7.9 out of 10

Castro District

Ranked 21st best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.7592917974625 -122.432537750722
Great for
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Eating Out
  • Public Transport
  • Nightlife
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Lack of Traffic
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

Kevin Ho Kevin Ho PRO
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
2yrs+

"The Gayborhood 3.0: Still Growing and Now Changing"

This is the third iteration of the 'gayborhood' in San Francisco since the 1940s. First it was near Polk Street, then SOMA and now here. As older Irish and Italian retirees left the neighborhood the gays moved in, renovated, improved and established the enclave that is both eccentric as it is embracing. Nudists walk around as do the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, families, couples, groups of friends, tourists, dog walkers, parents and kids and a flurry more. Apart from the natural inclination of similarly-minded folks wanting to live near one another the neighborhood is now changing just as society has become more accepting of gay and lesbian relationships. Also, the gay population has had a chance and time to become successful members of society in all professions, including real estate. This means that there's a lot of redevelopment and development for and by this population as it is a prized demographic.

Because the area is so popular it draws all kinds of people with varying intentions. Some of those are nefarious, some are good, others are curious. Thus, like any urban neighborhood you're going to have more traffic, grit, and people being, well, people. But if you want a neighborhood that is also close to transit (101/280 & MUNI), close to other signature neighborhoods (Mission Dolores, Noe Valley, Duboce Triangle, the Haight), filled with old and new architecture that's also sunnier than many areas of the City, this should be one of the neighborhoods you consider.
Pros
  • Great bars
  • Tolerant community
  • Great energy
Cons
  • Too Crowded
  • Not friendly to cars
  • A Bit of Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Fantastic SF Neighborhood"

I love the Castro. It's vibrant and diverse and there is a ton to do and see. There are some spectacular Victorian homes in the neighborhood, and, the streets in this particular neighborhood embody San Francisco aesthetic in my opinion. Castro is kind of the gay nexus of the world, but since the opening of the F line and the release of the movie, Milk, Castro has become a huge tourist attraction as well. I think people come from all over to see Harvey Milk's old camera shop and gawk at all of the would be gay activity. I think it's pretty funny. It's like, what are you gonna catch them in the act of sprinkling glitter dust, tourists? Not that I would mind getting glittered . . . but still.

Everyone talks about the gay pride parade in June, but I would say the best time to go and get a real Castro experience is during the Street Fair in October. It was founded by Harvey Milk and it is the largest street fair in San Francisco. It really is spectacular, too. They have drag shows, food, games, music . . . you know, pretty much all the good street fair stuff. Well, except most street fairs don't have a drag show, but those street fairs are missing out.

In addition to the Castro Theatre, a fabulous old theatre that shows Independent films, cult films and just plain awesome films, there are a ton of restaurants and bars in the Castro. If you're not gay, you probably won't enjoy the bars nearly as much as the homosexual set because most are catered to the gay sect, but the restaurants are universally lovely. Anchor on Castro is a phenomenal seafood joint and Luna just up the street has one of the best little patios in the city. There are, honestly, so many great restaurants in this neighborhood, it's too hard to choose between them. The nice thing about living in the Castro, if you're a girl (which I am) is that it's pretty safe at night as far as city living goes. I mean, it's mostly gay dudes for one and those guys can party so there are always a ton of people milling about the streets until relatively late. Even if it's just for a visit, though, the Castro is a must.
Pros
  • Landmarks
  • Great energy
  • Delicious eateries
  • Great bars
  • Tolerant community
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The Earth's Gayest Neighborhood--Deal With It!"

Where to start with the Castro. It is, of the course, the gayest neighborhood not only in San Francisco, but probably on the planet. And the thing is that in SF, we don’t hide the fact that we have the gay Mecca of the U.S. right at the heart of the city, we are damn proud of it. We take out our pink triangles and hold a parade—the way Boston or New York celebrate St. Patrick’s day. (Which, by the way, is also a good day to go bar hopping in Castro.)

