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Gay San Francisco Travel Guide

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San Francisco’s historic Castro neighbourhood was hotbed to much of America’s gay rights movement in the 1970s Harvey Milk era, and remains one of the world’s most iconic gay villages. Today, The Castro hosts a plethora of gay bars and clubs, restaurants, the GLBT History Museum, the historic Castro Theatre, and a plethora of cultural activities.

Beyond The Castro, visitors will find many of San Francisco’s neighbourhoods to be quite gay-friendly. SOMA has developed into somewhat of a secondary gay neighbourhood, catering mostly to the leather crowd.

San Francisco Pride takes place each June, and it was at SF Pride in 1978 that the symbolic LGBT rainbow flag of today was first unveiled. San Francisco Pride consists of Pink Saturday street festival in The Castro, the parade on Sunday (Gay Pride Day), the Trans March, the Pink Triangle Installation atop Twin Peaks, the Dyke March, and more.

Other popular annual LGBT-inclusive events include SF Bear Weekend in February, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Easter Party (featuring Easter Bonnet and Hunky Jesus competitions in Dolores Park), Frameline SF LGBTQ Film Festival in June, Folsom Street Fair (the world’s largest BDSM fetish and leather event) in late September, and Castro Street Fair in October.

Singling out gay-friendly accommodations in San Francisco is difficult, since most hotels identify as LGBT-friendly, but popular options include Beck’s Motor LodgeHotel AbriHotel GW San FranciscoHotel DivaHyatt Regency San Francisco, and Hotel Zephyr. More intimate options include Inn at Union SquareInn at the OperaMystic Hotel by Charlie PalmerThe WarwickPayne Mansion Hotel and Hotel Drisco. Luxury options include The Fairmont San FranciscoPalace HotelOmni San Francisco Hotel, and Taj Campton Place.