Why you should go to San Francisco !

Long celebrated for its friendly live-and-let-live attitude, and as renowned for its natural beauty as it is for its progressive politics, San Francisco is perhaps the most famous LGBT-friendly city in the world. A 2015 Gallup poll confirms it has the highest percentage of gay residents anywhere in the US, and has been a haven for LGBT communities throughout the 20th century. It also serves as a significant piece of living history for the Gay Rights Movement, with multiple monuments to its struggles. One of the most notable is Harvey Milk Plaza-named for the first openly gay political candidate in California-which flies an 18-foot-long rainbow flag at the corner of Castro and Market Streets.

As the self-styled Gay Capital of America, there is much to love about the City by the Bay, and because it's home to rolling hills, the Golden Gate Bridge, and an array of impressive architecture, it's also one of the most photographed places on Earth. With this in mind, it's no surprise that San Francisco is a supremely popular tourist destination. The temperate climate, thriving restaurant scene, top-notch museums, and world-class Pride parades make it an attractive choice for LGBT travelers year-round.

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View itineraries for a sample day out in San Francisco

All the News That's Fit to Print

Some of the best parties in the city are hosted by clubs that only cater to gay clientele one night a week. These parties...

Ladies Night

Like many other cities, San Francisco has struggled to offer gay women as many places to party as there are for gay men....

Remember to Curb Your Wheels

Remember that San Francisco police will ticket you if you don't curb your wheels when parking on hills.  This means...

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Getting around

San Francisco is 46.7 square miles, and all the top sights are accessible by its excellent public transportation system, which has both light-rail (Muni) and trains (BART) in addition to the famous cable cars.  It's also a city that welcomes pedestrians, and most tourist neighborhoods are safe and easy to reach on foot. Be aware, however, that some parts of the city have very steep hills, making what seems like a quick walk on the map into a strenuous hike. 

Along with the multiple tourist bike rentals available from kiosks along Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco supports a city-wide bike-share program called Bay Area Bikeshare.  24-hour or 3-day short-term memberships are available at any of their 70 stations, and bikes can be rented at returned at any point along your route. Two useful resources are BikeMapper, an online app that lets you plot your ride on a map, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which has all the info you need about the rules of the road as well as a list of local cycling events.

San Francisco's subway goes by the acronym BART, for Bay Area Rapid Transport.  The tracks are not extensive, but it's a convenient way to get to the East Bay and to and from either of the major airports of Oakland and SFO. Trains run at regular intervals on weekdays from around 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., but late evenings and weekends there can be up to a 20-minute wait. Tickets for travel within the city are a flat fare of $1.75; to get across the bay to San Francisco International Airport will cost upwards of $8.

Supplementing BART is Muni, a light-rail system that encompasses buses, streetcars, F-line trolleys, and cable cars.  Every visitor to San Francisco should take at least one ride on the storied cable cars, which run up and down the hills from Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf, and offer fantastic Bay views.  Standard fare for the bus, streetcars, and trolleys is $2, while the cable car will run you $6. Muni provides a one-day, three-day, and seven-day Muni Passport, which can be purchased at the visitor information center in Hallidie Plaza, or at any of the cable car kiosks along the Wharf.
Taxis can be hailed on the street but can be difficult to find, especially when it's raining or at high-volume times like Friday nights, when you're most likely to find them at taxi stands near the major hotels. For airport travel, it's best to plan ahead and reserve a taxi or shuttle online or by phone. Uber services the entire Metro area, and is accessible via their app or online, and while rental cars are of course available they're best for trips outside of the city to Napa or Marin. With many one-way streets, steep hills, and very little parking, San Francisco is a very difficult place to drive for those unaccustomed to its quirks.