What to Do, See, Experience in The Gay Mecca of San Francisco

Image via Golden Gate Bridge Facebook Page

From Gilbert Baker raising the first rainbow flag to Harvey Milk being one of the country’s first openly gay politicians, San Francisco has become one of the largest and most prominent LGBTQ communities in the United States. The city, rich in history and culture, prides itself on being the “original gay-friendly city.” This was my first time visiting San Francisco, so I was ready to experience all it had to offer – and it did not disappoint! Here’s a recap of the great experience I had during my San Francisco getaway.



Accommodations were made at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco, which is celebrating its 50-year anniversary. Also known as the Embarcadero’s premier waterfront hotel, the Hyatt’s recent $50 million renovation brings modernist touches to its affordably luxurious rooms and suites, which is located within walking distance to some of San Francisco’s most popular attractions including its popular cable cars, Pier 33, and the infamous Chinatown neighborhood. We were set up in a spacious and cozy room that would allows guests to step out onto the balcony and take in fantastic views of the San Francisco Bay. 

Pride Package

Whenever I travel to a new city or destination, I am always looking for ways to make the most of my stay, and lucky for any guest, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco offers several special rates and packages. In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, the hotel has curated an exclusive Pride Package, where guest can enjoy an upgraded balcony room/suite, two signature Pride cocktails on check-in, and an invite to the San Francisco Pride Parade viewing event in the hotel’s corner suite (if their stay coincides with the event). This exclusive package is valid May 24-June 25, so if you unable to make it this time around, perhaps this is something to check out next year.



While staying at the Hyatt Regency, we had the VIP experience at Eclipse Kitchen & Bar, which is conveniently nestled in the hotel’s atrium lobby. Not only can guests indulge in classic San Francisco cuisine, end their day with a signature cocktail, or sample a hand-selected flight of California wines, but they are bound to take in the grandeur of the lobby’s architecture. Elegant ambience meets flavorful cuisine at this vibrant hotspot. Some of my top picks include the Dungeness crab cake, the bistro steak with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and grilled broccolini, the chicken potstickers, and the San Francisco clam chowder, which is served in a boudin sourdough bread bowl. Seriously, if you’ve never had the clam chowder here in San Francisco before, it is a definite must. 

Eclipse also offers a full-scale breakfast buffet every morning (not complimentary), and if you are a person constantly on-the-go, then I would suggest grabbing a quick bite at The Market, which is located right next to Eclipse. The Market serves hot and cold meals in convenient packaging, coffee, tea, juice, snacks, and so much more. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be happy to know they carry decadent chocolate confections!

Regency Club

The Hyatt Regency also has an exclusive lounge located on the hotel’s top floor, with breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and the extension bridge. Reserved only for guests staying on the 15th and 16th floors, the Regency Club offers a daily Continental breakfast, light snacks in the afternoon, evening hors d’oeuvres, and dessert. It’s a prime spot to connect, collaborate, and socialize, but I would highly suggest getting there early because the space tends to fill up fast, and food can be gone as quick as it’s served. 




Not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of going out to bars anymore, but since San Francisco is an epicenter of LGBTQ culture, I had to patron at least a couple. So, here are some signature spots I would recommend if you’re looking to grab a cocktail or enjoy a night on the town. 

Oasis: This large South of Market (SoMa) club co-owned by drag queens D’Arcy Drollinger and the late Heklina has been a bright spot for LGBTQ nightlife, providing a venue for dance parties, drag shows, and cabaret stars passing through town like Justin Vivian Bond and Our Lady J. The front bar sometimes plays host to smaller events like RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties, and in addition to the large dance floor area and back bar, there is a sizable roof deck that’s used more in the warmer months (it usually features a pop-up taco stand!)


Lone Star Saloon: Bears and cubs loves the Lone Star, and it has become their clubhouse over the years. The expansive back patio, with its own bar, gets crowded during beer busts and occasional weekend parties, but generally, this place has room for moving around and space to play pool in the main bar. It’s also a fun place for day parties, where disco blasts inside and on the patio. Whether you’re butch, femme, faux-butch, or whatever, there’s something and someone for you at the Lone Star.

San Francisco Eagle Bar: Revived after near extinction a couple years back, the SF Eagle is the stomping ground for San Francisco’s leather community, as well as home to the biggest outdoor patio. Sunday beer busts have traditionally been some of the busiest times to come, but monthly parties bring in fabulous DJs and draw a younger crowd, including some puppy play fetishists. 


Additional Attractions & Highlights

Of course, sightseeing is a must-do on any traveler’s itinerary. From the old and iconic to the modern and downright quirky, tourist attractions are what make a memorable trip. I love visiting significant historical and cultural landmarks, and below are a couple stops I made throughout my weekend in San Francisco. 

Golden Gate Bridge: Need I say more? This suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate, (the one-mile-wide strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean), carries pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and is designated as part of U.S. Bicycle Route 95. Recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the Wonders of the Modern World, the structure is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco and California. 

Coit Tower: This 210-foot tower located in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood overlooks the city and bay. It was built between 1932-1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit’s (a patron of San Francisco’s volunteer firefighters) bequest to beautify the city. The interior features fresco murals in the American fresco mural painting style, painted by 25 different onsite artists and their numerous assistants. Coit Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2008. 


Full House House: Have Mercy! If you are a fan of the popular 90s sitcom Full House, then this will be a fun stop. Located at 1709 Broderick St., it’s pretty awesome to see the actual house that was used for the exterior shots of Danny Tanner’s home. It may look a little different than what you remember thanks to some renovations and updated paint jobs, but your inner child will squeal with delight. But while taking photos and selfies, please be respectful since this is a private residence. And no, you cannot go inside. Why would you? The interior shots were done in Hollywood. 

The Painted Ladies: Located across the street from Alamo Square along Steiner Street, the Painted Ladies of San Francisco are a must-see on your visit. Also referred as the Seven Sisters or Postcard Row, but the term “painted ladies” refers to any historic house (usually a Victorian or Edwardian house) built in the late 1800s or early 1900s with three or more paint colors. The San Francisco set is symbolic of the famous California Gold Rush because with so much money coming into the city, builders wanted to show off their newfound wealth with these grand homes.

San Francisco Cable Cars: The San Francisco cable car system is the world’s last manually operated cable car system, and it’s iconic to the city. Of the 23 cable car lines established between 1873-1890, only three remain. While they are used to a certain extent by commuters, the vast majority of the millions of passengers who use the system every year are tourists, and as a result, the wait to get on can often reach two hours or more. They are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Chinatown: San Francisco’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, as well as the oldest Chinatown in North America. It is one of the city’s top tourist attractions, and you will feel as if you’ve stepped into another world. It is easy to spend a day here, exploring the bustling streets and alleys, browsing the souvenir shops, and enjoying the delicious, authentic Chinese food (dim sum!) and other traditional eateries. Additionally, there are ornate temples including the landmark Tien How, as well as the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum.


Castro District: Commonly referred to as the Castro, this neighborhood in Eureka Valley was one of the first gayborhoods in the United States and remains one of the most prominent symbols of LGBTQ activism and events in the world. The neighborhood has a lot to offer including a great nightlife scene, Instagram-worthy murals, a vibrant LGBTQ community, and rich history. There’s a lot to explore, so I would recommend putting the Castro at the top of your list. 


So, are you ready for a fabulous San Francisco getaway? Do you have any recommendations on something we should check out? If so, let us know in the comments!

1 thought on “What to Do, See, Experience in The Gay Mecca of San Francisco”

  1. I live near the gay mecca of San Francisco & love going to all the gay bars around here, so many hot gay boys everywhere.


Leave a Comment