San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Scene
(San Francisco, California - CA, USA)
Plenty of sunshine and a friendly, welcoming vibe make San Francisco an extremely appealing location for gay and lesbian people to settle, enjoy a vacation or pass through on a road trip around California. This is without denial one of the USA's leading LGBT cities and the list of bars, clubs and similar nightspots here is certainly an extensive one, while Bakers Beach is a good place to hang out during the day with a like-minded crowd.
San Francisco's principal gay community is to be found in and around the Castro neighborhood. Belonging to the business district, this part of the city is centered around Castro Street, between 19th Street and Market Street. There is also a notable LGBT presence within the residential suburbs bordering Corona Heights, Haight-Ashbury, the Mission District and Twin Peaks, as well as the Noe Valley area.
For some of the best bars and clubs in San Francisco, the Castro area is most definitely the place to hang out. On Castro Street itself, popular evening entertainment comes in the form of the 440 Bar, Q-Bar and the Twin Peaks Tavern, with large windows meaning that you can watch passers-by on the street whilst enjoying a beer or cocktail. The intersecting Market Street is another popular spot for bars, where the Blackbird, the Cafe and the Lookout Bar all come with themed nights and live entertainment, such as karaoke nights, 'drag' racing and themed Friday and Saturday party nights.
San Francisco Gay Events and Festivals
There are more than a handful of LGBT events held in San Francisco throughout the year. In fact, it was right here in the city where the 'Gay Games' began in 1982 and this huge sporting event is now hosted by cities all over the world, being staged every four years. Currently, some of the most popular events include:
Useful addresses and organizations:
GLBT History Museum
- United Gay Open
Usually held in late May, over Memorial Weekend, this annual LGBT tennis championship gets bigger each year and now comprises almost 500 different matches. The United Open is based at the campus of the Stanford University in nearby Palo Alto, roughly a 45-minute drive to the south.
- San Francisco Pride Week Festival
Held annually towards the end of June, this gay pride celebration has its origins as long ago as the beginning of the 1970s, with present-day attendance figures now topping one million people. The Pride Parade is the biggest magnet and starts on Beale Street, heading along Market Street in the direction of 8th Street. Those watching the parade should look out for the 'Dykes on Bikes' (previously named the Women's Motorcycle Contingent), as well as the elaborate carnival floats, the outrageously dressed dancers and the plentiful drag queens.
- Sundance Stompede
The city's exciting annual gay and lesbian themed country-western dance weekend usually takes place sometime between mid-October and the early part of November. A Kick-Off Dance, Welcome Dance, Hoedown, Stompede Ball and various workshops are all part of the main event. Venues include the Sundance Saloon on Barneveld Avenue, and the Holiday Inn Hotel and Regency Ballroom, both of which reside on Van Ness Avenue
Address: 4127 18th Street, San Francisco, California (CA), 94114, USA
Tel: +1 415 621 1107
San Francisco LGBT Center
Address: 1800 Market Street, San Francisco, California (CA), 94102, USA
Tel: +1 415 865 5555