Yes, it's turned into SF's version of Disneyland, but there's a reason why it's crawling with tourists: Not only does it have great food, but it's home to sea lions and the nearby City Lights, the most famous bookstore in America, founded and nurtured by the Beats and still the place to pick up the hippest literature.
These days, the street that has given its name to the most famous gay ghetto in the world has expanded into Noe Valley, SoMa (South of Market Street) and the Haight (formerly Haight-Ashbury, home of the '60s hippie movement). Yes, gentrification has changed the area but it's still as gay as ever, with personal freedom not found elsewhere in this vast country.
What Central Park is to New York, so is this huge, centrally located oasis to S.F. Home to several museums and other institutions, its biggest attraction remains the hordes of locals who flock here to enjoy non-foggy sunny days. Old hippies, young hipsters, aging punks, every ethnicity and sexuality — they're all here. Be sure to check out the moving National AIDS Memorial Grove.