Hello Mission District / The Castro
"The American dream starts with its neighborhoods." So said Harvey Milk, the politician and gay rights activist who has gone down in history as one of The Castro's most famous residents. Milk was responsible for helping to bring about a bill that outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in San Francisco, but his life was cruelly cut short by an assassin in 1978. His legacy continues to this day in the form of the Castro Street Fair, which Milk founded in 1974 and takes place every October. This is one of the most colorful and lively events on the San Fran calendar and is indicative of what makes the Castro such a culturally-vibrant, feel-good place to be. Catch a film at the legendary Castro Theater – famous for its neon red lettering – or, otherwise, check out the bars and clubs that fizz with energy and late-night revelry.
Wander across Dolores Park to get to the Mission District – or, better yet, grab a picnic and a frisbee and enjoy a few hours of fun there first. When you're ready for a drink or, unprepared, didn't think to throw a hamper together, you'll quickly find plenty of options in the Mission District, one of San Francisco's most culturally diverse and effortlessly cool neighborhoods. Mission Street – and the stretch between 14th Street and Cesar Chavez Street in particular – is the best place to start; this is the heart of Latin American San Francisco and is as colorful and culturally vibrant as you might expect. The taquerias are especially good here – no trip to the Mission District is complete without a Mission Burrito, after all. Hipster San Franciscans frequent the sharp coffee shops and cutting-edge restaurants of Valencia Street, while the neighborhood is also famous for its street art and diverse range of festivals and cultural events. From the San Francisco Food Fair to the Hunky Jesus Contest - the Mission District has you covered.