    THE CASTRO DISTRICT

    by Sandi-2004 Updated Dec 3, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Castro is home to a large gay population. Castro Street has many creative shops, restaurants, cafes, and the wonderful Castro Theater. Built in 1922 the Castro Theater, 429 Castro Street, survives as one of the last grand movie palaces, featuring revivals and pre-film concerts on the mighty Wurlitzer. One Christmas, friends and I attended the Gay Men's Chorus performance at the theater. It was excellent. At Halloween the streets are blocked off and a huge costume party takes place at Castro and Market. Thousands of people from all over the city attend, as well as tourists. You can see some amazing and fun costumes.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Party Town

    by allybobb Written Nov 3, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I went to Castro expecting the unexpected and I got that. This area is alive with excitement and the nightclub scene is crazy. I went to three bars/clubs and paid a grand total of $2. I am a straight male who is not homophobic so I knew that nothing would bother me. I also went with my girlfriend who found it odd as did I , having males try to pick me up and not her. The only thing negative that I can say about Castro is that the guys are far too touchy and aggressive. Other than that, the DJ's in the clubs are awesome and the area in itself is fast and as I said before ,alive. I would recommend it to anyone,straight or gay but be patient if you are straight because the gay men will try to intimidate you. It is alll in good fun.

    Was this review helpful?

  • katpanou's Profile Photo

    Colourful Castro Neighbourhood

    by katpanou Written Oct 3, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a stroll around Castro

    Castro is the gay neighbourhood of San Francisco but you don't have to be gay to have a great time and enjoy yourself there.

    One of the highlights of a visit to SF is having coffee in the Castro and watch the people go by or try one of its unique restaurants.

    Was this review helpful?

  • sarahandgareth's Profile Photo

    The Castro

    by sarahandgareth Updated May 26, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Castro Theatre

    The Castro is without a doubt the most famously gay area on the planet, a small slice of real estate that is now predominantly gay-owned and populated. It's pretty-boy heavy, as even the Castro's own web presence might imply (Valencia St in the Mission, a short-ish walk away, has a more lesbian-oriented collection of businesses).

    The Castro is very much on the tourist trail, but there's not, per se, all that much to see in terms of buildings and so forth: the area's claim to fame is the fact that gay people are very much in the majority, and while straight people are more than welcome to visit, they should be respectful of local mores. Tolerance wasn't always the byword: when the gay population became increasingly vocal in the 1970s, other residents fled more or less en masse.

    Harvey Milk Plaza may well be where you arrive by MUNI subway, and that's appropriate, since no-one is more closely identified with the struggles of San Francisco's gay and lesbian community. Milk, the city's first gay Supervisor, was assassinated in 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone. There are shadows of other traumas, too, such as the storefront dedicated to the AIDS quilt just next to the Castro Theater, a beautiful old building.

    There are plenty of other interesting stores, too, especially if you're interested in costumes, leather gear, or adult paraphernalia, or, on the somewhat tamer side, books with gay themes at A Different Light.

    Was this review helpful?

  • jglsongs's Profile Photo

    Gay, bi, straight, trans, metro or just curious...

    by jglsongs Updated Apr 17, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    the Castro

    Castro may be synonymous with rainbow flags, but it's more than just the GLBT Capital of the World: Castro is a very typical San Francisco neighborhood- eclectic architecture, shopping, eating, walking, hills, views, and streetcars.

    The landmark structure, the Castro Theatre (which I wish the management would brighten up the marquee) is the heart of the Castro neighborhood. Their website is www.thecastrotheatre.com and features a live Wurlitzer organ.

    By day or night, there's a lot of life going on.

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian

    Was this review helpful?

  • neopetsfan's Profile Photo

    Castro..

    by neopetsfan Updated Mar 13, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When you visit S.F. don't forget Castro! It's a small neighbourhood with a large gay community. There are a lot of nice little shops. There is one little hamburger place {sorry but I can't remember the name} where you can create your own hamburgermeal, and so we did. A very friendly and colourfull district.

    Was this review helpful?

  • AngelRed's Profile Photo

    The Sunniest Place in Town

    by AngelRed Updated Jul 12, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Seriously. It can be 50 degrees and foggy in the rest of the city, but the Castro seems to be permanently sunny and bright and pleasently 65 with a nice breeze.
    At least, it has been for the past 6 weeks I've been living here.

    It's very...well...colorful, too. The ubiquitous rainbow flags adorn everything they can be hung or draped on. It's a nice part of town to hang out - tons of great little shops and restaurants, and a calmer pace than say, Union Square. No one here is rushing, so if you are, you're going to find your way blocked by the gaggles of people parked in the sidewalk to socialize.

    If you've got the kids with you, you might want to steer clear of Castro and 18th. That's where the handful of adult shops lie.
    Otherwise, this isn't your father's Castro. The men walking around in biker black leather and chains seem to be a rare sight nowadays. I suppose the younger set isn't into that as much.

    While you're in the area, stop by Plant it Earth and check out their fantastic selection of orchids. Drop in Books Inc. and support your local indie bookstore. And for lunch or dinner you can choose from Americana greasy spoon to every type of ethnic cuisine.

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tami_G's Profile Photo

    The Castro

    by Tami_G Written Jul 1, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    @ The Castro

    If you are gay: visit the Castro!
    If you are not gay: visit the Castro also!
    Visiting the Castro neighborhood is another SF experience. It's a really nice area with beautiful houses, more friendly people, lots of shops, and rainbow flags!

    Related to:
    • Gay and Lesbian

    Was this review helpful?

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo

    The Pride of San Francisco: The After-Parties

    by Geisha_Girl Written Jun 30, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Post Parade Party you'll find us at the Zuni

    After spending a gorgeous sunny afternoon at the Civic Center celebration, the natural place to flock is to the Castro area for a late afternoon cocktail and more people-watching.

    Zuni Cafe is "one of those places we go when we want to feel good about life and don't want to get dressed up to celebrate it." When the day is unusually sunny and bright and we're thinking of a crisp cool cocktail, the Zuni is the place for it.

    Cool, good-looking crowd.....and a dressed up bar that serves killer Bloody Marys and of course.....mojitos!

    Best place for us to unwind after being surrounded by such *fabulousness* at the Gay Pride Event.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Francisco

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

94 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Castro District
4.0 out of 5 stars
218 Opinions
0.7 miles away
3.5 out of 5 stars
191 Opinions
1 miles away
Show Prices
3.5 out of 5 stars
96 Opinions
1.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all San Francisco hotels