Of course, this is pretty much a non-stop party virtually every night of the year. They have probably the best movie theater in all of the Bay Area, the Castro Theater which is always showing something cool or kitschy. It is one of the older theaters as well, built way back in the swinging 20’s.

It also has a great bar scene with almost a dozen bars within a block or two of the theater. They are all a lot of fun if you are a young gay guy. If you are straight guy and good looking, you can get some sense of what it is like to be a gal walking into to bar—which will either send you into a panic, or if you are like me, make you feel flattered. (Though I must admit that I don’t get that many looks. But still.)

There are also a number of restaurants, some of the five star variety but also a number of the just down-to-earth places serving good food at affordable prices. There are just too many of these places to list, but just take a stroll down Castro street and circle the block and you will see what I am talking about.
Now this is not really a “family” neighborhood. By which I mean that even the gay couples that adopt tend to move out this area to raise kids. (There are exceptions of course.) And if you were to raise kids in the area, you would have to teach them about the facts of life fairly early because this is definitely an adult rated neighborhood with sex shops and all that.

Also, as to rents, they tend to be pretty high. Typical per room costs in Castro range around $2000 with few dropping below $1500. That is, of course, because Castro is almost a rite-of-passage if you are young and gay. You want to say that at least for a year you lived here, right in the heart of the action.

Parking is also terrible in this neighborhood. So those with garages are the envy of everyone else. Once you get away from the main action around the theater it is a pretty quiet neighborhood for the most part. A lot like the Haight or North Beach, with Victorians and some more modernist type homes.

In terms of crime, relative to its eastern neighbor, the Mission, Castro has about the same level of crime when you take its population into consideration. So you should basically expect the same kind of problems with car break-ins and such although I think gang problems are not quite as much of a problem in Castro nor is the murder rate.
Ultimately a great place to visit, but hard to find a place to live here.
Pros
  • Delicious eateries
  • Great bars
  • Tolerant community
  • Great energy
  • Landmarks
Cons
  • A Bit of Crime
  • Expensive Rents
  • Not friendly to cars
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Quiet yet vibrant neighborhood"

The Castro is the largest gay neighborhood in the country. It has a very rich history in the gay movement, with its most famous incident being the assassination of activist leader Harvey Milk. I love the vibe of this area and think it has more of an open-minded feeling than some of the other neighborhoods in the city. As you stroll through the streets, you'll be reminded of this, because there are large rainbows flags that are attached to the streetlights.

The streets with the coolest spots in this area are Market Street and Castro Street. I tend to walk down Market a lot because I do my grocery shopping in the Castro. There is a really great Safeway grocery store right there that offers an amazing variety of products.

The great thing about the Castro is that it has a lot of amazing restaurants and bars. There are some good gay bars located on Castro Street and there's a fun karaoke bar right on Market.
Pros
  • Great bars
  • Tolerant community
  • Delicious eateries
Cons
  • Not friendly to cars
  • Bus transportation is limited
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5
2yrs+

"Open Minds Welcome"

The Castro is one of the most famous neighborhoods in San Francisco, mostly because of its vibrant diversity and open lifestyle. It is home to America’s largest LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) district where it’s not uncommon for people to be walking around the streets in skin tight, half naked outfits.

The area first became available to homosexual men in the 60s and 70s when hundreds of middle-class workers fled the area in search of suburban life leaving cheap Victorian style housing available at low rents. During the Summer of Love, the neighborhood became a platform for left-wing political and social activism. In commemoration for this pivotal era, the district celebrates the Gay Pride Parade, a festival in June that encourages people to accept LGBT lifestyles.

