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Gay Guide • SAN FRANCISCO | What to See, Where to Stay, Best Gay Bars and Restaurants | LGBT Guide


GAY SAN FRANCISCO

Discover this City with our Quick and Practical Guide to Visit the Best Attractions, Savor Typical Dishes and Have Fun in the Best Gay Bars. All this through the Rainbow Eyes of the World Mappers

 

What to See, Best Places to Sleep, Where to Eat and to Have Fun in

SAN FRANCISCO ?

Find it out with the World Mappers !

 

SAN FRANCISCO LGBT

The LGBTQ + community of San Francisco is one of the largest and most important in the world, as well as being one of the most important in the history of the struggle for the rights of LGBTQ + people. In San Francisco "you are truly welcome as you are", you are welcome as you are, this is the motto of this city. Here you are granted the right to be as extravagant and extraordinary as you want. The queer community is welcome throughout the city, but the epicenter of gay life is undoubtedly the Castro neighborhood, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States, which still remains a symbol of LGBTQ + activism around the world to this day. San Francisco is a young, dynamic city that has a lot to offer to those who decide to visit it. There are few cities in the world with a more open attitude towards the gay community or with a higher percentage of the population being part of the LGBTQ + community.

WHAT TO SEE in SAN FRANCISCO?

10 THINGS TO SEE in SAN FRANCISCO

Golden Gate Bridge & Presidio of San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge, which opened in 1937, is the symbol of the city and one of the things to see in San Francisco. This huge 227-meter-high, nearly 3-kilometer-long orange bridge spanning the San Francisco Bay is seen in many films and photographs but seeing it live is truly thrilling. There are several viewpoints overlooking the Golden Gate and if there is little fog, the views can be breathtaking. One of the best vantage points to see the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from above, and our favorite vantage point, is Battery Spencer, an ancient San Francisco Bay protection fort. Another great place to see the Golden Gate up close and cross the bridge on foot is Battery East, a lookout inside Presidio Park. Walking or playing sports in Presidio Park, located near the Golden Gate at the northern end of the peninsula, is one of the best things to do in San Francisco. Every weekend, this huge park brings families together to enjoy a picnic on the grass or relax on Crissy Field beach. If you are looking for a quieter beach with the best views of the Golden Gate, we recommend that you walk to the wild Baker Beach.

Fisherman's Wharf & Pier 39

Fisherman's Wharf is the restored old harbor and fishing district that has become one of the most popular places to visit in San Francisco. To reach Fisherman's Wharf you can take one of the historic trams (the cable cars) of the city and start the journey by tasting the delicious ice cream of the Ghirardelli chocolate shop, the best known in San Francisco. From Ghirardelli Square you can start a route through the different piers such as Hyde Street Pier with several historic ships and Pier 45, where the SS Jeremiah O'Brien and the USS Pampanito submarine, both from WWII, are located. Before leaving this dock, don't forget to enter the Musée Mecanique, which contains hundreds of old arcade machines. To conclude your Fisherman's Wharf itinerary, you can spend some time at the famous Pier 39, which is home to an open-air shopping mall and an incredible colony of sun-soaked sea lions. This area is also one of the best to try Clam Chowder, the clam chowder, one of the most typical dishes of San Francisco.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island, located in San Francisco Bay, known as The Rock, became the most famous prison in the world. The prison operated from 1934 to 1963 and today his visit is one of the best experiences and one of the things not to miss in San Francisco. It is essential to book your ticket well in advance on the official Alcatraz page to avoid the risk of being left without a seat. To reach the island you have to get on one of the boats that leave from Pier 33 all day (it is also possible to do the night tour of the prison). During the tour with an audio guide it is possible to see different rooms and cells of the prison, such as the one in which Al Capone was staying or the prisoner played by Clint Eastwood in the film "Escape from Alcatraz". The visit, with audio guide, including the boat trip, can last about 3 hours.

Castro District

The Castro district is a great example of diversity and freedom. It is one of the places where there has been the greatest fight for the rights of the LGBT community in the city and for the acceptance of homosexuality throughout the country. Castro is one of those places that leaves no one indifferent and that you cannot miss if you are in San Francisco. Among the most important places in the neighborhood are the theater, the colorful streets around house number 18, the Victorian houses and the former home of Harvey Milk, one of the great landmarks of this community. In addition, here are also some of the best restaurants to eat in San Francisco such as Anchor Oyster Bar & Seafood Market, bakeries such as the famous Hot Cookie (for "spicy" shaped cookies) and bars serving delicious sandwiches such as Ike's Love & Sandwiches. .

