09/26/2013 07:48 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Not Ready for Fall? Go to San Francisco


Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Travel Association

Not quite the warm and sunny California of Beach Boys tunes, San Francisco can get downright cold most of the year. But just when many of us Northeasterners are bidding farewell to summer and pulling out our jackets and coats, San Francisco heats up.

Hold on to that summertime feeling just a little longer with a trip to the City by the Bay.

Coming Soon


Photo courtesy of Folsom Street Fair

If you're free and willing -- and very open to leather -- this weekend is calling. The Folsom Street Fair amps up the kink over 13 blocks in the South of Market district. Think play stations, erotic artists, gear and toy vendors, live music, dance areas and skin aplenty. This is not the block party of your childhood.

The next weekend the Castro Street Fair celebrates the community and its diversity with a full day of entertainment. People browse the crafts and artwork, eat delicious food and generally enjoy a gay ol' time, all for a good cause. Founded by Harvey Milk, the fair marks its 40th year on Oct. 6.

Then there's Halloween. Think San Francisco is gay the rest of the year? Wait until you get a load of this spectacle. There are parties, both official and unofficial, in every neighborhood.

Gay Out Anytime

Though the whole city leans a little bit (or a lot) gay, the Castro is the gay 'hood hub. What should you do there?

Fable (new American menu, whimsical décor) and Kitchen Story (Asian fusion, perfect for brunch) are newer bright spots on the restaurant scene. These two are in great company, with fab neighborhood eateries including Frances (locally sourced American dishes, Michelin-rated chef), Canela (Spanish tapas, great wine list) and Starbelly (comfort food, creative drinks).

Of course, you'll want to hit some bars. Neighborhood bar Moby Dick provides a perfect spot to start your night. The iconic Badlands dance club is a must, if only to say you were there. Not your scene? The new Hi-Tops gay sports bar airs games and serves up some great food to go with all that scoring.

At the nearby Dolores Park, hit the "Man Shelf" section, where gentlemen shed their clothes to soak up that California sun. Get in on the tanning action, or stop by for some prime people watching. Tip: No, that's not a skunk you smell.

Side Piece

The side trip to wine country is a must. They're close to San Francisco, and it's harvest season, meaning that the grapes are plump and ready to be juiced. Choose between Napa, Sonoma, Russian River Valley or the up-and-coming Livermore.

Whenever you go, plan your San Francisco trip on