Today, the neighborhood has a variety of different activities and restaurants. On Sunday mornings, Lime greets you with bartenders dancing on bar stools and people taking advantage of bottomless mimosas. But if you want a table, be sure to make a reservation days in advance. If you’re looking for some culture, the Castro theatre is one of the biggest attractions, showing a plethora of iconic movies every month. Dining and nightlife are also a big plus in this neighborhood. Sushi bars and Mexican restaurants fill the neighborhood usually offering plenty of patio seating for customers to enjoy those warm days in the city. At night, the Castro is bustling with yuppies and hipsters with open minds taking in a lively mix of bars and trendy nightclubs.
Pros
  • Delicious eateries
  • Great bars
  • Tolerant community
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Vibrant Trendy Little Stretch on Market"

Market Street goes all the way through the Castro and that's where I was today. The thing about the Castro is that it's vibrant, flamboyant and trendy. If you were gay and never lived in the Bay Area and then all of a sudden moved here and were free to be able to come out as you are and be widely accepted into a loving community, then this would be the place for you.

For those not into that lifestyle, the Castro still offers up some really good restaurants, great little boutique local shops and a fun atmosphere (although I wouldn't recommend bar hopping here unless you were gay). In mid-June everyone struts their stuff, gay,lesbian, transexual, transgender - you name it for the Pride Parade. It's quite a site to see!

The Castro is friendly and is a great community.
Recommended for
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Follow the Yellow Brick Road"

The legendary Castro is one of San Francisco’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Castro Street is the nexus of Gay culture in the city and arguably, the world. In late June the Castro’s streets swell with thousands of people who come to participate in the annual Pride Celebration and Parade.

Castro Street and the six-to-eight block stretch of Market Street that intersects the neighborhood are brimming with fabulous restaurants and boutiques. Even on foggy nights, the nightlife in the Castro runs hot and famous gay bars such as Moby Dick, Twin Peaks and Harvey’s overflow with men. The Castro Theatre is a gorgeous movie house that specializes in independent film, festivals and classics like The Wizard of Oz. Before each show, someone comes out and plays the old organ that was once used to accompany silent films.

Toward the lower section of the Castro, along 16th Street, the café and restaurant scene continues all the way to Dolores Park. The side streets along this area such as Hartford, Noe and Sanchez are particularly peaceful and pretty.

Unless you are one of the lucky ones with a private driveway or garage, bringing a car to the Castro is almost unthinkable. Parking is horrible and public transportation is plentiful and convenient throughout the area. There are many taxis that pass through the area, but competition can be steep to hail one at night.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Exciting neighborhood with a lot of diversity of all kinds"

The Castro isn’t like any other neighborhood you’ve ever been to. The Castro has an immense amount of diversity and culture. Many people outside of San Francisco may have a bad or negative view of this neighborhood however, because they don’t live in San Francisco and haven’t fully experienced this neighborhood, their views are a bit skewed, so don’t let non-San Franciscans let you deviate from this neighborhood! Anyways, there is so much to do in this neighborhood, well for the locals at least. There are always events going on, in or out of the pubs and bars. There are many great places to eat. For people living in San Francisco and familiar with what the Castro has to offer, it is a great place to just hang out with friends and grab a bite. However, most of the time from what I’ve seen and heard is that tourists don’t necessarily like to visit the Castro because many consider it to be the “center of homosexuality,” although there may be a larger number of homosexual people in the Castro than other parts of San Francisco, it shouldn’t be one reason not to visit this neighborhood. Granted there may be some freaky people walking around at times either half-naked or with a pretty strange yet cool costume, but that is how San Francisco is, different. However, living in the Castro is what I’m not sure how to go about describing or talking about that because it would be great to live in a neighborhood with an immense amount of activity and diversity of all sorts, but personally for me the Castro is too crazy and “city” for me. And like the city of San Francisco, the Castro is unique and different from all the other neighborhoods in San Francisco.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5
2yrs+

"Perfect place to visit after seeing Milk"

The Castro District is a great place to visit after seeing the movie Milk. I loved this film and luckily had a trip planned to San Francisco shortly afterwards. Not surprisingly, The Castro is the world’s most famous (and largest) gay neighborhood. There always seem to be tons of interesting events going on in this part of town. You will also see lots of rainbows. (Obviously, if you are homophobic, don’t choose to live in this neighborhood.)

