The Castro has an average violent crime rate and an above average property crime rate for San Francisco.
The Castro is known for its history as a predominantly gay neighborhood and as an important site for LGBTQ rights activism. Its past and present are clear in the downtown area of the neighborhood, which is located at the intersection of Market and Castro Streets (marked by Harvey Milk plaza): here you will find plenty of gay bars, shops, and restaurants with cheeky names pointing to this history (such as the bar, Moby Dick), and roads with rainbow bands on them, the universal symbol of queer identity.
While it is still considered a gay mecca, it offers a friendly, vibrant community to all, not just gays -- though the main drag can make it feel that way, the larger neighborhood has a more diverse population.
In its more recent history, The Castro has become a home for tech professionals thanks to its central location, proximity to plenty of public transportation, sunny days, and its many refurbished Victorian, Edwardian, and Modernist houses. It's still a draw for gay and queer individuals, but only the more successful ones are able to afford to live here. It’s very walkable (which is good, because parking is terrible) and borders the popular Dolores Park.
The Castro is an incredible area and a frequent tourist attraction. It welcomes everyone and has a strong community feel. Nudists walk around openly (though their genitals are required by law to be covered in public) as do the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (drag queens who incorporate Catholic garments and iconography into their outfits) so if you decide to move here, make sure you have an open mind for the established culture.
If you have children or plan to soon, understand that you may be having some interesting conversations earlier on than you may like, such as what a drag queen is, what sex stores are, and why some men in their neighborhood walk around wearing very little.
It’s an exciting and fun area and is incredibly important in the history of the gay rights movement. The nightlife caters to LGBTQ clientele, but head down Market Street to find plenty of other bars nearby. Away from the Castro and Market Street intersection it gets quieter, especially as you move out towards other neighborhoods. Overall, it’s still very near the activity and city vibe, so it’s ideal for people who want easy access to the party while actually living on a quiet street.
A communal space featuring an enormous rainbow flag and named after Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist and politician.
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