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San Francisco/Castro Street

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Originally an Irish working class neighborhood of San Francisco, the Castro, for the past 35 years, has been the center of American gay and lesbian life.

Get in

By Muni

This is the best way to get to the Castro. The Castro is on the K, L, or M underground Muni lines at the Castro stop or the Church Street stop. The J Church line can also get you to the Castro, although it comes above ground and turns south on Church St. For a more scenic ride, take the historic F Market line street car. San Francisco has refurbished historic street cars from around America and the world which run along Market street and end in the Castro. Bus lines 24, 33, 35, and 37 also serve the neighborhood.

By car

Don't drive into the Castro. Use public transit, instead. There are no public parking garages in the Castro. Street parking is very hard to find, especially on the weekends. If you park at the Safeway on Market and you don't go exclusively there, you will be towed.

See

the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, between Mission and 18th Street. (415) 621-6120. A lovingly restored Art Deco jewelbox of an independent movie theatre, with a Wurlitzer organ and splendid organist, special sing-along showings, and more. It tends to be part of film festivals, and to play unusual but worthwhile film festivals.

Roxie Cinema. 3125 16th Street, at Valencia. (415) 863-1087. This cinema is a close walk for art flick and documentary buffs.

Do

There are several major cultural festivals/events in the Castro annually, including the Gay Pride Block Party in late June, the Castro Street Fair on the first Sunday in October, and a Hallowe'en block party on the last Saturday in October.

Buy

Don't miss Cliff's Variety 479 Castro bwtn Market/18th Street, (415) 431-5365, fax (415) 431-0803. Mon-Sat 9:30a-8p. Toys, gifts, kitchenware, hardware, and the newly remodeled annex next door is where to shop for do it yourself home decor items and is THE place to get rhinestones.

ImagiKnit, 3897 18th Street at Sanchez. (415) 621-6642. Mon-Sat 11a-630 p, Sun 11a-4p. These women opened up the yarn shop that they'd like to hang out in and the whole neighborhood concurs that they're doing it right.

Eat

  • Sausage Factory Italian, 517 Castro between 18th Street and19th Street, (415) 626-1250, 11:30a-12:30a daily. It's larger than it looks from the outside, extending back into the middle of the block. Pool tables, beer, dykes welcome. Delivery.
  • Sparky's 24-Hour Diner, 242 Church Street. (415) 626-8666. 24/7 daily. Delivery. Full-on diner fare, good salads and baked items.
  • Welcome Home, 464 Castro Street. (415) 626-3600. Good, hearty American food with a sweet atmosphere. Friendly waiters, Americana on the walls, and soft music. Welcome home, indeed.
  • Yokoso Nippon Sushi, 314 Church St. Looking for good cheap sushi? This is the place for you. Known to locals as "No Name Sushi," this hole-in-the-wall restaurant offers sushi at unbelievably cheap prices. But remember to bring your own beer cause they don't serve alcohol (get it in a brown paper bag to look inconspicuous). They don't accept credit cards either, so come with cash.


Drink

  • Cafe Flor 2298 Market Street at Noe. (415) 621-8579. Go for the good tea or latte and the prime peoplewatching, not necessarily the food.
  • Samovar Tea Lounge, 498 Sanchez Street at 18th Street. (415) 626-4700. M-F 7a-10p, Sat-Sun 8a-10p. Live Jazz on Fridays, a Stitch-and-Bitch knitting afficionado gathering on Sunday afternoons, over 100 kinds of tea. Comfortable hangout.


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