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Folsom Street Fair (415-777-3247) takes place on the last Sunday in September with the fair on Folsom Street between 7th and 12th Streets. This annual street fair celebrates more flesh than you've ever hoped to stumble upon. Booths, bands, dance floors, thousands of spectators and participants make this a must-see event, at least once in your life. Its unwashed sister, Up Your Alley Fair (415-777-3247), the last weekend in July, is grittier and sleazier, frequented more by the local leather community than out-of-town gawkers.
Castro Street Fair (415-841-1824) takes place the first Sunday in October on Castro Street between 17th and 19th Streets, and has similar booths with less extreme dress than Folsom. For more than 20 years, San Francisco has hosted a popular International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (415-703-8650) every summer.
Attention culture buffs: San Francisco's National Queer Arts Festival runs throughout the month of June and features many talented queer artists and performers. The Festival is co-presented by The Queer Cultural Center and the Harvey Milk Institute.
Carnaval (415-651-1810) takes place in the Mission on Memorial Day weekend. The parade up Mission Street is resplendent in dancers in colorful -- and revealing -? Latin American costumes. The San Francisco International Film Festival (Various theaters around town) runs mid-April through early May. There are hundreds of films and videos from around the world, with a smattering of gay-and-lesbian-themed entertainment.
Japantown (between Geary and Post, and Filmore and Buchanan) appropriately enough plays host to San Francisco's Cherry Blossom Festival (415-563-2313). The festival takes place on two consecutive weekends in mid-April, with a colorful parade concluding the festival. If you're in town in the spring, sniff a few buds at the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show (at Cow Palace; 415-771-6909; $20, day of show, $13 half-day) with cutting-edge landscape design and high-quality exhibits of plants and garden products.
Often overlooked as a day trip by ferry from San Francisco, Sausalito is more than just a tourist trap of art galleries and souvenir shops. It's a romantic getaway where you can canoodle while admiring the sparkling city across the bay, and it?s worth an overnight stay.
Smack in the heart of Sausiltio the historic Casa Madrona's (801 Bridgeway; 800-288-0502; $217+) 63 guestrooms start in the original Victorian B&B perched high on the hillside above, then flow through a series of "casitas" that cascade down the hill, getting all more modern as you approach the ground. The rooms in the Victorian building retain their original details and charm and have spectacular views, but might be small for some; the casitas are comfortable and quirky, with an artsy décor; the modern rooms in the new building evoke modern boutique hotel chic, with clean lines, muted tones and massive bathrooms. The hotel?s spa offers a range of treatments. Downstairs, Poggio (777 Bridgeway; 415-332-7771; $8-23) looks like a Tuscan wine cellar, with mahogany arches and genuine terra cotta flooring. One highlight is the spinach ricotta gnocchi resting on a ragu of slow-braised beef.
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six
Part Seven | Part Eight
San Francisco: Introduction
San Francisco: Where to Stay
San Francisco: Where to Eat
San Francisco: Where to Play/Meet
San Francisco: Where to Shop
San Francisco: Resources