Gay Walking Tour (Self Guided), San Francisco

It is well known that San Francisco is the place where gay and lesbian culture flourished. While Castro District houses many of the city's gay-owned businesses and households, LGBT culture is considered a distinct part of San Francisco's identity. Use this list to explore the most visited gay attractions in San Francisco.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Gay Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Gay Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » San Francisco (See other walking tours in San Francisco)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 Km or 4 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center
  • Charles Holmes LGBT Center
  • Dolores Park
  • Castro District
  • Castro Theatre
  • National AIDS Memorial Grove
James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center

1) James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center

James Catherwood Hormel is an American philanthropist. He was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999. When he was appointed through a recess appointment, he became the first openly gay man to represent the United States as an ambassador. The James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library is the gateway to collections documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) history and culture, with a special emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Charles Holmes LGBT Center

2) Charles Holmes LGBT Center

The San Francisco LGBT Community Center is a nonprofit organization serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population of San Francisco, California and nearby communities. San Francisco has long been known for its thriving gay community, the center did not incorporate as an entity until 1996. In September 1997, a group named the Friends of 1800 Market campaigned to get the Center to keep and restore the Carmel Fallon Building, a landmark 1894 Victorian at 1800 Market Street as part of the new center. In March 2002, the organization opened its Charles M. Holmes Campus on San Francisco's bustling Market Street, near the famed Castro District.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Dolores Park

3) Dolores Park

Mission Dolores Park commonly called Dolores Park - and formerly known as Mission Park is a San Francisco, California, city park located in the neighborhood of Mission Dolores, at the western edge of the Mission District, which lies to the east of the park. Dolores Park has been the neighborhood center for cultural, political and sports activities since the 1960s. It has hosted political rallies, festivals, Aztec ceremonial dances, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and San Francisco Mime Troupe performances. It is also the starting place for the annual San Francisco Dyke March and the Trans March.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Castro District

4) Castro District

As a city, San Francisco is full of exciting places to visit. Be it museums, churches, parks, roads or pocket localities. And no visit to San Francisco can be deemed complete without visiting the Castro District- the gay neighbourhood of San Francisco.

Embedded with not only a rich history but also some of the city’s finest structures and homes, the Castro district is one of the most visited tourist places in San Francisco. The area was named after Jose Castro, a Mexican leader in California during the Mexican- American war of 1846-48. The neighbourhood was created in late 19th century after the Market Street linked it to the Eureka Valley.

The early settlers were mainly from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, which is why it was also nicknamed as “Little Scandinavia”. Today, glimpses of the Scandinavian style of construction can be appreciated in a number of buildings.

Castro District became the ‘gay locality’ during the Second World War, when many army servicemen were expelled on accounts of being gay. These ex-army men later came and settled in the Castro District and since then the area has been openly accepting people of varied sexual orientations. Along with being the first openly gay neighbourhood in America, today, the Castro District is also the world’s largest gay neighbourhood.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Castro Theatre

5) Castro Theatre (must see)

One of the many places that one cannot miss out on in San Francisco is the Castro Theatre.

Whether you are a movie buff or not, the Castro Theatre is a must-visit site in San Francisco. This one-of-a-kind theatre is a perfect blend of vintage and modern times. The movie palace is filled with antiquities that can transport you to yesteryears but hold you reservations about watching a movie for this is one place where the audience is given the perfect movie experience with the latest speakers and sound systems and top-notch picture quality.

The building of the Castro Theatre is one of San Francisco’s 100 Historical Landmarks. Built in 1922, the Castro Theatre was designed by Timothy L. Pflueger and was started by the Nasser Brothers who are still its proud owners. Amongst other things, the Castro Theatre is also known for its lavish, luxurious and ornate interiors, something quite alien to present day theatres. The estimated cost of constructing the theatre in 1922 was put down as $300,000. The theatre can seat about 1407 people at a time in its lavish interiors. People from all walks of life come especially to the Castro Theatre to enjoy the movie experience. Sing along, yell, shout out with the crowd and get involved in the movie- ‘cause that is how it is done at the Castro Theatre.

