The Castro is a large, popular neighborhood in the heart of San Francisco. This neighborhood rose to prominence in the 1960s and 70s and is one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. It remains a strong community for LGBT folks in San Francisco, as well as younger people looking to live in one of the most vibrant parts of the city. Several major thoroughfares run through the Castro with restaurants, theaters, bars, and shops, while the smaller streets contain the residential sections of the neighborhood.
The weather in San Francisco is known to be unique with temperatures hardly rising above 70 degrees or falling under 50. Though the summers can be mild and beautiful, the city is also located along the San Francisco Bay, causing the city to experience constant wind. If you decide to go for a walk on a particularly cold, windy day, make sure to take the proper precautions.
San Francisco’s terrain is famously hilly and the Castro undoubtedly exemplifies this stereotype. No matter where you are in the neighborhood, you are likely to either be on a hill or in a valley with wide streets sloping up and down along the main drags. Steep inclines and abrupt, dramatic changes in elevation occur all over the neighborhood, so it will be something to keep in mind as you go to walk your dog, especially if they are older and can't quite keep up with more intense exercise.
Because the Castro is one of the more popular neighborhoods in San Francisco, foot and street traffic tend to be a little bit heavy regardless of the time of day. You will want to avoid major thoroughfares like Market Street during rush hour, unless you and your dog are comfortable navigating a densely populated street with lots of different activities going on regularly.
The Castro has an abundance of parks and greenways to explore with your dog. The two largest parks are Mission Dolores Park in the southeast corner and Corona Heights Park in the northwest corner. Mission Dolores Park stretches for 16 acres and has tons of open green space as well as multiple athletic fields and two off-leash dog play areas. For these reasons, it is one of the most popular parks in the San Francisco area.
Corona Heights Park is similar in size to Mission Dolores, spanning 13 acres in the northwest corner of the neighborhood. It offers a different experience than Mission Dolores, however, because of its more natural atmosphere and the overlooks that offer views of the city and surrounding area for you to enjoy at your pup's side. It still has several open grassy areas and trails, and is a popular place for nature-lovers and hiking enthusiasts in San Francisco.