San Francisco Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the best things to do and see in San Francisco
Probably one of the coolest cities in North America, San Francisco has it all: beautiful scenery, a great art scene, excellent international food and all the nightlife you can handle. It’a also gay mecca! Start here with my basic San Francisco travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest San Francisco travel blogs.
When to Visit
The Golden Gate City has pretty mild weather all year round, but the best (or at least most reliable) is probably in fall, from September to November. Visiting at this time means you’ll also miss the tourist rush in summer and there will likely be fewer crowds, but it’s a popular city to visit so there is always cool stuff going on. Otherwise, you may consider making your visit to San Francisco to coincide with one of its many annual events, such as the Chinese New Year parade in January or February, Pride in June, Alice Summerthing, a free music concert also in June or the original Folsom Street Fair in September.
Cool Things To Do
Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge – This iconic bridge, visible from much of the city, offers a really cool way to see the city from a distance. Take your time (and a jacket!) to walk over the bridge to Sausalito, maybe grab some ice cream over there while admiring the view of San Francisco’s skyline and then take the ferry back.
Visit the SFMOMA – The first museum on the West Coast of the US that was dedicated entirely to 20th century art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a architecturally stunning space and has a massive collection of North American and European art, meaning you could easily spend the whole day there.
Drink in a cocktail bar – San Francisco is home to some of the country’s most innovative bartenders who really know what they’re doing when it comes to drinks. Check out some of the coolest cocktail bars in the US…or maybe even the world!
San Francisco Tours
There are several day trips you can make from San Francisco, including to the famous prison island of Alcatraz or to the Muir Woods. Taking a tour while in San Francisco will save you time and let you experience a lot more of the city and its surroundings. Check out this selection of San Francisco tours.
LGBT – Gay San Francisco Travel Guide
Gay-friendly businesses can be found all over San Francisco, though historically, of course, the Castro neighborhood has been the center of gay life in the city, or perhaps even the the whole state. Here are the highlights of the scene in San Francisco you should know about.
The Stud – This worker-owned cooperative club in SoMa is one of the most famous queer venues in San Francisco. Hosting queer burlesque, karaoke, drag show and other regular events, this is the place to come for a late night out – it thankfully stays open an hour later than everywhere else in the city!
The Cinch – With the juxtaposing cowboy theme and erotic art lining its walls, this dark and sometimes dingy dance club is perhaps the friendliest queer place in town. There are regular drag shows on Friday nights, which are always hilarious.
El Rio – Formerly a Brazilian leather bar, this mostly lesbian bar is a popular live indie music venue as well as hosting ping pong competitions, karaoke nights and raucous dance parties.
More gay travel resources here.
San Francisco Hotel Deals
San Francisco has plenty of cool and quirky hotels, as well as all the big chains you’d expect. They often get full when there’s a conference or special event in town, so definitely consider booking in advance. I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be useful for finding last-minute deals.
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