Queer Folx Guide to Shopping in San Francisco

City Lights Bookstore in North Beach

(Source: IG @citylightsbooks)

No trip to San Francisco would be complete without an adventure in North Beach. Birthplace to the Beat Generation– the original hipsters, including queer activist Allen Ginsburg– this quintessential San Francisco ‘hood is steeped in history. You can learn about the beats at the stalwart publishing house, City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Avenue. This is not your average bookstore. With sections like MuckrackingAnarchism, and Class War, as well as an entire wall dedicated to local authors, you’re bound to find a good read or five.

Be sure to keep your receipt. Across the alley at Vesuvio’s Cafe, if you show the bartender your purchase, they might reward you with a free beer. Sit in this storied drinking hole and enjoy your new City Lights read.

Held Over in The Haight

(Source: IG @heldovervintage)

Haight Street has a well-deserved reputation for fantastic second-hand shopping. Picking only one thrift shop on Haight was a bit of a challenge. If you are in need of some vintage Levi’s and leather, Held Over is at the top of our list. You’ll want to head to the back of the store and check out their Meat Locker.

After the fact, break in your new jeans over cheap drinks and a game of pool at Trax.

Amoeba Music in the Haight

Source: Amoeba Music

Amoeba is an indie-music lover’s dream and one of the few remaining brick-and-mortar music shops of its size in the world. Set aside plenty of time to filter through the racks and racks of vinyl, cassettes, and CDs, featuring both deep cuts and new releases. San Francisco has become home to a treasure trove of amazing artists, from the Grateful Dead to the Pansy Division. You’ll find homages to such home-grown bands here in droves.

After hanging out on Haight Street, take a stroll across Stanyan Street through to Golden Gate Park. San Franciscans love this park for its fun activities like disc golf, paddle boating, polo, archery, and bocce ball.

Considering Golden Gate Park is the largest urban park in the US, it’s no wonder there’s so much to do. We recommend grabbing some rollerblades and hitting the outdoor rink on Sixth Street. Roller skating is having a renaissance right now, particularly with the younger crowd, and the rink on Sixth is the place to cruise Friday nights. There are lights, speakers, a DJ— it’s a full-on outdoor disco. BYOB: Bring your own bandana.

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