“The Castro” is a community within the neighborhood of Eureka Valley. It stretches from Market St. to 19th Street and Church Street to Eureka Street. The famous Castro Street extends down the middle of this area. The street and area takes its name from José Castro (1808–1860), the alcalde or governor of “Alta California” from 1835 to 1836. He was a leader of Mexican opposition to U.S. rule in California.
One of the more notable features of the neighborhood is Castro Theatre, a movie palace built in 1922 and one of San Francisco’s premier movie houses. The Castro Theatre is one of the nation’s top 2 art theaters. It hosts the larges film noir festival in the U.S. and receives studio prints not released to other movie houses.
The neighborhood is an eclectic in many ways. Available housing is a mix of Victorian, Edwardian and modern architecture. The neighborhood hosts both the Hartford Street Zen Center and Most Holy Redeemer Parish as well as the Metropolitan Community Church.
The Eureka Valley Recreation Center is one of the city’s busiest. From the San Francisco Parks and Recreation web site: http://sfrecpark.org:
“Choose from a wide selection of groups, clubs and classes at this vibrant community center in the Castro District. After a full renovation, the indoor basketball court and play area look brand new again. The expanded building now houses a Teen Center and two meeting rooms. The auditorium, gym, lobby, activity room and mezzanine were also remodeled.
Outside, the baseball diamond, tennis court and enclosed dog run were all remodeled, along with the children’s playground. Kids frolic safely on the modern play equipment, surrounded by a low fence and soft rubber floor. The surface design was inspired by “The Wizard of Oz,” complete with yellow brick road.”
The neighborhood is welcoming to all and provides a wonderfully diverse and caring community. We recommend taking Muni to the Castro Street Station, exit and stroll up Castro Street with side trips on either side onto 18th and 19th streets. You get a good feel for the center of the neighborhood as well as the more residentially focused portions.
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