Points of Interest in the San Francisco Area

Current queer events in San Francisco

Places to eat


San Francisco Travel tips:
-- Don't rent a car. Public transportation is fine, and parking is terrible.
-- Buy a street map and a Muni map. The free hotel maps are awful. It's my pet peeve seeing tourists using a crappy, inaccurate free map which doesn't show the Haight or Golden Gate Park properly, distorting the western half of the city.

Social Spots:

New 2010: Wicked Grounds is a kink cafe at 289 8th near Folsom in the old Hole in the Wall space. They have coffee, food, and also sell erotic toys and artwork.

The new SF LGBT Community Center is at 1800 Market Street at Octavia. They have a cyber center where you can check email for free. Unforuntately the cafe 3 Dollar Bill closed.

NEW URL: The women owned and operated tattoo shop Black And Blue Tattoo has moved from its old location on 14th by the now-closed Red Dora's to a new location: 381 Guerrero at 16th St in San Francisco. Open every day from 12 noon to 7 pm.

Castro Country Club -- Coffeehouse at 4058 18th St near Castro. A nice place to relax when visiting the Castro, and also a place to find information about local drug and alcohol recovery groups. Also has a computer to check email on.

QComedy gay comedy shows -- for information and current location, see QComedy.com.

Glamarama is a hair salon which also has art shows.

Record Stores:
Streetlight 2350 Market and 3979 24th St. Streetlight is a good general new and used record store, with plenty of used vinyl and cds.
Aquarius 1055 Valencia St. Aquarius specializes in unusual and experimental music. They also have other sorts of new and used vinyl and CDs.
Closed circa 2011: Medium Rare, 2310 Market St.: If your taste runs to the campy, exotica, or show tunes, this was the place for you. Too bad it's closed.
Mission Records has closed as of the end of 2003. The space at 2263 Mission St. is now The Dark Room, a performance space.
Closed: Open Mind Music, 342 Divisadero
Recycled Records: 1377 Haight St near Masonic: They have only used vinyl and Cds. Good prices, and a great place to find obscure records from the 70s.
Amoeba: 1855 Haight St near Stanyan, San Francisco and 2466 Telegraph, Berkeley. Probably the Bay Area's best record store. Amoeba is the size of a supermarket, and has tons of new and used vinyl and CDs and DVDs.
Mod Lang: Has moved from their old location on University Avenue in Berkeley to 6328 Fairmount Ave, rear, 3 doors up from San Pablo Ave in El Cerrito, near El Cerrito Plaza BART. Mod Lang specializes in British imports and indie stuff. A good place to find that Sarah Records 7" you've been looking for.
Saturn Records has lots of hard-to-find collectable records. 1501 Powell Suite "D", Emeryville, Ca 94602, Phone: (510) 407-0358, Fax: (510) 407-0358

Comic Stores:
Whatever... is a gay-owned comic store at 548 Castro Street, SF, CA that supports local gay comics creators.
Isotope: The Comic Book Lounge is a unique comics store in Hayes Valley at 326 Fell St. at Gough.
Comix Experience, 305 Divisidero near Haight: A good selection of comics, including underground comics.
Closed 2011: Comic Relief (Berkeley):
Fantastic Comics opened in the old Comic Relief space at 2026 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704.
Closed 2012: Al's Comics has a new location right across the street from the LGBT Community Center at 1803 Market St., San Francisco near Octavia.

