The Castro: A Guide to San Francisco Neighborhoods

San Francisco Neighborhoods

The Castro District is centrally located in San Francisco and is made up of the Castro neighborhood, known for the community’s prominent activism in the LGBTQ movement, as well as Dolores Heights, Corona Heights, and the Duboce Triangle. Market and Castro Streets are the main commercial corridors comprised of retail shops and restaurants. 

We polled local moms to find out what makes this neighborhood a good fit for their families. Want to get the scoop directly from the experts? Join our Castro Neighborhood Group or reach out to a realtor at

Why Moms Love It 

The heart of the Castro is lively and buzzing with pedestrians, making it an enjoyable neighborhood around which to stroll. It has warmer, sunnier weather than western sections of the city, and its multiple options for spending time outdoors means children have lots of opportunities to get outside. It’s an iconic and picturesque place to live; the homes nestled in the hills all have a unique character and offer stunning views of the city. 

Local Family Favorites 

Seward Mini Park

Two long, steep concrete slides are the main attraction at this hidden gem. They’re not for tiny tots, nor for the faint of heart!

Duboce Park

There’s always something to do at this lively community hub, home of the newly renovated Harvey Milk Recreational Arts Center. The basketball court is in high demand, and the dog play area is so popular that part of the park is now designated ‘people only’ (leashes optional). Improved play structures feature separate areas for tots and older kids.

Dolores Park 

This large hill is a popular gathering spot on warm, sunny days. Picnickers will lounge in the grass to admire the view of downtown and the newly renovated Helen Diller Playground is always buzzing as children run up and down the multilevel structures.

Corona Heights Park

The hikes on this hilltop park offer beautiful views of the city but stick to the trails to avoid catching an itchy rash from the poison oak that’s in the area.

Randall Museum

Newly renovated, this free children’s museum has something for everyone – a model train room, toddler room, classes and activities, live animal room, and cafe.

Castro Theater Sing Alongs

Family-friendly Disney animated classics and beloved live action films like The Sound of Music play regularly here in sing-along form. You’re encouraged to dress in costume and belt out the lyrics to your hearts content.

Le Marais Bakery

Stop in for a delicious French pastry or eat at the bistro. The back dining room is perfect for families.

Childcare and Schools

Here’s the thing about childcare and schooling: Your personal situation will determine the right fit for you, and, while there are options in this neighborhood, your best bet is to check out for an interactive map and comprehensive list of daycares and preschools across the city.  

Likewise, for K-12 schools, we can’t tell you whether the schools here are “good” or not because a good school is based on so many other factors besides test scores. Check out our Tips for Moving to San Francisco with Kids for more help navigating childcare and schooling and a local mom’s take on raising a family in San Francisco.

Learn More 

To get an even better feel for what it’s like to live here, scan our list of 100+ kid-friendly restaurants in the city, find the nearest branch of the public library, and check out the area’s trick-or-treating hotspots.
Visit for photos and more helpful details on the Castro and nearby neighborhoods, including an up-to-date listing of properties for sale. is a full service brokerage and an easy to use online real estate resource that helps people find the perfect home as well as the ideal neighborhood. We believe that the neighborhood you live in is just as important as the home you live in. The people, places, schools and amenities that surround your home have an enormous impact on your quality of life. When you’re looking for a place to live, you aren’t just picking out a house. You are also deciding who your children will play with and who you might become friends with. So while many people search for their dream house, we believe you should look for your dream home. And your neighborhood is a huge part of that dream.

Check out the other areas featured in our San Francisco Neighborhood Guide for Families and learn more about our guide sponsor,