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The Castro

Starts at:

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, The Castro


1 hour 30 minutes

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Maybe you’ve seen Milk, that Sean Penn movie about Harvey Milk and the gay rights movement in the Castro? Cleve Jones is the adorable, curly-headed kid (played by Emile Hirsch). But the real Cleve Jones, in his 60s and still living in the Castro, is a hundred times more compelling.

Imagine walking through the Castro with a key figure in almost every twist and turn of San Francisco’s historic fight for gay rights. Cleve helped Harvey Milk get elected when no other openly gay man had succeeded in California. After Milk was killed, Cleve inherited his famous bullhorn and used it to lead some of the most impassioned marches in gay history. That quilt you might have heard of, honoring lives lost to AIDS, that grew large enough to blanket the entire National Mall in Washington DC? Cleve Jones started it.

Walk in Cleve’s shoes through the Castro and you know everyone (the regulars at his local bar, the admiring girl behind the counter at Hot Cookie), you’ve seen everything (a party in every building, a protest on every corner, the death of a friend from AIDS on every block). You’ll walk along gorgeous side streets and up and down the Castro’s main drag, with its racy underwear shops and neighborhood bars. And all along the way, Cleve will tell you how his own story is interwoven with a movement that changed the world.

Tips & Hours

  • You can take this Detour any day of the week but it is best between 11am - 7pm Monday through Saturday, and noon - 5pm on Sundays, when all of the stops are open.

  • Wear your walking shoes. This walk has some hills!