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Forget Fisherman's Wharf, sourdough bread and the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco's real charm lies in its quirky local underbelly.

San Francisco's loose coalition of independent fiefdoms or unique neighborhoods each possess their own character, unique attractions and lore. Inside these neighborhood districts, the pulse of San Francisco is most audible. From the Castro to North Beach, the Mission to the Haight, the city is a patchwork of diversity and hidden treasures. Alter your viewpoint slightly, get local and discover a whole new city.

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is even more magical up close. photos by Christina LalanneThe iconic Golden Gate Bridge is even more magical up close. photos by Christina LalanneUNUSUAL ATTRACTIONS Some of the most unique attractions of San Francisco are found deep inside the neighborhood districts. After you've seen the main tourist attractions elsewhere in the city, check out these unique, unusual and very local finds.

THE CASTRO The universal capital of "Gay Nation," the Castro caters heavily to the History and Glitz Hike: Wandering through Chinatown and its alleyways is a very rewarding way to see such a dense neighborhood ReadHistory and Glitz Hike: Wandering through Chinatown and its alleyways is a very rewarding way to see such a dense neighborhood Readhomosexual male crowd that tends to hang out here. The district hops with revelers all night and hordes of shoppers all day. You'll know you're in the right place when you see the towering rainbow-colored flag, the Castro's emblem of gay pride. Campy outfits, wigs and bare skin are more than welcome here. But the Castro's cafes, shops, and other unique attractions also make it a good stop for the straight crowd.

Cafe Flore
2298 Market (415) 621-8579

One of the Castro's flagship hangouts, Flore offers a pleasant flower-draped patio where the crowds come to see-and-be-seen.ð A frothy cappuccino is a perfect way to end a day of cruising the Castro. Coffees, light fare and desserts are also worth the wait. The Castro Theater
429 Castro St.
(415) 621-6120

Catch a flick at this beautiful, 1930s Spanish colonial movie palace. It's worth a visit just to see the classic baroque design, organist who plays nightly and extra- large screen. Castro Slide Douglass and 19th Tucked in a quiet residential neighbor, this 35-foot slide is a gas for kids and adults alike. The neighborhood is also known for its cutesy cottages and gorgeous flower gardens.


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Tags: storySection: Tripadvisor Hotel Reviews
Location: California
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