To experience the international LGBTQ capital at its peak, San Francisco during Pride is worth a special visit this June. The City by the Bay, a hub of freedom and liberation, will get even gayer Pride weekend, and by taking Amtrak, you can enjoy every moment of the fun.
From Juanita Moore’s infamous Pride party to multi-day Colossus events, the “holi-gay” in San Francisco is the place to live it up during a rainbow of festivities. And we’ve got the best ways to participate.
Here are eight reasons to visit San Francisco Pride.
1. Arrive in style
Take routes like Amtrak’s California Zephyr® and Coast Starlight to San Francisco from cities like Denver, Phoenix and Chicago. Wherever your journey begins, expect a hassle-free experience in a comfortable setting. Enjoy a beverage and a snack in the Dining Car while kicking back during the adventure.
Choose a window seat and chat up a new friend as you make the trip to SF.
2. Stay at a boutique hotel
San Francisco is known for its boutique. We recommend accommodations near the mid-Market Street/Civic Center area, an intersection central to the events around the city. We’ve rounded up a few options.
- Phoenix Hotel — Part rock ‘n’ roll, part hipster hotspot, Phoenix is in the heart of SF near downtown’s Union Square.
- Kabuki Hotel — For a more traditional hotel experience, Kabuki, in Japantown, is an Uber from the action.
- Hotel Diva — Within the pulse of Union Square, Hotel Diva combines the pomp of major hotels with the boutique intimacy we love.
3. Parties for days
- Nocturnal — Overflowing with guys, this Friday night kick-off pride party, near the SOMA leather bars, lasts until 5 a.m. Saturday.
- Mighty Real Poolside Pride Party — Barbecue, beats and boys will gather round the Phoenix Hotel’s pool deck to enjoy a live performance from Crystal Waters.
- Honey Soundstystem — This is the ultimate dance-tination and hipster haven, jumping from Sunday night until 4 a.m. Monday.
- Colossus — Thumping for multiple days, this gym-themed circuit party starts on Friday and goes until Monday morning.
4. SOMA and Castro bars
Castro is the neighborhood where Harvey Milk earned his political chops and queer activism took root. In the SOMA district (south of Market Street), you’ll find dozens of kitschy spaces and leather bars. Here’s a few musts from both gayborhoods:
- Badlands — At Castro’s most popular video bar, shirts come off and strong cocktails flow at this SF institution.
- Lookout Bar — If you can get a spot on the patio, this second-story dance bar is perfect for people watching.
- SF Eagle — This indoor/outdoor renowned dive bar is great for sunny weekend afternoons.
- The Stud — A campy drag venue know for its cabaret shows.
5. Dolores Park: Trans March & Dyke March
Mission Dolores Park’s famous Fruit Shelf, a grassy ledge and overlook, overflows all weekend during Pride. Catch the Dyke March on Friday and the Trans March on Saturday. Sunday is a general gay-ol’ time. Sun worshipers crowd in to the point that spotting a free patch of grass becomes a game of “Where’s Waldo?”
6. Parade and Civic Center festival
Civic Center, adjacent to historic City Hall, comes to life on both Saturday and Sunday with nearly 16 blocks of festival fun. On Sunday, the big parade begins at Market and Beale streets and ends up at the Civic Center main stage. Enjoy live performances and vendor booths for every flavor.
7. International dining destinations
It’s impossible to narrow down the food options in the city of fresh gourmet food, but we’ll try.
- Starbelly — A perfect place to catch up with friends before a night of partying. Get a table on the back patio, which gets crowded on warm nights.
- Finn Town Tavern — “Cheers” meets upscale Castro favorite, Finn Town’s American comfort menu is a neighborhood must.
- Bar Agricole — In SOMA, near Folsom Street, this hidden patio gem has delicious craft cocktails and the best burger in San Francisco.
8. Relax and release
After the wild weekend of all-night parties and stimulation, you’ll need time to reflect on all the fun. Ride Amtrak home and unwind from the excitement in a spacious, comfortable setting.
The fun is waiting. Book a ticket early and save 20%!