I had a chance to check out the Castro Theatre. This historic building was built in the 1920’s and it’s a very cool part of history. This theatre houses all kinds of film festivals throughout the year. When I was in town, a South Asian Film Festival was going on at the Castro Theatre. Obviously, this theatre welcomes all kinds of programming, not just that which is gay oriented.

My friends brought me to a club on a Friday night (I can’t remember the name of it at the moment.) It was extremely crowded, but had excellent music.

We also went to Frances restaurant, which was amazing. It has the rating as one of the top new restaurants in the whole city. With things like bacon beignets on the menu, Frances wasn’t exactly diet friendly, but it was delicious. If you choose to live in this part of town, you will find that there is plenty to do.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"I Have a Feeling We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore"

A flag as broad as a rooftop snaps and ripples in the wind, its rainbow-colored bands marking the intersection of Castro and Market streets. The base of the flagpole sits just above Harvey Milk Plaza, and a plaque on it commemorates the gay-rights icon with a list of local lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender politicians who followed in Milk’s footsteps. A block away, at 575 Castro, on the sidewalk outside the storefront that used to house Castro Camera, his business/political headquarters, another bronze plaque honors the slain leader, detailing his achievements and ending with a quote from Milk that both sums up his life and inspires successive generations: “You gotta give ’em hope!”

It’s hard to see Castro Street today as the scene of so much turmoil during Milk’s heyday three decades ago. The character of the place has changed remarkably since 1970s activism clashed with the conservative forces in the area. The blocks from Market to 19th streets now house an array of businesses catering to gay men and women, as do many radiating outward from this backbone of queer culture: bars, coffeehouses, shops, and restaurants have all specialized to serve the niche clientele that defines the many subsets of the LGBT populace. To the uninitiated, unfamiliar, and unknowing, the sight of men holding hands, of women with crewcuts and army boots, of drag queens and daddy bears and lipstick lesbians picking their kids up from school can prompt Dorothy’s line about Oz: “I have a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore.” It’s a phrase commonly employed by newcomers and residents alike to denote the surprises inherent in such an intentionally alternative universe.

Yet, these same streets reflect the laid-back, easygoing style of many California habitats, with the old adage “We’re queer, we’re here, get used to it” replaced by one more akin to “Welcome to our town.” The Castro may be a distinctly gay enclave, but its people also understand the importance of being inclusive, of embracing tolerance, and of making small gestures that add up to a big tent of diversity. That’s why, on the same block of Castro as the 1960s-era Sausage Factory restaurant and 1970s Anchor Oyster Bar, you’ll find an erotic art and paraphernalia store, a Himalayan handicrafts gallery, an urban plant nursery, a hardcore DVD emporium, and Under One Roof, a gift shop whose profits go to HIV/AIDS organizations. That’s also why that couple pushing a stroller is likely to be two men, two women, or—not so ironically—a man and a woman.

These outward manifestations notwithstanding, San Francisco’s so-called “Gay Village” started out as neither a village nor gay. It was largely a collection of farms and pastureland until the late 19th century, when the arrival of the Market Street Cable Railway in 1887 brought with it a housing boom that transformed an agrarian outland into one of the city’s first “suburbs”—Eureka Valley. The area’s sunny weather—it is shielded from Pacific fog banks by Twin Peaks, which loom over the valley below like two identical pyramids—was as much a draw to early settlers as it is to today’s denizens. In the early 1900s, the neighborhood was popular among Scandinavian immigrants, whose presence is still noted in the Swedish-American Hall on Market near Sanchez (its basement houses the popular nightclub Café du Nord), and later, among the Irish. As recently as the early 1960s, the area was still an enclave of middle-class and blue-collar families, many of whom worshipped at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, at 18th and Diamond streets, which remains a fulcrum of the community today—albeit with a different ministry more geared to the diverse congregation. Other houses of worship respond to the neighborhood’s residents as well, notably the Metropolitan Community Church of San Francisco, which has served the LGBT community since 1970.

