SF Neighborhoods

San Francisco, USA

6 places
SF Neighborhoods

Sasha MOW

Explore the city: from the biggest US Chinatown to gays and hippies

It's hard to imagine a more LGBT- friendly place than Castro. No matter who you are, you' re welcome to join the fun. Here boys and girls switch their roles for male attention – a good chance to let your bf know how is feels. But fears aside – the area is straight-safe. It's always hot in Castro due to the weather that's why it has so many nudists – walking around naked is legal, though carry a towel just in case you want to have a bite somewhere. Naturism lovers are mostly guys of all ages and frames – from David-like athletes to elephant-looking fatsoes. Castro is home to America's oldest movies – the Castro Theater and lots of clothing stores and cafes. The area boasts 24/7 parties all week long, which makes it the place where the fun lives.

Chinatown in the City by the Bay is the biggest in the US. Once you step into it forget about America - shops and healing centers with signs in Mandarin, red lanterns, dragons and Asian paraphernalia. Better visit during the daytime - at night everything is closed. By the way, the famous fortune cookies you get with your receipt were invented here - you can visit the plant where they make it - on Ross Alley. As for food, watch where locals eat but it would be great if the place has an English menu. My choice is Peking duck - they know how to make a good one. The food is cheap and good contrasted to souvenirs - expensive and made in China in the worst meaning of this expression.

Golden Gate Bridge is SF number one must-see. This beautiful mist-covered red bridge is also top destination of suicide planners from all over the world (one of them was the founder of Victoria's Secret) – some 12 people a month end their lives jumping off the Golden Gate. Better admire it from outside especially on a hot sunny day, which is a rare case in the city. Go to Baker Beach for a stunning view and perfect pix. If you still want to get on the thing – bike the bridge– rent the vehicle for two hours at Fisherman's Wharf and ride along a nice and safe bike lane but remember about a crazy climb-up before getting on – once you are there you can ride back or make a U-turn and take a motorboat to the wharf where you took the bike, hop on a tram and carry on with your city tour.

You say Haight-Ashbury and remember the summer of 1967 – then some 100,000 hippies from all across the US came here for sex, drugs, rock and roll and freedom. Though years have passed some hippies still live here and are easily taken for SF homeless. It's the best shopping and strolling destination – quite charming and not so crowded. There are lots of vintage clothing stores (dig in if for a rare find) as well as music and bookstores.

The hippest San Francisco neighborhood is also super plain contrasted to the rest of the city – no wild ups and downs which makes it a great walking area. This zip code is quite pricey which means local bars or cafes will not let you down. By night the main Valencia Street is packed with funky and stylish folks. If the sun is shining go to Dolores Park to enjoy the real San Fran.

The most dangerous SF neighbourhood, which feels creepy even at daytime. Legend has it, the place was named like this as all newly assigned cops were taken by their chief to a restaurant to taste great pork tenderloin. The reason to go there is the Little Saigon with its yummy places – cheap and authentic. Watch your bags, don' t talk to strangers or buy crack from them (you' ll get plenty of offers right when you step in). Have a quick Vietnamese lunch and leave before dinner time.

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