A selection of members from San Francisco.

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Of all the LGBT-friendly hotspots in America, San Francisco is probably the most well-known. Since the end of World War Two, San Francisco has been the central location of the gay rights movement in America. San Franciscans are proud of their city’s heritage and the fact that the area is home to liberal attitudes towards people from all different backgrounds and sexual orientations. San Francisco is definitely a must-see city if you want to experience American gay culture, as there are numerous events that are held throughout the city and you will feel very much at home, since your sexuality will be embraced in a positive way.

There are numerous districts in San Francisco that are worth checking out, either for the sights, the shopping or the night life. Probably the most famous gay-friendly neighbourhood of San Francisco is the Castro, as this is where LGBT activism really gained ground in the 1960s and 1970s and has continued to attract members of the LGBT community, so that is currently the largest ‘gay village’ in America. Consequently, there are plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops that cater for the gay crowd. Some of the most popular gay bars in the area include 440 Castro, Harvey’s, Blackbird Bar, the Lookout, and Midnight Sun.

Thus, the Castro is a good place to be if you want to sample San Francisco’s night life. Not only does the area have plenty of places to eat, drink and dance, though. A number of events are also held throughout the year, including Pink Saturday, a street party that takes place the night before the San Francisco Gay Pride parade. You can also sample some gay culture at the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival that is held in the Castro Theatre. If you want to discover more about the history of the area, you could always have a look around the GLBT History Museum. Plus, the city’s oldest gay bar to have clear glass windows in order for customers to see and be seen can be found in the area.

If you move beyond the immediate locale of the Castro you will find there are plenty of other establishments and forms of entertainment to enjoy. Another popular area of San Francisco is SoMa, which stands for south of Market Street, the street that forms part of the Castro. Here there are designer studios and non-profit galleries, whilst the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a major cultural attraction. There are also a number of large gay bars and nightclubs in the area, including the Hole in the Wall Saloon, Lone Star Saloon, Martuni’s, the Powerhouse Bar, Truck, and the Stud. Consequently, once you’re bored of the art galleries and museums you can grab yourself a drink, dance and check out other men if you want.

East of the Castro is the Mission, which is a diverse neighbourhood where you will find an array of eating establishments, shops, galleries and lots of gay-owned businesses, as well as performance spaces that are utilised by women and gay men. North of the Castro is the Haight and Hayes Valley, which was at the heart of 1960s counterculture. The free-spirited nature of the area lives on, whilst there are a number of popular wine bars and restaurants that are popular amongst the gay clientele. If you want to take in some idyllic scenery, you could always cycle or take a walk through Golden Gate Park. Within the area, you will find the National AIDS Memorial Grove, where trees have been planted to commemorate those who have died from AIDS.

San Francisco is a diverse city with a fascinating history and much to offer tourists. There are major landmarks to take in, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the city’s cable cars and Chinatown, whilst there are also areas of the city which are particularly attractive to members of the LGBT community. On a trip to San Francisco, you will discover how progressive the modern-day city is and the importance of the city’s history to San Franciscans, whilst also being able to enjoy the many leisurely pursuits on offer.

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