Shortly after Eureka Valley’s longtime residents began flocking away in the 1950s and ’60s to the suburbs of San Mateo and Marin counties, white-collar gay men and couples commenced the next wave of immigration, buying and restoring the Victorian homes, establishing a trend that continues to this day. (The care and attention to detail is particularly evident along 20th Street, on the upper reaches of Eureka and Douglass, and along side streets such as Ford, where rows of cottages seemingly line up to show off.) As these new residents gained a foothold, they renamed the area “The Castro”—and it stuck. It has been evolving ever since, from gay mecca of the late 1970s, to the AIDS-ravaged 1980s and regrouping in the 1990s, to a resurgent nexus of not only gay pride but also newfound political activism centering on same-sex marriage, gender equality, and human rights.

Today, the relatively small neighborhood (a triangle bounded roughly by Church, Market, and 21st streets) has about 35,000 residents, nearly two-thirds of them men, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. People are overwhelmingly white, with small percentages of Asians (8 percent) and African Americans (3 percent)—a distribution that critics of the area have pointed out as being less than truly diverse. The population is nevertheless highly educated, with two-thirds having a bachelor’s degree or better, and affluent, with a per-capita income of almost $60,000. High salaries are a requirement to live here, in fact: An average one-bedroom apartment rents for upwards of $1,600, and the average listing price for homes starts at $1.1 million—a figure that goes a long way in explaining why more than 60 percent of all Castro dwellers rent.

Public schools provide the neighborhood’s small population of children a few good options, including Harvey Milk Civil Rights Elementary (which earned a 5 out of 10 ranking by GreatSchools) and Sanchez Elementary. Everett Middle School and Mission High School, both on the edge of the neighborhood, serve a broad population of students, many from underprivileged homes. A number of private grade schools, both parochial and nonsecular, augment the choices both in the Castro and in adjoining neighborhoods.

Aside from the high number of assaults in the area (a function of the numerous bars), burglary and car theft rank high, followed by robbery and drug/alcohol-related infractions, according to crime data from the San Francisco Police Department. A handful of murders have been committed in the area in the last decade, most of them the result of street fights and/or domestic disputes rather than the gay-bashing episodes that haunted the area in the 1970s and ’80s.

One reason people live here in spite of the high prices is the area’s excellent public transportation: three subway lines—the MUNI K, L, and M—and the J trolley line provide quick access to downtown as well as to BART headed to the East Bay and San Francisco International Airport. And the No. 24 and 33 buses provide easy travel along north/south and east/west axes, along with a means of navigating the steep hills surrounding the main business district. The historic Market Street Railway’s F trolleys have their western terminus at Castro Street, and though they would hardly qualify as rapid, the old cars provide a scenic trip down Market as well as a nostalgic reminder of the Senate cars that once rolled on the trolley tracks, now long gone, of so many American cities.

The ready availability of public transit is good news for those without a car. Those who drive daily, on the other hand, experience a parking situation that ranges from problematic to impossible, as the neighborhood’s attractions draw visitors from far and wide, and many of them come by car. Most streets nearest Market and Castro businesses have meters, and on non-metered streets, resident permit parking is the rule, with the S sticker (available from the city’s Department of Parking and Traffic for $96 a year) an essential for those whose housing doesn’t include a garage. As for weekends and holidays when the attraction factor is highest, many residents simply hunker down rather than contemplate finding another on-street parking space.

