Free bear hugs! Cuddly non-conformists and friendly freethinkers put the Castro on the map – making it a mecca for throngs of tourists and revelers from all over the world. One of the city’s most vibrant and cohesive communities, this area is saturated with stylish shops and bars so popular that patrons spill out onto the street. Plunge into the welcoming mix; beautiful homes, great eats, and thriving nightlife make the Castro an entertaining classic.

Golden era movie house, the Castro Theatre, is the main strip’s neon landmark. The theater’s behemoth Wurlitzer organ has been accompanying silver screen must-see movies since 1922. Nearby, legendary bars like Twin Peaks, Badlands, and Harvey’s anchor the area in old school cocktail craftsmanship and relics of more tumultuous bygone eras.

Stake your claim at the bar and enjoy bacon beignets and glasses of wine at buzzy gastronaut hotspot Frances. Sip a margarita between mouthwatering bites of duck mole tacos at Hecho, the neighborhood’s splashy modern-Mex joint. Bask in the rotating roster of brunch hotspots; Starbelly, Chow, and Morning Due have weekend carbo-loading down to a science. Shop and browse for things both practical and pleasurable in the unique – and sometimes risqué – boutiques that dot its streets. In the Castro, boredom is not an option.

Need a nature infused interlude from the urban bustle? Hike to nearby Buena Vista Park, climb to the top of Twin Peaks, or scale Mt. Sutro for a fresh air fix with a healthy helping of views.

Artfully restored Victorians make up the bulk of this colorful community’s sought-after housing stock. Its quieter residential lanes make it a safe, sought-after place to call home.

With the Haight to the north, Twin Peaks and Cole Valley to the west, the Mission to the east, and Noe Valley to the south, the Castro is smack, dab in the middle of some of San Francisco’s most popular destinations. Accessing the rest of the city is a piece of cake from here– multiple MUNI lines allow you to come and go as you please. Vintage streetcars, hailing from as far away as Milan, traverse Market Street on the regular, so getting downtown is a snap.