Castro Theater | San Francisco Travel Blog
San Francisco, with its stunning natural beauty, its long-standing artistic scene, and its unique multi-cultural heritage has become a benevolent home to the film industry. Although it doesn’t trade in the glamorous neon and gold displays of Hollywood, the Bay Area has nevertheless attracted the tastes of those looking for a somewhat less obvious (some might say more refined) film experience.
Springtime is when cities across America begin to roll out their red carpets, dim the lights, and begin the celebration of film in the form of festivals that can stretch from an evening to an entire week. Usually, these festivals present movies that have not yet received distribution (which means that you can’t rent them on Amazon, can’t see them at the local AMC, and can’t buy them), movies that might become the year’s Next Big Hit, movies that you might literally never have the chance to see again.
If you’re the type of moviegoer who longs for the days when the movie theater itself was an important part of the movie-watching experience, then you should definitely plan on attending at least one showing at the Castro Theater in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. The Castro is one of the finest examples of the way that movie palaces used to be built, complete with huge lighted marquees and architectural flourishes. Inside, the lobbies and theaters were elegant, with wall sconces, grand staircases, chandeliers, decorative ceilings, loge boxes and many other ornate details.
Perhaps the most famous gay neighborhood in the world, San Francisco’s Castro district is located in the city’s Eureka Valley, but no one has referred to this neighborhood in that way for decades. It is customary for neighborhood guides to refer to the Castro as vibrant, dynamic, colorful and thriving, and it is certainly all those things and more. But if you get past the hyperbole and clichés and actually visit this neighborhood, you’ll also find that the Castro is a cool place to visit with great restaurants, trendy, unusual shops, one-of-a-kind festivals and some of the best people-watching opportunities on the planet.