The Hotel Palomar (12 Fourth Street, at Market; 415-348-1111 or 866-373-4941; $199+), located in the city's thriving south-of-market district (SOMA) is noted for its elegant style, fine architectural touches, thought-provoking artwork and five star service. Behind the scenes the staff must be running a mile a minute to keep up with guest demands which are met with extra effort and in a sincerely friendly manner. The hotel's rooms begin five floors above the bustle of Market Street (above the Old Navy flagship store), and double-paned windows assure a quiet stay. The Palomar is located in a gorgeously restored 1907 landmark of green tiles designed to resemble a busty Victorian lady. The Palomar's restaurant, Fifth Floor (415-348-1555; $43-48) is one of San Francisco's hottest eateries, with reservations required a long time in advance.
Parker House (520 Church Street, San Francisco, California; 415-621-3222 or 888/520-7275; $129+)
Luxurious lodging in the Castro comes courtesy of the recently immaculately restored Parker House, an elegant mini-mansion. Lounge in the extensive sun-saturated grounds or under down comforters, sip local vintages at the wine social or slip away to the exceedingly popular steam room on-site. The Parker House is popular with both gay men and lesbians.
Lesbian-owned and lesbian-run, Elaine's Hidden Haven (4005 Folsom St; 415-647-2726 or 800-446-9050; $99+) consists of a suite with kitchen attached to the owners' house, and offers a private, safe and clean environment. It's in a great, quiet location near gourmet shops, caf?s, and parks at very affordable rates. The suite includes TV, CD player and access to a private garden.
EAT Millennium (Abigail Hotel, 246 McAllister St; 415-345-3900; $21-24)
This is the place for vegans, those on restricted diets, and off-duty carnivores. They specialize in extraordinary vegetarian dishes, with flurries of vegan combinations, thrilling desserts and exceedingly attractive staff. In the Civic Center environs, this Tenderloin location is not the safest to walk about. Take a cab. Dinner only from 5 p.m.
Culinary star and lesbian chef Traci Des Jardins' two-tiered Jardiniere (300 Grove Street, San Francisco; 415-861-5555; $14-40) is a dramatic venue with mahogany columns, sweeping staircase and a golden dome in a landmark "theater for food." Californian-French cuisine is her specialty.
Make it a double feature at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission Street; 415-648-7600; $16-30), where foreign films play against the courtyard wall. A hip crowd, which has included Madonna, Charlize Theron, and Chelsea Clinton, on-screen action, and daily offerings of 15 varieties of oysters lure diners.
PLAY/MEET Caf?s Dolores Park Caf? (501 Dolores St; 415-621-2936)
Perched on the corner of Dolores Park, this lesbian-owned caf? draws a crowd of local women (and their dogs), especially on Friday nights, when live music acts range from folk to rock to country. Try the chai; it's the best in town. Open 7 a.m-8 p.m, unless they just can't stop the music.
Bars The Lexington Club (3464 19th St; 415-863-2052)
The city's only full-time women's bar fills up with a motley posse of women from softball players to biker types and skater chicks to baby dykes. Funky girls buzz about as ferocious tunes spill out of the jukebox.
Clubs El Rio (3158 Mission St; 415-339-8310)
A mixed lesbian/gay/straight Latina/o bar with a great patio. El Rio offers all sorts of social shenanigans with a Sapphic hue from film screenings to women's Jamaican funk nights.
The Cherry Bar (917 Folsom St.; 415-974-1585)
Home to such legendary nights as Girl Spot, Deeo, and Hypnot, The Cherry Bar is one of San Francisco?s two full-time women?s bars.
EXTRA Sex Good Vibrations (1210 Valencia St; 415-974-8980 or 2504 San Pablo, Berkeley; 510-841-8987)
The definitive women's sex shop has a wonderful selection of books and videos plus safer-sex supplies and massage kits and a thriving mail order business. Women-owned and staffed, friendly, and full of easy advice.
RELAX Osento Bathhouse for Women (955 Valencia St, San Francisco; 415-282-6333)
An exceedingly lesbian-popular women-only bathhouse (of a non-sexual persuasion) in the heart of the Mission, Osento is styled after a traditional Japanese sento. They offer a cold plunge pool, dry sauna, wet rock steam sauna and hot tub. Clothing is not optional -- it's naked or not getting in. The deck is perfect for those wanting to snack or picnic. Open from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Kabuki Springs (Japan Center, 1750 Geary Blvd; 415-922-6000)
Kabuki is a spacious, clothing-optional Japanese bathhouse. Women-only Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays. Dry sauna, steam room, cold pool, hot pool and an array of massages. Popular with Japantown women. Photo ID necessary.