San Francisco/Castro-Noe Valley

The colorful Castro is the famous gay center of San Francisco, a vibrant and historic neighborhood full of businesses geared towards the city's LGBT community. Adjacent to the Castro and sitting beneath Twin Peaks to the west is Noe Valley, a pleasant neighborhood with lots of lovely restaurants and boutiques to explore. The area is bounded roughly by the Twin Peaks on the west, Dolores/Church Streets on the east, Duboce Avenue on the north and San Jose Avenue on the south.


Map of Castro-Noe Valley

Originally an Irish working-class neighborhood of San Francisco, the Castro has been transformed for the past 35 years and recognized by many as the gay mecca of the world. Filled with bookstores, clothing outlets, video stores and bars (and practically anything else you can think of) that cater towards the LGBT community, the Castro is a required visit for anyone even slightly interested in gay lifestyle and culture, and is truly a local authentic gem of San Francisco.

Noe Valley is a long gentrified neighborhood in San Francisco with many hip and trendy restaurants and boutique shops. The main commercial corridor is on 24th Street between Guerrero Street and Diamond Street. Walking along 24th Street during the day you will see well-attended coffee shops, chic boutiques and several baby strollers. You can learn more about the goings-on in Noe Valley by reading either the print or online edition of the Noe Valley Voice.

Get in

By Muni

This is the best way to get to the Castro. The K, L, or M MUNI Metro underground lines are the quickest way from Downtown, stopping at the Church Street station at Market and Church and the Castro Street station at Market and Castro, with the T line also serving trips inbound to Downtown. The J Church line can also get you to the Castro, although it comes above ground and turns south on Church Street, which runs along the eastern edge of the district. For a more scenic ride, take the historic F Market streetcar line from Fisherman's Wharf, the Embarcadero and Downtown down Market to Castro Street.

MUNI bus lines which serve the area include 24-Divisadero, which runs along Castro Street through most of the district, heading north to Pacific Heights and southeast to Bayview-Hunters Point, the 33-Ashbury/18th, which runs east-west along 18th Street, the 48-Quintara/24th Street, which runs east-west along 24th Street, continuing east to Potrero Hill and west past Twin Peaks, West Portal and into Sunset, and the 35-Eureka and 37-Corbett neighborhood lines.

The BART system runs through the nearby Mission neighborhood, where you can either get off at the 16th Street station and transfer to the 33 bus line, or get off at the 24th Street station and transfer to the 48 bus line.

By car

Don't drive into the area. Use public transit instead. There is a public parking garage on Noe just north of Market, but it is small. Street parking is very hard to find, especially on the weekends. If you park at the Safeway on Market and you don't go exclusively there, you will be towed. There are some metered spots along 18th between Sanchez and Eureka, but these are hard to come by. On weekends, parking is better as the 2-hour neighborhood permits don't apply. Noe Valley has one small public lot, but you will likely need to find street parking, and this can be particularly scarce on weekends during brunch and dinner times.


Castro Theater


There are several major cultural festivals and events in the Castro annually.



Rainbow flags are a common sight in the Castro


Castro Street




Houses in Noe Valley


Go next

Routes through Castro-Noe Valley

Balboa Park  S  N  Mission Financial District
Balboa Park West Portal  SW  NE  Civic Center Financial District
Sunset West Portal  SW  NE  Civic Center Financial District
Balboa Park West Portal  SW  NE  Civic Center Financial District

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, May 17, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.