Twin Peaks

One of the best things to do in San Francisco at sunset or sunrise is to reach the top of Twin Peaks, the best viewpoint in the city. These twin hills, nearly 300 meters high, offer panoramic views of the entire city and the Bay Area, and if you're lucky on a clear day you can see the Golden Gate or Alcatraz. We reached the top of the hill by car, although it is accessible by public transport or, if you are very fit, on foot or by bicycle. The best time to climb to the top of Twin Peaks is an hour before sunset to see San Francisco take on breathtaking colors.

Parco Golden Gate

Golden Gate Park is a huge city park in San Francisco, larger than Central Park in New York. One of the most beautiful places to see in San Francisco.

If you don't want to walk a lot, we recommend that you rent a bike or take the minibus that crosses the park and with which you can visit places like the Japanese Garden, Shakespeare's Garden, Great Dutch Mill, Rose Garden and Stow Lake.

Inside Golden Gate Park, don't miss a visit to the California Academy of Sciences Museum, a building designed by Renzo Piano and considered one of the best natural history museums in the world.

Union Square

It takes its name from the numerous demonstrations in support of the Union army during the civil war. Union Square is one of San Francisco's most popular places to shop and stay. Well connected to the rest of the city thanks to the famous cable cars and full of events of all kinds, this square and its surroundings are home to art galleries, restaurants and large shopping centers such as Macy's and Bloomingdale's. A few blocks from Union Square are Yerba Buena Gardens and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), which houses works by great masters such as Picasso and Dalí.

Lombard Street

The crookedest road in the United States. Another of the best things to see in San Francisco. Between Hyde and Leavenworth, this small stretch of road has 8 hairpin bends that allow cars to overcome a 27 degree incline. From the top of the road you also have nice views over the city.

City Hall

City Hall, destroyed in the 1906 earthquake that killed around 10,000 people and destroyed most of the city, is another must-visit in San Francisco. After its complete destruction, it was decided to build a new building that resembled the "Les Invalides" palace in Paris.


Little Italy, Chinatown & Japantown

The Little Italy neighborhood, much smaller than it once was, is another must-see in San Francisco. Most Italian shops are located on Columbus Avenue and Broadway Street. Located in North Beach, this picturesque neighborhood is perfect for trying good Italian cuisine at one of its most famous restaurants such as Piccolo Forno, Golden Boy Pizza and Molinari Delicatessen, which serves delicious sandwiches. Also, don't forget to visit the City Lights Bookstore and the Church of St. Peter and Paul, where Marilyn Monroe married famous baseball player Joe Di Maggio. Close to Little Italy is the Coit Tower, a huge white tower that stands atop Telegraph Hill offering fantastic views of San Francisco.

Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest outside of Asia, is another must-see in San Francisco. Entering through the Dragon Gate you will be transported to a world of red lanterns, temples, theaters, restaurants and hundreds of shops concentrated around Grant Avenue. After trying Chinese food at one of its most famous restaurants such as Hong Kong Clay Pot or Good Mong Kok Bakery, enjoy the more traditional atmosphere on Stockton Street and Portsmouth Square.

Finally, you cannot miss a visit to Japantown, the oldest and largest Japanese district in the United States. Although the Japanese settled in this area more than 150 years ago, embellishing it with temples and other buildings, for several years they were persecuted due to the outbreak of the Second World War, until their expulsion in 1942. Today the district has several tourist attractions like a 5-story pagoda, the Plaza de la Paz and the Japan Center, a shopping mall with Japanese shops and restaurants.

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

Visiting this city at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:

  • Day 1 - San Francisco (Alcatraz & Golden Gate Bridge) - Google Maps

  • Day 2 - San Francisco (Castro, Twin Peaks & Gold Gate Park) - Google Maps

(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our itinerary)

 

10 BEST EXCURSIONS from SAN FRANCISCO

We advise you to book the best excursions here: Viator - Musement - Get Your Guide

Yosemite National Park

Big Sur

Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley & Muir Woods

Sequoia National Park

Monterey e Carmel-by-the-Sea

Point Reyes and Tomales Bay

Skyline Boulevard (Hwy 35) and Woodside

Gold Country (Sierra Nevada Foothills)

Half Moon Bay, Pescadero & Santa Cruz

San Jose & Gilroy

 

Click'nGo - Click on Hotels, Restaurants, Bars & Clubs

to find them on the Map or visit their Website

 

WHERE TO SLEEP in SAN FRANCISCO?

