Around the Castro you’ll see many single-family Victorian and Edwardian homes, some midcentury apartment buildings, scores of condo flats, and a sprinkling of newer, modern condo developments. Rising from the commercial areas on Castro, Market, and 18th Streets are a handful of hill streets, whose homes often afford stunning views as well as cozy and verdant yards. Sometimes an unassuming façade belies a sparking gem of an interior space or stunning rear yard; homes with all manner of character abound here. While you’re looking at homes, don’t miss one of SF’s most important landmarks: Castro Camera and the Harvey Milk Residence at 573-575 Castro Street, between 18th and 19th Streets. Built in 1894, the building housed both former SF Supervisor Harvey Milk’s camera shop and his upstairs flat, as well as his campaign headquarters!

For the basics, Castro and nearby residents love Mollie Stone’s on 18th, Buffalo Whole Food & Grain Co on Castro and 19th, or Whole Foods on Market and Dolores, on the border of the Mission Dolores neighborhood. California Pacific Medical Center’s hospital and medical offices are a stone’s throw up Divisadero St, and Walgreen’s anchors the busy intersection of Castro and 18th.

Neighborhood faves include Cliff’s Variety, which is a hardware, gift, and craft shop rolled into one, and Booksmith, which keeps readers and gift seekers smiling. Speaking of gifts, don’t miss Local Take, around the corner from the famous Hot Cookie, whose day-old cookies are just as good as the fresh ones. Plant moms and dads love Plant Therapy for its diverse array of plants and cute accessories. Coffee drinkers love Spike’s on 19th and the Castro Coffee Company near Castro and Market, where you can get a mean bag of beans to bring home as well as a strong coffee to sip while strolling.

Take your canine friends to the Eureka Valley Dog Park or head to the “beach” at Dolores Park just a ten-minute walk away. For more exercise, there’s MX3 Fitness on Market or Soul Cycle underneath the rainbow flag.

Don’t miss the notable eateries in the Castro. Cozy and unassuming French bistro fare at L’Ardoise is a perfect date night spot or a place to bring parents when they’re in town. And don’t miss the steak frites. Frances offers a special dining experience with an ever-changing menu driven by local, seasonal ingredients and splendid execution and presentation. Don’t miss the salads and vegetable sides! A short walk up 18th St will spark your appetite for Mama Ji’s, a local favorite for delicious Sichuan fare. Though the setting is cozy and not short on decibels, the menu, with a good selection of dim, will leave you delighted. Don’t miss the Dry-Fried Green Beans or the Beijing-Style Chicken with Eggplant. And sometimes you just need an amazing Vietnamese sandwich. Dinosaur’s, located underneath Booksmith, has you covered. Don’t miss the Vietnamese Iced Coffee for dessert.

If you’re looking for nighttime fun, the Castro won’t disappoint. Try the new Lobby Bar, located on the ground floor of The Hotel Castro on 18th. Craft cocktails, great people watching, and a stunning decor by DLC-ID will make this your go-to for an adult night out. If wine is your jam, check out Blush! on Castro St, where you can enjoy tapas, too. For a night or weekend afternoon out with the gang, try favorite Hi-Tops, a sports bar with friendly bartenders, tons of large-screen TVs to catch the game, and arguably the meanest fried chicken sandwich out there. Want something more relaxed? Try Twin Peaks, where Castro St and Market intersect. From the OG clientele to the vintage interior design, this bar truly is a special fixture in the Castro. Don’t miss the hot toddy, especially on a cold, winter’s night.