Regardless of your sexual orientation, no trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the Castro, the country’s most famous LGBTQ neighborhood. This progressive, accepting, creative and diverse neighborhood is also home to some of the most welcoming residents in the city. The activism of the '60s and '70s forged a community with sizable political and economic power that rallied around the likes of Harvey Milk.When the historic Twin Peaks bar at Market and Castro streets was built with floor-to-ceiling windows, most took it as a sign that Castro residents were secure in their gay identity. Nearby Noe Valley, a village of wooden Victorian houses, has a touch of the Castro’s flair and an easygoing mix of hipsters and families. It is also colloquially known as Stroller Valley, for the many strollers in the neighborhood.
Start your tour on the Castro’s eponymous main drag and visit the Castro Theatre, an ornate movie palace with a Mighty Wurlitzer-playing organist who performs before every show. On your way out, take note of the golden plaques that make up the Rainbow Honor Walk, paying tribute to LGBTQ pioneers. Bustling and colorful by day, the Castro also comes out to play at night. This fun neighborhood will have you dancing with the locals or soaking up live performances in no time.
Noe Valley's main drag is 24th Street from Castro Street to Dolores Street. On it, you'll find intimate restaurants, bars, and neighborhood pubs, as well as excellent retailers you'll only find in San Francisco.
The liveliest times of year are during Pride in June and the Castro Street Fair in October.