10 BEST GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS in SAN FRANCISCO


SoMa

SoMa, or South of Market, is one of San Francisco's liveliest and most colorful areas. This area is also home to many gay cultural venues, such as the Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District. At the western end of SoMa is San Francisco's largest group of gay bars outside Castro, many of which favor a leather and bear scene. Among the many, the Hole in the Wall Saloon, Lone Star Saloon, Powerhouse and Eagle SF. Every September, Folsom Street hosts one of the most special events in all of San Francisco, the Folsom Street Fair for lovers of leather and BDSM. SoMa has something for everyone: The Giants home for sports fans, the San Francisco MoMA gallery for art lovers, and several upscale restaurants and nightclubs.


Castro

In the area are the Castro Theater, the LGBT Historic Museum, Dolores Park, the LGBT Walk of Fame, many restaurants, adult shops and the legendary Twin Peaks Tavern with its huge windows overlooking the street. In this area cheaper accommodation can be found more easily than in the center, although the quality of cleanliness and services offered is often lower.


Union Square

Union Square is the best option for staying in San Francisco. Right in the center of the city, in the Financial District, Union Square is considered the heart of San Francisco. This is a very lively area, both day and night, and is perfectly connected to the rest of the city, as well as being within walking distance of many of the must-see spots in San Francisco.

In addition to all this, Union Square offers a wide range of accommodation, to suit all budgets and a wide choice of restaurants. In our opinion, the Union Square area is the best area to stay in San Francisco, especially if it's your first time in the city.


Chinatown

The Chinatown district is the low cost solution for those who do not want to leave the city center. Just five minutes from Union Square opens up a totally different world that offers slightly more affordable accommodation options than other central neighborhoods.


Fishermans Wharf & Bay Area

Fisherman's Wharf, another of the best areas to stay in San Francisco. Known for being one of the most touristy areas in the city and one of the most visited, the entire area from Fisherman's Wharf to the North Beach area is perfect for staying in San Francisco. In this area, as in Union Square, you will be very close to the main attractions of the city and you will have a good choice of accommodation, at different prices, although generally not quite cheap, and a wide range of restaurants from many types of gastronomy. . Plus, you'll be very close to where ferries are taken to visit Alcatraz Island, one of the best tours and excursions in San Francisco.


San Francisco Proper Hotel **** (area: SoMa)

San Francisco Marriott Union Square **** (area: Union Square) ® Tested by World Mappers

W San Francisco **** (area: SoMa)

Axiom Hotel **** (area: Union Square)

Hotel Zephyr **** (area: SoMa)

Hotel Zelos **** (area: SoMa)

Hotel Abri Union Square *** (area: Union Square)

Hampton Inn San Francisco *** (area: SoMa)

Beck's Motor Lodge *** (area: Castro)

Twin Peaks Hotel ** (area: Castro)

 

WHERE TO EAT in SAN FRANCISCO?

10 BEST RESTAURANTS in SAN FRANCISCO Quality / Price

€€€ - Hog Island Oyster Co. (Ristorante di Pesce)

€€ - Chowders Pier 39 (Ottima Clam Chowder tipica) ® Tested by World Mappers

€€ - The Codmother Fish & Chips (Fish & Chips) ® Tested by World Mappers

€€ - Swan Oyster Depot (Ristorante di Pesce)

€€ - Wipeout Bar & Grill (Ristorante Californiano)

€€ - Pacific Catch (Ristorante di Pesce)

€ - In-N-Out Burger (Fast Food - Hamburger) ® Tested by World Mappers

€ - Golden Boy Pizza (Pizzeria) ® Tested by World Mappers

€ - Tommy’s Joynt (Ristorante Americano) ® Tested by World Mappers

€ - La Taqueria (Ristorante Messicano) ® Tested by World Mappers

 

GAY NIGHTLIFE in SAN FRANCISCO

10 BEST GAY PLACES, BARS & CLUBS in SAN FRANCISCO

Twin Peaks Tavern (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

Lookout (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

Beaux (Gay Bar & Club) ® Tested by World Mappers

The Edge (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

440 Castro St (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

The Mix (Gay Bar)

Moby Dick (Gay Bar)

Hi Tops (Gay Bar) ® Tested by World Mappers

Wild Side West (Gay Bar & Club)

The Eagle Tavern (Gay Bar)

 

TRAVEL TIPS about SAN FRANCISCO by World Mappers

  • To see all the major attractions of the city without spending a fortune, it is advisable to buy a City Card which allows you to save on the overall cost of individual tickets. Depending on the days spent in the city and the number of attractions you want to visit, you can choose between different Passes.

