Neighborhood Guide: The Castro
Collected by AFAR Traveler, AFAR Contributor
San Francisco is gay all over, but especially here, in the Castro. Expect to find a lively nightlife, entertaining shopping, and rainbow flags wherever you turn—as well as a rich history of the evolution of gay rights.
429 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Built in 1922, the Castro Theatre is a San Francisco Designated Landmark and one of the city’s best-loved and most flamboyant institutions. The exterior juxtaposes a cathedral-like plaster façade with a gauche box-office marquee and vertical neon...
3583 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Starbelly is a farm-to-table joint in the Castro that specializes in “California comfort food.” With its large patio and inventive cocktails—try the Cardamaro-based French Cowboy—it’s popular for brunch as well as for dinner. The menus change...
3870 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Named after Chef Melissa Perello’s grandmother, Frances is a neighborhood fine-dining restaurant where the focus is on simple but elegant cuisine that lets the Northern California ingredients shine. The restaurant is only open for dinner and...
1801 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
It’s Tops Coffee Shop is a time capsule in which the Fifties are alive and rocking, complete with red vinyl booths, coin-operated juke boxes, and a cornucopia of photos, posters, and other memorabilia garnishing the walls. And there are plenty of...
579 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Owned and operated by the same husband and wife team since 1977, Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro has been serving up the same fresh seafood dishes for decades. Head here for classics like shrimp cocktails, clam chowder, seafood salads, and, of...
1942 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Previously a steakhouse and a piano bar, the Mint Karoake Lounge on Market Street has become something of a San Francisco institution. Founded in 1993 in the Castro, the Mint has been voted best karoake bar in the city by various media outlets and...
401 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
Called both the “gay Cheers” and the Gateway to the Castro, Twin Peaks Tavern serves up some of the city’s best cocktails in a corner spot prime for people watching in this bustling neighborhood. Originally opened in 1935, Twin Peaks Tavern is...
4127 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
The history buff must make a trip to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Museum in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, known as a hub during the gay rights movement. Sponsored by the GLBT Historical Society, the museum opened in...
498 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114, USA
No varietal excites obsessives more than pu-erh. The yunnan province tea is oddly complex, especially when prepared in shou form: leaves are fermented and aged for up to 50 years. Try it at the new Samovar tea bar in San Francisco’s Mission...
1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
They had me at the yellow building. I love wandering the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco and both Piccino restaurant and separate coffee bar, are lovely places to gather. The coffee bar on 22nd Street serves carefully crafted Sightglass...
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