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The Golden Gate Bridge | ©Pixabay
The Golden Gate Bridge | ©Pixabay |

San Francisco: A Top Destination For LGBT Travel

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 6 September 2017

San Francisco is known for many things: the changeable weather, beautiful houses, the trams, famous landmarks, such as the Golden Gate bridge, hipsters and its fascinating history – read on to find out why it is the number one destination for LGBT travel.

A recent study by Nestpick ranked San Francisco at number 10 out of 100 cities that are the best for LGBT identifiers. Considering hundreds of cities were included in this study, that’s a pretty impressive score for San Francisco. Whether you plan to make the big move to the city or you just want to visit, San Francisco makes an unforgettable destination for LGBT travellers.

There are many aspects that come into play in order to determine which city best fits the bill for a traveller looking to immerse themselves in that city’s LGBT culture. That city should have spirited nightlife, open-minded and welcoming locals, and, of course, low levels of hate crime.

With all those things to consider, it appears obvious that San Francisco welcomes the world’s LGBT community with open arms. And one district in San Francisco shouts that statement the loudest. In the Castro district, rainbow flags wave high through the streets with their brightly painted crosswalks. The Castro is also home to the Castro theatre, a historical landmark and movie palace that serves as the home to multiple screenings and film festivals, including the international LGBT-themed Frameline Film Festival. The Castro district alone consists of over 60 gay bars, some of which are world famous. San Francisco’s trailblazing gay movement can be learned on a guided “Cruisin’ the Castro” historical walking tour. Just book ahead!

All over the world, LGBT visitors and globetrotters flock to San Francisco for the LGBT culture. Not just in the Castro district, but citywide gay-friendly businesses, tours and more, are up for exploration and experiencing.

In parts of San Francisco including Downtown, SoMa (South of Market), and the Civic Center even more of the infamous nightlife, clubs, and bars can be heard thumping through the night. Leather bars, drag shows and trans venues, are all at your curious fingertips.

The Mission, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill districts are home to the softer side of LGBT nightlife and culture. Women’s and trans-queer bars are sprinkled all over. Art galleries, community centers, and other venues can mostly be found in the Mission.

For more family-related fun, hit Noe Valley. Historic culture, great brunch spots, and more can be found in this wholesome gay-friendly district.

If you’re a lucky traveller coming to San Francisco in June, get ready because June is Pride month. The extravaganza of Pride Weekend happens worldwide, but celebrating San Francisco Pride shouldn’t be missed if you have the chance to be there. The Pride Parade in San Francisco is the most extravagant event in the world, with nearly 2 million people attending. From the parade itself, the Dyke March, Castro Pink Party, unforgettable performances and dance parties, SF Pride is worthy of being on any LGBT traveller’s bucket list.

While San Francisco is one of the top gay-friendly cities, hate can also be found lurking. Safety is a top priority while traveling and it should be no different while visiting San Francisco. There are certain areas that you should not walk in alone late at night, like the Mission and the Tenderloin. However, remember that San Francisco is a small city (less than 50 square miles) and a couple of quick turns will have you back in the safer districts. Also, the San Francisco Police Department is an avid LGBT supporter and has its own spot in the San Francisco Pride Parade line-up.

Don’t let this deter your travel plans to San Francisco – this city is one of the most accepting and embracing in the world. Both the LGBT and the straight communities have created an atmosphere within the city of love, beauty and open minds, and has so much to offer, so don’t delay, book that vacation today!