What passes are available for San Francisco?

  • San Francisco CityPASS

  • Sightseeing Flex Pass

  • Go City San Francisco - All Inclusive Pass

  • Go City San Francisco - Explorer Pass

Is it convenient to buy a pass?

If you want to visit more than two attractions in San Francisco, then it is worth buying a pass. Before proceeding with the purchase, however, we recommend comparing the various types of passes, to check the attractions included, the cost of the individual tickets and thus understand if the pass actually saves money.

Is it possible to skip the lines with the passes?

The Pass does not always allow you to skip the line. In some places you can skip the line at the ticket office, in others you have to queue to show your pass.

Do they also include public transport?

Some passes include the more touristic means of transport, such as Hop - On, Hop - Off or ferries; others, however, such as CityPASS, also include Cable Cars.

What pass is Alcatraz included in?

The CityPASS includes the visit to Alcatraz, only if you buy the pass on the official Alcatraz website. All other passes do not include a visit to Alcatraz.

  • Take a look to San Francisco's most famous Painted Ladies, Victorian-style homes painted in different pastel colors located near Alamo Square Park. These seven houses, located between 710 and 722 Steiner Street, have become very popular thanks to the "Forced Parents" series and are one of those must-see places in San Francisco. Plus, from the top of the park you can take one of the best photos of San Francisco, with the houses in the foreground and the silhouette of the city in the background. One of the most beautiful places to visit in San Francisco.

  • Don't miss the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, located near the Castro. A must see place in San Francisco. In this quiet neighborhood you will find all kinds of second hand shops like Buffalo Exchange, hippie style, vinyls and places where you can listen to live music. Don't miss the home of the great Jimi Hendrix and the Victorian houses that are located on Waller Street, between Masonic and Ashbury and at the intersection of Haight and Masonic.

CABLE CAR in SAN FRANSISCO - HOW TO BOOK?

You cannot visit San Francisco without getting on at least once on a Cable Car, the typical cable car, the last network of its kind in the world. Tickets (at a cost of 8 dollars) can be purchased at the departure stations of the trams, via the app (MuniMobile) as for all public transport in the city, or directly from the on-board staff. You can also buy a day pass for unlimited rides for $ 21 or a 3-day pass for $ 32. Click Here for the San Francisco Cable Car Route Map.

The BEST PANORAMIC POINTS of SAN FRANCISCO to SEE the GOLDEN GATE:

Here are the best viewpoints to admire the Golden Gate and San Francisco:

  1. Golden Gate Postcard ViewPoint (our favourite!)

  2. Viewpoint Golden Gate Bridge

  3. Marshall's Beach

  4. Battery Spencer

  5. Golden Gate Bridge View Vista Point

VISIT ALCATRAZ: How to Get there, Tickets and Tips

You can't go to San Francisco without visiting Alcatraz. During your visit to the city you cannot miss a stop at the most famous prison in the world. It is located on an island 2 kilometers off the coast of San Francisco. In this paragraph we tell you how to best visit Alcatraz. Alcatraz is the most famous prison to see in the United States and probably in the whole world. It is currently not operational, but from 1934 to 1963 it was the country's highest security federal prison. The most dangerous criminals in the United States have been locked up here. But why were they locked up in Alcatraz? Because escaping from there was almost impossible. Due to the high maintenance costs, J.F. Kennedy decided to close the prison in 1963.


How to Get to Alcatraz

There is only one company licensed to visit Alcatraz, Alcatraz Cruises, which operates all boats to the island. Although Alcatraz Island is a national park, its admission is not included in the US National Parks pass. It is very important to book your tickets in advance especially if you are planning to visit Alcatraz from March to October. You can also buy them on the same day at Alcatraz Cruises ticket counters, but in this case there is a good chance of running out of tickets.


How much does it cost to visit Alcatraz and How to buy tickets

It depends on the tour you want to do. There are 5 options for visiting Alcatraz, although we will focus on the three most common and most interesting.

First tour - $ 39.90. Like the standard visit but has a single departure at 8:45 am. It is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds. You will be the first to visit Alcatraz!

