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Gorgeous Victorian homes, cable cars zipping along the hilly streets, wide sidewalks filled with pedestrians, and rainbow-colored crosswalks -- San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is as beautiful as it is unique. Before it became the Castro (named for the landmark theater that opened in 1910), the neighborhood was known as Eureka Valley. The Castro is famous for its open acceptance of the LGBT community and is one of San Francisco's most famous neighborhoods.

Castro is located toward the center of the peninsula, slightly south of Market Street and city center, near the Mission District, Noe Valley, and Twin Peaks. The area is known for its lively entertainment that often spills out into the streets. From art to culture to food, Castro has a multitude of things to discover and explore.

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Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in San Francisco, CA is $1,979 for a studio, $2,431 for one bedroom, $3,498 for two bedrooms, and $4,935 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in San Francisco has decreased by -1.1% in the past year.

Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent
Studio
352
$1,979
1 BR
537
$2,431
2 BR
808
$3,498
3 BR
1,055
$4,935
Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent

Ratings

94 Walk Score® Walker's Paradise
93 Transit Score® Rider's Paradise
79 Bike Score® Very Bikeable

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Shopping

Most of the shopping in Castro can be found along Market Street at the neighborhood's northern boundary. It doesn't support high-end or luxury shopping like downtown San Francisco and the financial district, but it does feature charming local boutiques catering to local needs.

Entour and Union Made offer men's clothing and accessories, while Local Take is the place for gift buying -- this store contains items made by local artists.

Residents normally use chain stores to purchase their groceries, but smaller stores like Buffalo Whole Foods & Grain Company, Reliance Market, and Noe Hill Market provide fresh produce and other food needs. Castro Farmers Market happens each Wednesday, and brings farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to the area.

Cost

The cost of living in Castro is higher than the city's average. A typical one-bedroom apartment in Castro rents for about $3,000 per month. Because housing prices are higher overall, the price of food and entertainment is also higher. It costs around $2 to get to the city center from Castro, and a beer in a local pub will run about $6. Gas prices are about 15 percent higher than the national average in this area.

Transportation

Parking is extremely difficult in San Francisco, and while Castro is a little friendlier than some neighborhoods when it comes to this, it might be a good idea to leave the car behind when you move to a Castro apartment (unless you don't mind paying for garage parking). Locals mostly use BART, which runs in either direction on Market Street, or the Muni trains and buses. Cabs are very easy to hail, and Uber serves this neighborhood frequently. Castro is relatively central in the city so it's not immediately freeway accessible, but the 101 Freeway to the east connects with the 280 farther south. Castro is very walkable, and this may be the best way to truly experience the neighborhood. Since many streets have bike lanes, the area is considered safe for cyclists.

Parks

Mission Dolores Park is one of the most popular parks in San Francisco. It covers about 16 acres and includes open lawns, a playground, six tennis courts, a basketball court, and two off-leash dog parks. Dolores Park is the location of many festivals, live performances, and special events. The skyline is spectacular, and many sunny afternoons draw people to the park just for the amazing view of Downtown San Francisco and the mountains.

Another great park with breathtaking views, Kite Hill Open Space is a tiny hilltop that's worth a visit just for the scenery. Corona Heights Park also has great views, but this larger park also offers hiking trails.

Restaurants

Nearly every kind of food can be found in the Castro, from sandwiches and American food to seafood, dim sum, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Many of the Castro's restaurants are clustered around Market Street and the surrounding area.

Frances, one of the area's most popular spots, does New American food in a classy way. Dishes like grilled bavette steak with creamy celery and fennel soup lead the restaurant's culinary charge. The popular restaurant Dinosaurs should also be sampled for its Vietnamese bahn mi and shrimp papaya salad, as well as the fresh spring rolls. If you're feeling adventurous, try an avocado shake, with vanilla milk and pure cane sugar. Canela Bistro Bar is another neighborhood gem featuring tapas, coco flatbreads with chorizo and Serrano ham, and a scrumptious cheese plate that pairs well with a rich Rioja for a perfect night out.