San Francisco is known as a city with plenty of great bookstores.
Goteblüd is a vintage zine store and gallery and home of the comic book Wuvable Oaf, located in the Mission District of San Francisco. It is owned by Matt Wobensmith, formerly of Outpunk. Store hours are 12-5pm, every weekend. Opened in May 2009, Goteblud is at 766 Valencia, between 18th and 19th.
Little Otsu sells indie comics and zines. They used to be at 849 Valencia St, but that closed in 2010. In March 2012 they got a department in Rare Device's space at 600 Divisadero St.
Needles and Pens sells zines and indie comics and has now moved from 14th St. to the former location of Otsu, 3253 16th St. (between Guerrero and Dolores) They're usually open Tuesday-Sunday.
Modern Times has a new location at 2919 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. Sells new books on general topics, politics, and Spanish language books, plus some used books.
Borderlands Books -- Science fiction, fantasy, and horror books. And the coolest bookstore cat ever -- a hairless sphinx. At 866 Valencia St, near to Dog Eared Books. Also has a cafe next door.
Dog Eared Books has used and remaindered books as well as new magazines and some used zines. 900 Valencia St. (@ 20th), San Francisco, CA 94110
The Pirate Store, at 826 Valencia, sells McSweeney's and related magazines and books.
A Different Light 489 Castro: San Francisco's branch of the gay and lesbian bookstore chain.
Bolerium Books has three specialties: Gay History, Labor History, and Black History. It's not a bargain place, but there are a lot of books they have you can't find elsewhere. The location is obscure and a lot of locals don't know about it. Ring the bell, get buzzed in, and it's on an upper floor. While you're there, check out the other bookstores in the building. 2141 Mission between 17th and 18th, third floor.
Bound Together: 1369 Haight: San Francisco's Anarchist Bookstore. Plenty of zines -- a must-visit place. http://www.boundtogether.org/
The Magazine -- used and vintage porn, going way back to physique magazines from the 1950s. 920 Larkin in the Tenderloin.
Collectors Realm in Berkeley has used and vintage porn, including physique magazines and super-8 movies. 2566 Telegraph, Berkeley.
Issues sells U.S. and International magazines on all subjects, plus books, t-shirts, vinyl, cards, gifts & more. 20 Glen Avenue at Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, CA
Moe's Books , 2476 Telegraph, Berkeley: Large, multi-floor used bookstore, a must to visit when in Berkeley.

Video Stores: If you're just visiting, you might not rent any videos, but here's a list.
Le Video has an extensive collection of DVDs, Blu Ray, and videotapes, including a lot of foreign films. 1231 and 1239 9th Avenue, between Lincoln Way and Irving Street in the Sunset district, just south of Golden Gate Park.
Lost Weekend has British videos you can't get anywhere else in San Francisco, such as Brass Eye, Ali G., and more. 1034 Valencia St. at 21st St, San Francisco, phone: 415-643-3373
s>Into Video is at 1439 Haight Street. Besides video rentals, they also have great selections of T-shirts, and are open late. Closed.
Leather Tongue: 714 Valencia. Queer-owned video store with a great selection of cult videos (and I mean cult -- check out the Manson section!) Also has zines and comics. Closed.
Naked Eye: -- 607 Haight St. between Steiner and Pierce. Closed.

Movie Theaters:

Every June is the GLBT Film Festival

Peaches Christ is a drag queen who hosts movie screenings in San Francisco
Roxie Cinema 3117 16th St. at Valencia. When not showing the film festival, this is a good repetory movie theater that shows lots of old, obscure, great stuff.
The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro: A real movie palace. Some screenings are preceeded by a live organist playing.
Red Vic Movie House 1727 Haight: Sit on comfy couches and eat popcorn sprinkled (optionally) with yeast as you watch cult movies at the Red Vic.
Hell on Frisco Bay is an SF film blog.
The Balboa Theater features good recent movies and foreign films.
Artists Television Access has video screenings. 992 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA. (415) 824-3890
SF Cinematheque screens experimental films at various venues.
Pacific Film Archive is associated with the Berkeley Art Museum and shows cultural films.

Rainbow Grocery: This worker-run food store has existed for quite some time and has a large location. This is the place to get all sorts of health food, organic produce and so on. 1745 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA Also the Cheese department has their own facebook page at RainbowGroceryCheese

New URL: Long Haul Resource Center, 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley 510/845-0540: East Bay activist center and reading room. The publication Slingshot is produced here. There sometimes is a late-night queer space on Monday nights.

Community Thrift: A large thrift store; the proceeds go to gay and AIDS charities. In addition to the usual thrift-store items, they have leather pants, gay magazines and books, and more $1 disco records than you can imagine. (625 Valencia near 17th St.) There's lots of other thrift stores on Valencia and on Mission, such as Thrift Town at 2102 Mission at 17th (the one that used to have the "17 Reasons" sign.)

Osento is a women's bath house. Jacuzi, sauna, steam room, massage. No sexual contact is allowed, and it is not exclusively queer. 955 Valencia, 282-6333. Closed.

