San Francisco - Castro Street
Castro-Noe Valley is an area of San Francisco made up the two neighborhoods Castro and Noe Valley. The area is bounded roughly by the Twin Peaks on the west, Dolores Street on the east, Duboce Avenue on the north and San Jose Avenue on the south.
Originally an Irish working class neighborhood of San Francisco, the Castro for the past 35 years, has been transformed and recognized by many as the gay mecca of the world. Filled with bookstores, clothing outlets, video stores, and bars (and practically anything else you can think of) that cater towards the GLBT community, the Castro is a REQUIRED VISIT for anyone even slightly interested in gay lifestyle and culture, and is truly a local authentic gem of San Francisco.
Noe Valley is a long gentrified neighborhood in San Francisco with many hip and trendy restaurants and boutique shops. The main commercial corridor is on 24th Street between Guerrero Street and Diamond Street. Walking along 24th Street during the day you will see well-attended coffee shops, chic boutiques, and several baby strollers. You can learn more about the goings-on in Noe Valley by reading either the print or online edition of the Noe Valley Voice .
This is the best way to get to the Castro. The K, L, or M MUNI Metro underground lines at the Church Street station at Market and Church and the Castro Street station at Market and Castro. The J Church line can also get you to the Castro, although it comes above ground and turns south on Church Street, which runs along the eastern edge of the district. For a more scenic ride, take the historic F Market streetcar line from Fisherman's Wharf, the Embarcadero and Downtown down Market to Castro Street.
MUNI bus lines which serve the area include 24-Divisadero, which runs along Castro Street through most of the district, heading north to Pacific Heights and southeast to Bayview-Hunters Point, the 33-Stanyan, which runs east-west along 18th Street, the 48-Quintara/24th Street, which runs east-west along 24th Street, continuing east to Potrero Hill and west past Twin Peaks, West Portal and into Sunset, and the 35 and 37 neighborhood lines.
The BART system runs through the nearby Mission neighborhood, where you can either get off at the 16th Street station and transfer to the #33 bus line, or get off at the 24th Street station and transfer to the #48 bus line.
Don't drive into the area. Use public transit instead. There is a public parking garage on Noe just north of Market, but it is small. Street parking is very hard to find, especially on the weekends. If you park at the Safeway on Market and you don't go exclusively there, you will be towed. There are some metered spots along 18th between Sanchez and Eureka, but these are hard to come by. On weekends, parking is better as the 2-hour neighborhood permits don't apply. Noe Valley has one small public lot, but you will likely need to find street parking, and this can be particularly scarce on weekends during brunch and dinner times.
- The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street(between 17th and 18th Streets), ☎ +1 415 621-6120, . A lovingly restored Art Deco jewelbox of an independent movie theatre, with a Wurlitzer organ and splendid organist, special sing-along showings, and more. A "rep house" or repertory theater, it tends to screen a wide variety of classic or obscure but worthwhile films, and be a venue of choice of local film festivals..
- LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street(at Octavia), . The Center houses the offices of various community organizations, and has space for public events and meetings. The ground floor features a cafe space, and on the third floor there is a cyber center which offers an hour of free computer time.
There are several major cultural festivals and events in the Castro annually.
- Pink Saturday, (Castro Street from Market St downhill). Saturday night before the LGBT Pride Parade, last weekend in June. A street party, organised by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.Free, donations encouraged.
- Castro Street Fair, (On Castro Street), ☎ +1-415 841-1824, . 7 October 2007 (first Sunday in October) 11-18h. Vendors, dancing, fundraising for community groups.
- Cliff's Variety, 479 Castro Street(between Market and 18th Street), ☎ +1 415 431-5365(fax: +1 415 431-0803). M-Sa 9:30AM-8PM. Toys, gifts, kitchenware, hardware, and the newly remodeled annex next door is where to shop for do it yourself home decor items and is THE place to get rhinestones.
- A Different Light, 489 Castro Street, ☎ +1 415 431-0891, . This is the place to find LGBT books; especially ones too "controversial" for more mainstream bookstores. Its also still possible to pick up community newspapers from outside the area; when there's still some left.
- Under One Roof, 549 Castro Street, ☎ +1 415 503-2300, . M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Supports 33 AIDS Service Organizations throughout the Bay Area. "The mission of Under One Roof is to generate unrestricted funds for agencies that provide HIV/AIDS education and support services."
- ImagiKnit, 3897 18th Street(at Sanchez), ☎ +1 415 621-6642, . M-Sa 11AM-6:30PM, Su 11AM-4PM. These women opened up the yarn shop that they'd like to hang out in and the whole neighborhood concurs that they're doing it right.
- Noe Valley Farmers Market, in the parking lot between Sanchez/Vicksburg. Sa 8AM-Noon, year-round.
- Just For Fun / Scribbledoodles, 3982 24th Street, ☎ +1 415 285-4068. M-F 9AM-9PM, Sa 9AM-8PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Stationery and gifts; custom color printing and calligraphy for announcements. They have also opened an art supply store across the street.
- Church Street Flowers, 212 Church Street, ☎ 4155537762, . M-F 9AM-7PM, Sat 10AM-7PM. Rated 'Best of the Bay' #1 Florist for the past six years, this adorable flower shop has the most beautiful and unique blooms from all over the world.
- 24th Street Cheese Company, 3893 24th Street(between Sanchez and Vicksburg), ☎ +1 415 821-6658. Carries hundreds of cheeses where you can taste before you buy.