Standard tour - $ 39.90. It is the most common option for visiting Alcatraz. There are lots of times available throughout the day.

Alcatraz Night Tour - $ 47.30. If you are looking for a special visit, this is undoubtedly the most interesting option.


What the Ticket includes

Admission includes round-trip ferry travel to Alcatraz Island and an audio guide delivered to you inside the prisons. In total, it's about 20 minutes each way. Tickets do not have marked times, the only time to respect is the departure time. Once on the island you can stay as long as you want. There is no need to book a return boat to return to San Francisco. When you want to return, queue up and board the first available ship.

INSTAGRAMMABLE SAN FRANCISCO

Instagrammable Places to See in San Francisco

Don't miss the best instagrammable places in San Francisco, here are our favorites:

Marshall’s Beach

Painted Ladies at Alamo Square

Lombard Street Mission District

Hyde Street for San Francisco Cable Car

Golden Gate Overlook

Battery Spencer

California Street

Conservatory of Flowers

Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line & Lovers Lane

"SECRET SAN FRANCISCO"

Unusual and Particular Places to See in San Francisco

Outside the classic places to visit of the city, there is a "Secret San Francisco" that has simply bewitched us. Here are the 10 Things and Places to See of the Secret San Francisco:

  1. Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze - A psychedelic maze in San Francisco Bay. This labyrinth is located in an anonymous building on Pier 39 in the Fisherman's Wharf area. A disorienting ensemble of columns and mirrors and psychedelic lights. If you are in San Francisco you cannot miss this experience.

  2. Secret Tiled Staircase - A hidden staircase leads to stunning views of San Francisco. 163 steps fully decorated with mosaic tiles, a colorful staircase in San Francisco's quiet Sunset neighborhood. This neighborhood has few other tourist attractions, but if you find the ladder you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the city. To find the Secret Tiles Staircase go to the intersection of Moraga St and 16th Ave.

  3. La Casa "Full House" - This Victorian style cottage in the historic Fillmore neighborhood was the set of the popular late 1980s sitcom "Full House", which aired in Italy under the title "Papa's friends". The house is a private residence, therefore ownership must be respected.

  4. Hotel Vertigo - A historic hotel that had a part in Hitchcock's film of the same name, Vertigo.

  5. Dangling Legs - A pair of giant sexy legs poking out of the window of the Piedmont Boutique in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, a shop where you can find bizarre and excessive clothing. The boutique's legs have become a neighborhood icon and are even featured in San Francisco's Madame Tussauds wax museum, in a slightly smaller form.

  6. Murales di Balmy Alley - San Francisco's Mission District is home to the city's most concentrated collection of murals. Balmy Alley is located in the Mission District, between 24th and 25th Streets, two blocks south of Folsom. The murals were first painted in 1972 by Maria Glivez and local children. Artists Patricia Rodriguez and Graciela Carrillo lived in a nearby apartment and soon added their art to street walls. The Mujeres Muralistas have created numerous murals throughout the Bay Area. To see the murals, get off at 24th Street / Mission BART station.

  7. Clarion Alley - This alley between Mission and Valencia Street and 17th and 18th streets in the Mission neighborhood, known for the murals painted by the Clarion Alley Mural Project is packed with colorful, cultural, and political street art.

  8. The Walt Disney Family Museum - Inside this museum, the history of the Walt Disney family empire is showcased. The Walt Disney Family Museum offers a historical tour through the life of Walt Disney and his relatives retracing the early years of Disney with many objects, awards, photos and videos of the first animation works.

  9. Seward Street Slides - One of San Francisco's hidden spots is located on a steep hill in the Noe Valley neighborhood. Two long concrete slides await the bravest. It's much easier to slide across the concrete surface with cardboard, so take one with you (sometimes there are some there too, but not always).

  10. Good Vibrations Antique Vibrator Museum - A very unique collection of vibrators collected for over 20 years by museum founder Joani Blank. This museum is part of the Good Vibration Polk Street Store, a sex toy store that you can find at 1620 Polk Street in San Francisco.

 

GAY FRIENDLY TOURS

Do you want to discover the city more deeply through San Francisco's Best Gay Tours? We recommend the following local operators:


Gaily Tour - Tour Operator offering tours and excursions dedicated to the LGBT + community throughout Europe. Special Tours and Gay & Lesbian Friendly Guides ready to make you discover the beauties of this destination. Info & Booking: info@GailyTour.com

 

What to see near San Francisco?

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