San Francisco has long been a beacon for the LGBTQ community with the first US Gay Community Center, the first Pride Parade, the birthplace of the Rainbow Flag, and many other milestones. The city is welcoming and is one of my favorite detonations when heading to the West Coast.
Located in Northern California, San Francisco blends the laid-back California lifestyle with global influences and modern innovations. The city is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. The city's history dates back to the California Gold Rush and has continued to grow in importance and significance. To help make sure you don't miss a thing, I've compiled the must-see sights in San Francisco.
GLBT Historical Society – For the history buffs, the GLBT Historical Society is the first museum focused on the LGBTQ community. The GLBT Museum has a vast collection of exhibits that focus on the overall impact of our community on the general population.
Palace of Fine Arts - Built for the 1915 World’s Fair, the Palace of Fine Arts features a classical Roman rotunda situated beside a traditional European-Style lagoon. The Palace of Fine Arts is the perfect spot for picnics or an afternoon stroll.
Chinatown - San Francisco’s Chinatown is believed to be the oldest and largest Chinatowns outside of Asia. The Gold Rush brought many Chinese immigrants to the city in the 1840s. By the time the gold had run out, they had established a thriving community!
Alamo Square - You’ve seen this iconic square featured in almost every tv show or movie that has taken place in San Francisco. Alamo Square is a residential neighborhood and park best known for the famous Painted Ladies, which are a row of colorfully painted Victorian houses set against the backdrop of downtown.
Transamerica Pyramid - What the Empire State Building is to New York, the Transamerica Pyramid is to San Francisco. Completed in 1972, the building is located in the heart of the financial district, and at 853-feet tall, it is still the tallest building in San Francisco.
Lombard Street - Hailed as the “crookedest street in the world,” Lombard Street is another of San Francisco’s many iconic locations. Sitting at a 27% incline, Lombard Street features eight tight turns to help cars safely navigate down the road.
Golden Gate Park - For a fun afternoon outdoors, pack a picnic and head to Golden Gate Park. The park is roughly 20% larger than New York's Central Park, which means there is plenty to do. The park is home to museums, lakes, carousels, windmills, bison, and even a Japanese tea garden.
Cable Cars - San Francisco’s cable cars are the only national landmark that moves. The world-famous cars dating back to 1873 and were built sturdy enough to survive the earthquake of 1906 that destroyed most of the city. The cars run on three lines in the steep streets of downtown between Market Street and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Alcatraz - Jutting out of the San Francisco bay is the rocky Alcatraz Island. As early as the 1840s, "The Rock" served as a military prison before becoming a maximum-security prison. There were 36 failed attempts to escape Alcatraz in the history of the prison. Some of the country’s most famous gangsters called Alcatraz home, including George "Machine-Gun" Kelly, Alvin Karpis, and Al Capone.
Fisherman’s Wharf - Fisherman’s Wharf is one of San Francisco’s most popular destinations. The wharf is filled with shops selling fun knick-knacks and restaurants serving up everything from Dungeness crab to sourdough bread. The wharf is best known for being home to Pier 39, a 45-acre waterfront complex filled with restaurants and shops with perfect bay views.
Golden Gate Bridge - Few bridges are as well known as the Golden Gate Bridge. When it was completed in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge spanned 4,200 feet, making it the longest suspension bridge in the world. A trip across the Golden Gate Bridge will take you from San Francisco to Marin County, where you can find incredible views of the city and bay below.
I hope this list gave you some inspiration for your next gaycation to San Francisco. The city is ideal, with plenty of gay bars and other venues to keep you busy for a long weekend or an extended vacation to Northern California.
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