So, you’ve hopped a ride on a cable car, gotten spooky on Alcatraz, and gone for a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe you’ve even snapped your picture at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury and worn your legs out climbing up to Coit Tower. You’ve hit all the tourist hot spots, and now you’re thinking you've got San Francisco's go-to guidebook neighborhoods all checked off.
"I'm not going downtown," the bus driver calls over the intercom. I'm aboard the N Judah -- one of San Francisco's Muni Metro light rail lines -- and downtown San Francisco is exactly where I'm heading. I'm making the trip to go ice skating in Union Square, but that's the only set plan.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to fly south with the birds for the winter to bask in sunshine? Well, if you can't join the birds, you can watch them soaring overhead as they travel to balmier climates.
It's easy to know when you've reached the heart of San Francisco's Castro Street; it’s a place that boldly proclaims that you've arrived. Rainbow flags line the road and a giant art deco marquee that reads "Castro" announces the name of the theater it adorns and lets you know what neighborhood you’re in. Shops and businesses along the street entice customers with quirky names and humorous or provocative window displays. This part of town has a spirit of its own; one that is integral to the larger culture of San Francisco.