Music-wise, the Swedish American Music Hall and Cafe Du Nord both sit at the edge of the Castro on Market Street and offer live music, dancing, and other performances. Mission Dolores offers classical guitar and organ recitals. The nightlife is the Castro could be considered the best in the city, with dance clubs like SF Badlands duking it out with bars like the Cafe and 440 Castro. Lots of places offer dancing, so get ready to lose your inhibitions and get out on the dance floor. Additionally, the restored Castro Theatre often hosts film festivals and other events.

History

The Castro neighborhood was created in 1887 with the Eureka Valley was linked to downtown via the Market Street Railway. The main street, Castro Street, was named for Jose Castro, a general in the Mexican army and acting governor of Alta California from 1835-1836. The historic Castro Theatre and its dramatic baroque exterior is probably one of the Castro's most-recognized landmarks. Its most famous resident, Harvey Milk, was portrayed in the 2008 movie, Milk, starring Sean Penn, who won an Academy Award for his role. Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person elected to public office in the state in 1978. Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by disgruntled former Supervisor Dan White in 1978, when the mayor -- at the urging of Milk -- decided not to reinstate White after he resigned.

Castro is home to the LGHT History museum, which highlights exhibits that cover San Francisco's prominent LGBT history, as well as the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Castro also has a lively arts scene. Residents can explore art galleries, such as Soo Hwa Yuan and Rachel Znerold Fine Art, or listen to an array of music played by the community orchestra, Bay Area Rainbow Symphony. Locals look forward to the Castro Street Fair, happening each October, for fun, music, vendors, and dancing.

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Castro Apartments for Rent

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The Duboce
181 Sanchez St, San Francisco, CA 94114
1 / 83
New
$3,100 - 7,288 1-2 Bed Available Now
916-778-3575
2175 Market Street
2175 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
1 / 19
New
$3,373 - 5,674 1-2 Bed Available Now
844-839-5981
38 Dolores
38 Dolores St, San Francisco, CA 94103
1 / 119
5 days
$3,200 - 4,600 1-2 Bed Available Now
844-274-4430
The Duboce
3 days
789 Corbett Ave Unit 3
San Francisco, CA 94131
$2,575 1 Bed Available Now
415-675-8119
4 days
2079 15th St Unit E
San Francisco, CA 94114
$6,000 3 Bed Available 09/15/17
415-528-7458
121 Dolores St
San Francisco, CA 94103
$3,200 Condo for Rent Available Now
New
3832 21st St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$8,700 House for Rent Available Now
New
655 Corbett Ave
San Francisco, CA 94114
$2,500 House for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
4252 22nd St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$9,000 House for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
4065 23rd St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$4,650 Condo for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
3718 21st St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$9,950 Condo for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
35 Caselli Ave
San Francisco, CA 94114
$10,000 Condo for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
12 Storrie St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$4,250 House for Rent Available Now
5 hrs
179 Caselli Ave
San Francisco, CA 94114
$3,600 House for Rent Available Now
6 hrs
3637 21st St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$9,995 House for Rent Available Now
6 hrs
121 Eureka St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$5,250 2 Bed Available Now
7 hrs
3969 23rd St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$11,500 House for Rent Available Now
10 hrs
428 Liberty St
San Francisco, CA 94114
$5,450 Condo for Rent Available Now
1 day

Apartments for Rent in Castro, San Francisco, CA

Gorgeous Victorian homes, cable cars zipping along the hilly streets, wide sidewalks filled with pedestrians, and rainbow-colored crosswalks -- San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is as beautiful as it is unique. Before it became the Castro (named for the landmark theater that opened in 1910), the neighborhood was known as Eureka Valley. The Castro is famous for its open acceptance of the LGBT community and is one of San Francisco's most famous neighborhoods.

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