SOMA, San Francisco’s Other Gayborhood


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Encompassing a vast, architecturally and demographically diverse tract of central San Francisco that extends from the Mission District to the bay, SoMa — defined as the area south of Market Street — is an urban swath containing everything from shiny new loft condos to vintage refurbished warehouses, you’ll find a vibrant stretch of waterfront on the bay, the culturally dynamic Yerba Buena Gardens complex, stylish hotels, the heart of the city’s leather-and-Levi’s queer scene, established gay dance clubs in the country, and trendy eateries.

Day or night, there’s plenty to see and do in SoMa. Although LGBT tourists often look to the Castro as San Francisco’s must-see gayborhood, SoMa’s gay scene — concentrated around Folsom and Harrison streets near the confluence of the 101 and I-80 — has been humming along for even longer, and it offers an impressively eclectic, creative and edgy vibe that appeals to everyone from queer artists to sophisticated foodies to leather-and-fetish aficionados.

At the upper (northeastern) end of SoMa, closer to the Financial District and waterfront, the neighborhood is more touristy and traditional. It’s anchored by the mammoth Moscone Convention Center, named for former mayor George Moscone who was assassinated in 1978, alongside gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Travelers are drawn to the several museums, upscale shopping malls, and luxury hotels in this area.

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