This article was published on June 3rd, 2018
The gayest city in North America, San Francisco, is a fantastic destination for your next gaycation. You’ll need these essential instructions for a fabulous 3-day stay in the City by the Bay. Follow this guide for a perfectly gay visit to San Francisco–the home of the modern gay rights movement.
San Francisco is full of adventure! Come for Dore Alley and Folsom Street Fair, but also any time of the year to experience gay culture at its finest and weirdest. Always changing, but always San Francisco.
Start your stay in the Golden Gate city by crossing into San Francisco via it’s iconic orange landmark: The Golden Gate bridge. Whether on land or on foot, the Golden Gate Bridge offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding bay. There are parks on either side of the bridge for picnicking and relaxing.
Head towards downtown SF for a little bit of history at City Hall. Stand on the steps where Harvey Milk and other notable LGBT and civil rights advocates and activists led protests, marches, and demonstrations in one of San Francisco’s most stunning buildings.
Forget taking Uber or Lyft. Next, be a tourist by jumping on one of San Francisco’s most iconic features: the cable cars. These beauties may be from a by-gone era, but thousands of visitors still use these street trolleys to get around and up and over San Francisco’s steep hills. There are also the historic electric trollies that that really fun to take when getting around the city.
Take several lines until the end and you’ll end up at another famous San Fran locale: Fisherman’s Wharf. Here, you’ll find cheap San Francisco souvenirs, the original Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory, and several eateries along the water’s edge. Not to mention the plethora of sea lions that live and sunbath on the docks.
If you haven’t already, check into your hotel: stay somewhere fabulous like the Hilton Parc 55 Hotel or the Hilton SF Union Square. Grab a delicious bite at Finn Town Tavern (and their new sister property that just opened up in the Castro), right there in the heart of town at Union Square. Head to SOMA or the mission for a fun night at some of the bars in the area.
On day two, continue playing über tourist by booking a visit to San Francisco’s famed island prison: Alcatraz with Alcatraz Cruises. You’ll get plenty of walking in, lots of history, and unparalleled views of San Francisco with Alcatraz tours. Once back on the mainland, head to the gay heart of it all: The Castro. Lunch at newish restaurant Harvey’s or the new Hamburger Mary’s to really dive into the gayness of it all.
After brunch, go to the ‘gay beach’ at Delores Park. Here, locals and visitors lay out under the sun to see local performers, tan, be outside and people watch. Close to Delores Park are the famed Painted Ladies stereotypically San Franciscan row houses made massive in pop culture from the hit TV show Full House. Nearby Haight Ashbury was the epicenter of the 60’s love revolution, and there are plenty of psychedelic nods to its hippie past.
After a quick disco nap back at the hotel, take one of the street trolley’s that run down Market Street to the Castro for some bar hopping at places like Toad Hall, Beaux, and others for a night of dancing. There are other signature bars like High Tops and The Lookout that are great places to meet the locals.
On your last day in the city, take in some truly quintessential San Francisco experiences. Watch the cars maneuver down Lombard Street – the windiest street in North America. Check out the new modern art gallery and the Walt Disney Family Museum. Make your way back to Boystown to really explore the Castro – the Castro Theatre, plenty of gay shops, vintage clothing stores, which are extremely popular, or boutique shopping. You can either make your way to Chinatown for some excellent lunch, or find any number of cafes within the Castro.
At night, either make your way back to the Castro or try something new – like the Prohibition Bar. Reservations are required for this modern-era speak easy. Show up and give the password to get into a secret bar hidden behind a secret passageway. A night at the Prohibition bar comes complete with characters in full prohibition era costumes serving up great era cocktails and entertainment – but you have to leave your smartphone at the door – encouraged to dress up in period theme and make a night of it. If you want something even gayer than that, go to Beach Blanket Babylon—a San Francisco live performance featuring outrageous costumes, wigs, drag queens, and more that has become a staple of the city.
There is plenty to do in San Francisco. You’ll find no problem at all finding an ample load of activities other than those mentioned above to keep you busy on your visit. For any further needs, questions, comments or concerns when visiting San Francisco, check out SFTravel.com to help plan your stay.