One of a series of plaques on Castro Street paying tribute to notable San Francisco residents.
Reads: “Allen Ginsberg (1926 – 1997) Renowned poet, leading figure of the beat generation of American writers and artists, champion of freedom of expression and sexual self-determination”.
The Castro neighborhood is best-known as San Francisco’s “Gay Village”. Coming down Market Street on the F-Market streetcar, the closer you get to Castro Street, the more rainbow flags there are hanging from light posts and in windows along the way.
While certainly bustling with steady foot traffic, this area is not as tourist-mobbed as many other popular spots in San Francisco. There is plenty of breathing room and the atmosphere here is very relaxed. There are a lot of little independent cafes, bakeries, restaurants, and very unique boutiques. There is also a fairly high concentration of businesses that serve dogs and their owners.
When you hop off of the F-Market streetcar at the last stop and look up to see the gigantic rainbow flag waving above the Castro Street signpost, you know you are here!
Southward view down Castro Street is dominated by the iconic Castro Theater sign
Castro Theater Marquee ~ they have sing-along nights every week.
Castro Theater entrance/ticket booth
Castro Coffee Company. Don’t be fooled by this shop’s unassuming appearance; the coffee here is the best in the world.
A rack of “Men’s Magazines”. It is worthy of note that this is not in some sort of “specialty” shop; it is in a regular corner variety store of the sort where you stop in to get soda, chips, cigs, etc. File under “You know you’re in The Castro when…”.
Gay wedding announcement cards in one of the Castro’s several smoke shops.
Rainbow-colored crosswalk across Castro Street. Another reminder of exactly where you are.
Rainbow-colored crosswalks, Castro and 18th Streets.
Even the Walgreens here is gay!
As mentioned earlier, there are several businesses here that cater to dogs. Here is a video view of “Mudpuppys Dog Spa”. The client dogs wait their turn in booths at the front window. They all seemed very happy to be here.
It’s hard not to notice that many of the businesses here leave bowls of water out on the sidewalk for passing pooches.
The pizza here is served with pride
A place called “The Sausage Factory” in The Castro? Sounds fishy to me!
massage and skin care… hmmmm….
Well this sign in front of The Men’s Wellness Center was hard to miss…
Spikes Coffee. Good coffee and tea, nice people, casual vibe. Just around the corner on 19th Street, one block down from the rainbow crosswalks. Dogs are welcome; they keep a bowl of fresh water just outside the door so your pooch can enjoy a drink too.
A couple of locals relaxing and enjoying a sunny sunday afternoon. My phone rang just as I snapped this picture; by the time I was done with the call, they had gotten up and left, so I didn’t get a chance to speak with them. So I have obscured their faces in order to maintain their anonymity here.
Open-air back lot of the garden supply store on Castro Street. Being tourists, we should not have wound up inside of a place like this, but my son came up with the idea to look for a terrarium. I don’t know what the hell was going on in his head lol.
One more look back before we leave. Castro Street southward view from corner of 18th.