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San Francisco Leather Events and Calendar
Sister Betty is a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc.  A travel writer, photographer and speaker, Sister Betty's work has been published in several books and in magazines around the world.  A Gulf War veteran, Sister Betty has travled to more than 47 counties and nearly all 50 states.  Sister Betty has appeared on BBC, National Geographic, the Travel Channel, and CBS.  Sister Betty's website is SisterBetty.org.
Welcome to San Francisco!

San Francisco is a fantastic playground and there are lots of guidebooks to tell you about the city.  I buy these guidebooks, lug them about in my suitcase, and use them once or twice to find a bar or club.  To help you free up space in your luggage for more sex toys, here is my quick (and very lightweight) guide to San Francisco for leathermen and kinky guys:


The Quick and Dirty:
 

Most of the leather activity in the city centers in two neighborhoods:  The Castro and South of Market. 

The Castro is gay Mecca and every gay man is expected to make a pilgrimage to 18th and Castro at least once.  The neighborhood is fun, filled with shops, bars, restaurants of varying quality, and a few places to stay.

South of Market ("SOMA"), once a leather hotspot and warehousedistrict, it now consists of lofts, furniture stores, and big box retailers.  Although home to some of the best leather bars and sex clubs, SOMA is less than entertaining during daylight hours.


Where to Stay:
 

The Castro is the heart of gay San Francisco, but lodging options are limited. There are several B&Bs which often book up far in advance.  Beck's Motor Lodge is the only large "motel" in the area and gets mixed reviews.  If you like a cruisy motel, Beck's fits the bill - but expect little more than basic lodging.

Most of the hotels in San Francisco are not only gay friendly, but often filled with gay staff.  Hotels in the Union Square Area are close to transportation and you can find some good deals.  Leathermen seem to like the Ramada Inn on Market, which is cheap, basic, close to transportation and within walking distance of the SOMA bars.

Avoid staying in the Fisherman's Wharf, Tenderloin or Embarcadero areas.  You'll not only be far from the action, but surrounded by herds of tourists dressed in sparkling sweaters and "I Love Tulsa" hats.  And definitely don't stay at hotel near the airport - you'll be miles and miles from the city!

(For a list of recommended hotels, click here.)


Don't Rent a Car:

 
San Francisco is a very compact city with fairly good public transit, generally safe streets, and no parking.  Unless you plan to drive out of the city to visit Napa or the Russian River, don't waste money on a car.  You will have to fight for parking or pay outrageous valet fees.


The Nine Great Non-Bar Hopping Things to Do In San Francisco:
 

1)Twin Peaks
Towering above San Francisco, Twin Peaks offers a fantastic view of the entire city.  On a clear day, you really can see forever.  The view extends from the Golden Gate Bridge to San Jose.  You can reach Twin Peaks on foot (see Stairways of San Francisco for directions), by bus (take the 37 bus from the Castro), or by taxi. 
2) Walk the Castro
The Castro neighborhood embodies the history of the gay liberation movement.  From the Twin Peaks Bar at Market and Castro (the first gay bar in the United States with glass windows so patrons were fully visible to the public), to Harvey Milk's camera shop, you'll find history, fun stores, and great places to sit and chat.  Plus, the neighborhood is full of queers.  Sunny Saturdays and Sundays bring the boys out in hordes!
3) SF MoMA/Yerba Buena
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art features a stunning building and a fantastic collection of art.  You'll find it at Third & Mission Streets (take the underground MUNI to Powell Street and walk to Third).  Across the street is the Yerba Buena gardens where businessmen stroll and eat lunch and art students lounge between classes.
4)  The Castro Theater
Located between Market and 18th Street on Castro, the Castro Theater is one of San Francisco's last single-screen historic theaters.  Evening performances are preceded by live performances on a huge Wurlitzer organ that rises from the stage.  You can catch a show and be out in time for hours of bar hopping.
6) The Golden Gate Bridge 
Whether you rent a bike and ride across or walk across, the Golden Gate Bridge is more breathtaking in person than in photographs.  Be warned - the fog rolls in through the gate and you should take a sweater - even in the summer!
8) Get your hair cut by Joe the Barber
Former International Mister Leather, Joe Gallagher has the butchest barbershop on the planet at 19th and Castro.  Call ahead for a reservation as Joe  and his staff of masculine hair snippers are quite popular. 
9) Coit Tower
Designed to look like a firehose nozzle, most folks say this looks more like a fireman's nozzle.  For a few dollars you can take an ancient elevator to the top and stare down at outrageously priced real estate.
Two Over-Hyped Things to Avoid:
 
1)  Fisherman's Wharf. 
No one who lives in San Francisco ever goes to Fisherman's Wharf unless they work there or are arrest and forced to pick up trash in the area.  San Francisco maintains the area so straight folk have somewhere to go that feels like downscale Disneyland.


2)  Riding the Cable Cars. 

I highly, highly recommend riding the F-line streetcars that run up Market Street.  However, you'll stand in line for significant periods of time to get on San Francisco's legendary cable cars only to be treated poorly by the underpaid and grumpy operators.  Take a few photos to prove you saw them and then run along down the street to something more 


Major Leather and Gay Events:
 

Regardless of when you visit, SanFranciscoLeather.com's events calendar has details on events from the weekly to the major yearly leather festivals. 


Enjoy your visit to San Francisco and tell them Sister Betty sent you!

Cheers!

Sister Betty Does, LNM

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