- Chow, 215 Church St (Castro)(between 15th St & Market St), ☎ +1 415 552-2469, . M-Th 8AM-11PM, F-Sa 8AM-12AM, Su 8AM-11PM. Serves Traditional American style food. Try their DELICIOUS breakfast made with fresh ingredients. They have reasonable prices, a casual atmosphere, good for kids and large groups, and good waiter service. $11-$30.
- Eric's, 1500 Church Street(at 27th), ☎ +1 415 282-0919(fax: +1 415 282-9989). Mo-Th 11AM-9:15PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 12PM-9:15PM. California Chinese cuisine (e.g.: many vegs are fresh, white or brown rice, mu shu comes with grilled flour tortillas). Tasty food in a bustling place. Accessible, vegetarian friendly, beer and wine, moderately loud.$2-6 apps, $6-$11 entrees ($7 minimum).
- Firefly, 4288 24th Street(between Diamond and Douglass), ☎ +1 415 821-7652, . Daily 5:30PM-10PM. A favorite neighborhood restaurant among locals with creative home cooking and friendly service.
- Hahn's Hibachi, 1305 Castro Street(at 24th Street), ☎ +1 415 642-8151, . The place to go for cheap, fast, and tasty food. Choose from the grilled chicken, mountain of meat, or saute chicken.$8.50-$15.
- Haystack Pizza, 3881 24th Street #606(at Sanchez), ☎ +1 415 647-1929. Su-Th 11:30AM-11PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-Midnight. A neighborhood favorite with a full menu with many choices for various diets.
- Lovejoy's Tea Room, 1351 Church Street(at Clipper), ☎ +1 415 648-5895. Tu-Su 11AM-6PM, F 11AM-7PM. Combination antique store and one of the best places to have a cosy High Tea in the city.
- Noe Valley Bakery, 4073 24th Street(at Castro), ☎ +1 415 550-1405(email@example.com, fax: +1 415 550-1485), . M-F 7AM-7PM, Sa-Su 7AM-6PM. Considered one of the best local bakeries in the area. They supply some of the better SF restaurants as well as neighborhood demand for baked goods.
- Sausage Factory Italian, 517 Castro Street(between 18th Street and 19th Street), ☎ +1 415 626-1250. Daily 11:30AM-12:30AM. It's larger than it looks from the outside, extending back into the middle of the block. Delivery.
- Savor, 3913 24th Street(at Sanchez), ☎ +1 415 282-0344. Su-Th 8AM-10PM, F-Sa 8AM-11PM. A popular brunch spot.
- Sparky's 24-Hour Diner, 242 Church Street(between Market and 15th), ☎ +1 415 626-8666. 24/7 daily. Delivery. Full-on diner fare, good salads and baked items.
- Swatdee Thai Cuisine, 4166 24th Street(between Casto and Diamond), ☎ +1 415 824-8070. Lunch M-F 11:30AM-3:30PM, Dinner daily 4:30PM-10PM.
- Thai House Express, 599 Castro Street(at 19th), ☎ +1 415 864-5000. M-F 11:30AM-10:30PM Sa-Su 11:30AM-1AM. Excellent Thai food in a gay atmosphere, with some dishes that are not on the menu of most American Thai restaurants, such as Kao Soy, chicken with soft and crispy noodles in mustard sauce.
- Yokoso Nippon Sushi, 314 Church Street(at 15th). Looking for good cheap sushi? This is the place for you. Known to locals as "No Name Sushi," this hole-in-the-wall restaurant offers sushi at unbelievably cheap prices. But remember to bring your own beer cause they don't serve alcohol (get it in a brown paper bag to look inconspicuous). They don't accept credit cards either, so come with cash.
- Cafe Flore, 2298 Market Street(at Noe), ☎ +1 415 621-8579, . Su-Th 7AM-11PM, F-Sa 7AM-Midnight. Go for the good tea or latte and the prime people watching, not necessarily the food.
- Samovar Tea Lounge, 498 Sanchez Street(at 18th Street), ☎ +1 415 626-4700, . M-F 7AM-10PM, Sa-Su 8AM-10PM. Live jazz on Fridays, a Stitch-and-Bitch knitting aficionado gathering on Sunday afternoons, over 100 kinds of tea. Comfortable hangout.
- Noe Valley also has the nickname "coffee gulch". While Starbucks is popular, the locals prefer Martha's (24th Street between Church and Sanchez), Tully's (24th between Noe and Sanchez) or Last Laugh Coffee House (1551 Dolores Street at the corner of Dolores and Valley).
- Inn on Castro, 321 Castro Street(at 16th), ☎ +1 415 861-0321(Innkeeper@innoncastro.com), . $95-$190.
- Parker House, 520 Church Street(at 17th), ☎ +1 415 621-3222(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 415 621-4139), . $139-$249.
- Twin Peaks Hotel, 2160 Market Street(between 14th and 15th), ☎ +1 415 863-2909. Not the Ritz but a cheap budget hotel option
- San Francisco Public Library - Noe Valley Branch, 451 Jersey St.(between Diamond and Castro), ☎ +1 415 355-5707, . Su Closed, M Closed, Tu 10-9, W 1-9, Th 10-6, F 1-6, Sa 10-6.
- San Francisco Public Library - Glen Park Branch, 2825 Diamond St.(at Wilder, north of Bosworth), ☎ +1 415 355-2858, . Su Closed, M Closed, Tu 10-6, W 12-8, Th 1-7, F 1-6, Sa 1-6.
This page was last edited at 04:39, on 26 December 2008 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Wikitravel user(s) PerryPlanet, Eco84, MarinaK and Asterix and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.