Why You Should Visit:
It really brings back the feel of watching movies during the silent era; however, the best part is the Art Deco design/feel of the theatre.

Come a little early to enjoy the beautiful setting (including ceiling) and the fabulous live-playing organist who disappears into the ground with the curtain's rise!
Sight description based on wikipedia
National AIDS Memorial Grove

6) National AIDS Memorial Grove

The National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) was the vision of a small group of San Francisco residents representing a community affected by AIDS. This small group of people put their vision into action in the year 1988. The group selected a site in the famous Golden Gate Park, called the de Laveaga Dell. Due to lack of sufficient funding, the site was not being maintained regularly and therefore was not serving its purpose as a park. However, as soon as the area was leased to the city for the purpose of building a grove, the news of the initiative spread far and wide and many volunteers came up to support the noble cause. Volunteers included a group of outstanding architects, prominent artists, landscape designers who put in their time and priceless efforts in designing this timeless living memorial.

In 1996, the President of the United States officially approved the National AIDS Memorial Act. Since then, this grove proclaims to the world that there is a place for everyone, whose life has been touched by the uncontrolled pandemic of AIDS.

This grove was envisioned as a serene place where people would come alone or in groups to hold memorial services for their dear ones who were touched by AIDS. The mission of the grove is to provide a healing sanctuary and to promote learning and understanding of the human tragedy of the AIDS pandemic.

Walking Tours in San Francisco, California

Create Your Own Walk in San Francisco

Create Your Own Walk in San Francisco

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Francisco is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour

Fisherman's Wharf Walking Tour

Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood is home to world-class entertainment opportunities in San Francisco. The historic tourist attractions make the area a popular place to visit. Fisherman's Wharf is an important center of the city's historic fishing industry. Take this walking tour to explore the most visited sights in Fisherman's Wharf.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Francisco without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Francisco, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 Km or 4 Miles
SoMa/Civic Center Nightlife

SoMa/Civic Center Nightlife

Home to some of the most exciting clubs and bars found the world over, the Nightlife Tour in San Francisco features a wide selection of hot spots to dance the night away. Being a major metropolitan area with a diverse community, the range of musical flavors available here is truly astounding. Whether looking for top DJs or big name music acts, or just a solid local talent spinning your favorite...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Famous Architecture Walking Tour

Famous Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco is one of the world's top travel destinations, being famous for spectacular tourist attractions like Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge. But besides that, this city also features a large variety of world-known architecture, like Transamerica Pyramid, Grace Cathedral and others. Take this walking tour to explore the most famous architectural...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 Km or 2.5 Miles
Union Square Walking Tour

Union Square Walking Tour

Union Square is known as San Francisco's most popular shopping destination and the third largest shopping area in the United States. In addition to that, Union Square features many amazing restaurants, theaters and a wonderful concentration of fine art galleries. Take this walking tour to explore Union Square's main tourist attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Gay Nightclubs and Bars Tour

Gay Nightclubs and Bars Tour

San Francisco is known as the gay capital of the world. The famous Castro district offers a wide variety of entertaining options, like bars, cafés and nightclubs. The bar and club scenes are incredibly diverse in age, race and interests. Take this tour to explore San Francisco Gay nightlife.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

Divine Artisan Chocolates in San Francisco

Divine Artisan Chocolates in San Francisco

San Francisco is home to the most delicious artisan chocolates! From the historic Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory to New American TCHO chocolates, there are many local chocolate boutiques and factories to visit where you might be treated to a few samples. From exotic flavors such as lavender-walnut...
14 Souvenirs That Scream San Francisco

14 Souvenirs That Scream San Francisco

Home to many historic landmarks, such as Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and Alcatraz, San Francisco is closely associated with many iconic images of the American culture, such as Levi's jeans, baseball, and hippie movement. Modern Frisco carefully preserves its legacy by keeping it alive...