san francisco

Living the Tales of the City in San Francisco

Have you been binge-watching the latest adaptation of Tales of the City on Netflix? Don’t worry, this is a spoiler-free zone, but if you haven’t seen it, you should. The show and the book series by Armistead Maupin are both brilliant options for LGBTQ+ content to consume during (and after, by the time you’re reading this) Pride month.

Of course, once you’re finished watching or reading, you might really want to go explore the Bay Area for yourself. That’s why we’re going through some of the iconic places featured in the show and the book that you should check out.

If one or more of these places take your fancy, then it’s time to book a flight to San Francisco. You can actually get really cheap flights on budget airlines after the summer holidays. Just don’t forget your ESTA!

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in California USA

28 Barbary Lane

This is the fictional address where the majority of the Netflix show takes place, as it is the home of 90-year-old transgender landlady Anna Madrigal and serves as a refuge for the characters. No wonder it’s so beloved in people’s memories.

While the address is fictional, you can actually spot the house that inspired it on the cobblestoned Macondray Lane, near Russian Hill. At the end of the road, near Taylor Street, you’ll see a familiar staircase leading to the famed house.

Russian River

This majestic river, just 60 north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is the site of a beautiful gay wedding in the Netflix series (as well as an awful lot of drama that would constitute as spoilers if we told), but it’s also the perfect spot for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Take a picnic, hire a boat, or even go for a dip in the water. Let your worries be carried away.

Compton’s Cafeteria

During a flashback episode, the show focuses on the Compton’s Cafeteria riot of 1966, which was one of the first-recorded riots by LGBTQ+ people and marked the beginning of the transgender rights movement in the US.

The cafeteria staff would harass trans customers and even call the police on them for doing nothing other than coming in to order food. One trans woman resisted arrest and the cafeteria is described to have “erupted”. Dozens of people fought back against the police. The day after, LGBTQ+ people picketed the cafeteria.

While the cafeteria no longer stands in the Tenderloin district of San Franciso, you can see its historical marker at the corner of Taylor and Turk.

Caffe Sport

In two of the Tales of the City novels, Caffe Sport (574 Green Street) is a popular place for Anna to take her friends to dinner. Their huge portions of good Italian food help to persuade even the most reluctant to spill their secrets over wine and pasta.

Hopefully, this has given some great travel inspiration, but, as Mary Ann tells us in the final lines of the Tales of the City books, you should really explore all that you can because there’s a whole city waiting for you.

There’s something for everyone, whether you want to embrace history on Market Street, ride a cable car up Nob Hill, dance the night away in the Castro, North America’s first gay village, or eat in Chinatown.

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