Museum of Modern Art, 151 3rd St., 357-4000, closed Mondays.
Yerba Buena Center contemporary art museum also has film screenings

Exploratorium: A hands-on museum of science and art with lots of interesting exhibits. Closed Mondays, Marina Blvd. and Lyon St. 561-0360.

Cartoon Art Museum: 655 Mission: A museum of comics. phone: 415-CAR-TOON.

New Public Library, Larkin between Grove and Fulton. The recently opened new Public Library is big and has a lot of books. There are also computer which can be used to access the internet, but they're usually busy. There's a gay and lesbian room. To search the card catalog, visit their webpage. If you have a San Francisco library card, you can use that to access more databases. Check out Queerest Library Ever the blog of the SF Public Library's LGBT Resources.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society of Northern California has exhibits and archives. They have a very extensive collection of queer zines which includes most of the zines reviewed in Queer Zine Explosion. They're open Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 pm. GLBT Historical Society, 657 Mission Street #300, San Francisco, CA 94105 415-777-5455. They have an exhibit space in the Castro, the GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St. near Castro

Audium is an unusual sound experience, with shows on Friday and Saturday nights.

There's a machine in the mall in Japantown (the building with the bookstore) which makes instant photo rubber stamps - though they also have sticker machines.

the Musee Mechanique which was been at the Cliff House is now housed at Pier 45.
The Musee Mechanique is a collection of animated dioramas (including a guilotine), nickelodeons, player pianos, and other coin-operated gadgets. Admission is free, and you can have plenty of fun for a couple bucks in change. For the more modern-oriented, there is also a video arcade. When it was at the Cliff House, there was also a camera obscura outside which cost a buck -- see the world projected upside down on a piece of plywood. Wow!

To reach the Cliff house and the following four locations, take the 38 Geary Bus all the way West.

Ocean Beach -- South of the Cliff House and down the hill, there's a beach running along the west end of San Francisco. Go and look at the ocean and play in the sand.

Sutro Baths -- northeast of the Cliff House are the ruins of the Sutro Baths a huge old public bathhouse. There is also a tunnel dug through a cliff. Very cool.

Land's End -- to the northeast of the Cliff House and up the hill is an area called Land's End. Follow the paths from the parking area and you can walk around in nature and see the Golden Gate Bridge.

Baker Beach -- a beach in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The North part of the beach is a nude beach. To get there, walk north from the west end of Gibson Road, just off Bowley Street. Bowley is just west of Fort Point, off Lincoln Boulevard, and near the southwest corner of the Presidio, which is your best landmark. Follow the well-marked trail to the beach that begins near Lincoln.

Twin Peaks is a good place to get a view of the city, and even the east bay if it's clear. You'll get pretty tired out if you try to walk up there, so get someone with a car to drive you. Twin Peaks is the large hill that is visible to the west if you're standing at Market and 16th.

Coit Tower, end of Lombard St. in North Beach, open 10 to 7: offers a nice view of San Francisco. There are also murals by Diego Rivera that are visible through windows even when the tower is closed.

Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, 348 Precita Av., 285-2287. They offer mural walk tours at 1 pm on Saturdays.

Golden Gate Park: This is a large park in the western part of San Francisco. There's a variety of different areas in the park, such as the arboretum, Stowe Lake, and even a bison herd.


Haunted Haight is a walking tour featuring the supernatural history of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood.

Foot Tours offers walking tours of San Francisco led by local comedians.

Tours of the City gives tours of San Francisco.

Tour books:
There's plenty of mainstream tourist books available in any travel section, but here's a couple that are more off the beaten track:
Betty and Pansy's Severe Queer Review is a queer-oriented travel guide to San Francisco. You should be able to find a copy at A Different Light.
"The Underground Guide to San Francisco" is published by Manic D. and is a tourist guidebook to San Francisco with an alternative bent -- now in a new revised edition.

Mister SF is a site with a wealth of information on past and present San Francisco.

Check out Destinations SF "Pride" tour and Culture on the Edge.

My friends and relatives often stay at the Metro Hotel on Divisadero Street near Haight when visiting San Francisco.

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