And about those attractions: in addition to bars to suit every fancy and age group (most of them clustered in the few blocks between Market and 18th and Collingwood and Sanchez), the Castro, having experienced a restaurant boom in the last ten years, offers the kind of quality and variety that lure diners of all culinary proclivities. From the hip and inexpensive pasta of Fuzio on Castro Street to the fresh, wild-caught seafood at Catch on Market, to the innovative Pacific Rim fusion of Tangerine on 18th Street and the comfort-food reliability of Blue on Market, the Castro is fast becoming a dining destination in its own right.

One longtime destination has been the Castro Theatre, home to numerous film festivals as well as its own ambitious programming, which includes serious documentaries and mainstream movies to sing-along nights with Hollywood musicals. On such occasions, it’s worth the price of admission to arrive early, plop into one of the restored movie palace’s seats, and admire the artistry of the restored interior as well as the artifice of the lively patrons. They come, in work or play drag, bejeweled and coiffed and made up or wearing any ol’ thing they happened to pull from their wardrobe, and constitute a show unto themselves. It is a cross-section of the Castro’s finest, a mirror on this vibrant, dramatic, and ever-changing slice of San Francisco. Kansas never looked so far away.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
5/5
2yrs+

"A Unique Neighborhood"

Castro is a popular and well-known area for me where the businesses are fun and great, and the residential area is calm and cozy. I like Castro for its uniqueness. I've only been there at night and it is always bright, lively, and bustling with people ready to have fun. Also, I always see a lot of people walking their dogs, but that's just a tiny detail.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"A very unique neighborhood, one of a kind!"

The Castro, a contemporary name intended to promote several blocks of a newly flourishing business district. Besides the basic shopping center staples like bakeries, drug stores, florists, pharmacists, variety shops, hardware and delicatessens (German, Italian and Scandinavian), there are also a number of great restaurants of ethnic variety, book bazaars, funk shops and gay bars. The area rivals Polk Street as the center of gay life.

Walking along Castro Street will give you a good indication of who the community is geared toward. You will find many exotic shops gears toward the gay culture and lifestyle. Same goes for Market Street, which in June turns into a sea of gay pride with the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade.

Be sure to buy a ticket and catch a movie at the Castro Theater at 429 Castro Street or some world-famous gelato from Gelateria Naia just up the street.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"No place on Earth Like this!"

Castro and Market Street is the start of a really straight stretch of Market that runs towards the Bay. At this corner stands the Pride flag and is a landmark in San Francisco.

Stroll down Castro street and you have the Castro theatre, known for all types of movie festivals which are highly entertaining. Cross the street and enjoy the shops -- you can find everything you'd need of an eclectic nature, much of which is geared towards the homosexual culture. I have enjoyed the fountain shop there -- so many lovely fountains to gaze at and listen to.

If you're looking for a bite to eat and you're on the run, try New York Pizza -- they have the best pizza on Castro street. if you head east on 18th street, you can also enjoy the Sit and Spin laundry mat cafe where you can both eat and get your laundry done.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

Travelling to Castro District?

Find Hotels

Best Streets in Castro District

1

20th St

4.5/5
"The Beach Without the Ocean"
37.7578597022847 -122.431821077015
2

Castro St

4/5
"A Celebration of Gay Life!"
37.7594184442335 -122.434864754546
3

Noe St

4/5
"Tranquil and Sunny Noe St."
37.759660096016 -122.432662226085
4

Church St

4/5
"quiet and quaint in Noe Valley"
37.7614564611173 -122.428370762331
5

Liberty St

4/5
"Small residential street."
37.7573053805679 -122.428402227519
6

16th St

3.5/5
"A commuter's street"
37.7643884959267 -122.430626243283
7

Cumberland St

3.5/5
"Street with nice homes in a friendly neighborhood"
37.7587560138793 -122.430343669198
8

18th St

3/5
"Some Unique Spots"
37.760407303588 -122.442860635593

Unranked Streets in Castro District

19th St

3.5/5
"Long established neighborhood in SF"
37.7590528660183 -122.438778088746

21st St

3.5/5
"Living in the sunny gem that is the Mission"
37.7561072065786 -122.434664119794

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More