Folsom Street Festival
This was already growing into North America's mega-leather event even before Evangelicals made it into the world's biggest such event with their publicity. Thanks guys! Almost inevitably, the dance parties have become the proverbial tail wagging the dog. And what parties! But don't miss the fun on Sunday as the city's freakiest denizens of every sexual persuasion show why San Francisco stands alone as America's most open city, sex-wise.
If you're looking for the kind of man this city is known for — rugged, masculine, gym-built middle-aged guys who have aged like fine wine — you'll see plenty of them along with the younger guys who love and lust after them. Of course, there's the inevitable underwear night. The DJs spin a mix as eclectic as the crowd.
Fresh-faced farely-21s from the 'burbs mingle with the über-macho at this flashy video bar in the heart of the Castro — in every sense. The low cover charge and cheap drinks keep the area's ethos, as does the loud music.
When a club can afford to keep its phone number private, you know it's the "in" place to be. The decor is retro-Victorian funky, but the vibe is strictly homo-chic, with a theme party every night, including homo-disco Circus on Sunday.
Because this is San Francisco we're talking about, you didn't think we wouldn't include at least one noncisgendered outpost of expressive queerness, did you? Radical sexual politics was never so much fun, with great rock-oriented music, a cute young crowd and everyone, of course, friendly. What's not to like?
Still going strong at 50, this venerable dance-cruise-karaoke hangout, along with iconic parties like Trannyshack and Meow Mix, has become as much a part of the city's queer scene and folklore as Harvey Milk.