Queer Ashland and Southern Oregon

Author: , November 4th, 2019

Central Point Sunset

In September, we drove up to Southern Oregon to visit some dear friends who live in Central Point – a little town just north of Medford. We spent a few days up there, and visited their town, a little bit of Medford, and the towns of Jacksonville and Ashland.

So we thought we’d share some of our favorite things about queer Ashland and Southern Oregon!

We’ll break it down below by food, shopping, and entertainment.

Eat It!

There are some great food choices here in the Ashland/Medford area. We only tried a few, but had a few stand-outs:

Lillie Belle Farms
Central Point
Best Chocolate

Lillie Belle Farms - Central Point

We liked this place as soon as we saw the purple building that hosues it. It’s filled with delectable chocolate offerings, including the chocolate covered mint oreos (I took home a small bag) and the hot pepper chocolate (take a bite and wait for it!). Everything we tried here was good, and they stack up favorably against chocolatiers in the big cities we’ve visited.

Lillie Belle Farms - Central Point

Rogue Creamery
Central Point
Cheese Curds!

Rogue Creamery - Central Point

Located right next to Lillie Belle is a fantastic creamery that sells one opf my favorite things in the whole world – cheese curds! These are the randomly-shaped pieces of cheese that are then pressed into bars or cheese, and they are fricking delicious! Pro-tip – pop one (or half a dozen) into your microwave for about seven seconts, then eat them quickly for a squeaky-melty treat. Best when eaten fresh.

 

Rogue Creamery - Central Point

Bella Union
Jacksonville
Best All-Around Restaurant

Bella Union - Jacksonville

The stand-out restaurant of our trip – we went there twice. The food was fantastic – my bread pudding dessert the second visit was one of the best I’ve had in ages. I wanted to lick the plate (actually, I might have LOL). But the star here is the absolutely gorgeous courtyard at the back of this place. Don’t come to Bella Union and sit inside.

Bella Union - Jacksonville

Buttercloud Bakery and Cafe
Medford
Best Breakfast (tie)

Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe - Medford

Oh my god, the decadence. This is one of our friends Nick and Kolby’s favorite breakfast places, and it’s easy to see why. The biscuits are world-famous, and so full of butter you might have a heart attack just breathing the wonderful buttery air.

Buttercloud Bakery & Cafe - Medford

Morning Glory
Ashland
Best Breakfast (tie)

Morning Glory Cafe

Another great breakfast option, this one on the south side of Ashland. It’s a bit out of town, but the food is great, and they have some of the biggest coffee cups we’ve ever seen.They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, made with fresh, organic ingredients. And those muffins… Hey Kolby!

Morning Glory Cafe

Morning Glory Cafe

Kaleidescope Pizza
Medford
Best Pizza

Kaleidoscope Pizza

If anyone asks you what the secret to a great pizza is, it’s the cheese. And this pizza place has the best cheese we’ve had since Pizzeria Aurora in Sorrento, Italy – tasty, stretch cheese that you just want to rub all over your body and… but I digress. No one should stop in Medford without a visit to this place, and the cheesy bread is absolutely divine, too, as Kolby (below) will attest to. Sorry I ate half the Hawaiian pizza…

Kaleidoscope Pizza

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop
Ashland
Best Tapas

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop

We only ate at one place in Ashland, and it was good but not fantastic. The tapas were tasty, but expensive for the portions offered. Then again, it’s in the hard of Ashland, right across from the square. And it’s really cool inside…

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop - Ashland

Ostras! Tapas & Bottleshop - Ashland

Buy It!

We found a few great shopping opportunities in the area, and we’ll share them with you below:

Carefree Buffalo
Jacksonville
Really cool knick-knacks

Carefree Buffalo

I love this store – so many cool little things, and such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Carefree Buffalo

The Miners Bazaar
Jacksonville
Eclectic Cafe

The Miners' Bazaar - Jacksonville

We stopped into this eclectic cafe for a quick drink and found a strange mix of museum, cafe and shop, perfect for Jacksonville’s quirky spirit. Plus it’s the perfect place to sit in a rocking chair on the porch and watch the passersby. And check out this awesome fashion panel. Who says high fashion is only in Milan, London, Paris and new York City?

The Miners' Bazaar - Jacksonville

Lithia Artisan’s Market
Ashland
Great collection of local artists

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Along the edge of the Lithia Creek in downtown Ashland, there’s a great outdoor market on the weekends. We found all kinds of cool things here, from paintings to decorative outlet covers to animals made out of wool – the artist was creating a giraffe right before our eyes. It’s a fun outdoor market, and the perfect place to snag something cool to take back home. And while you’re there, check out the colorful mural that runs along part of the market.

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Lithia Artisan's Market - Ashland

Manzanita Home & Flowers
Ashland
Really cool kitchen stuff and the sexiest bunnies I’ve ever seen

Manzanita Home & Flowers

This is an awesome home store on Main Street with two of the sexiest bunnies you’ll find in Ashland.. and some really clever kitchen ware, among other things. I haven;t seen that good a “come hither” look since Elsa in the Lion King.

Manzanita Home & Flowers

Manzanita Home & Flowers

Renaissance Rose
Ashland
Great costume shop

Renaissance Rose

This is a simply awesome costume shop in the heart of Ashland that gets extra points for the pink fuzzy monster slippers, the steampunk helmet and goggles, and the rainbow stairs we found inside.

Renaissance Rose Renaissance Rose

Treehouse Secret World Vault
Ashland
My new favorite bookstore…

Treehouse Secret World Vault

This cute little bookstore/toy store reminded me of the favorite bookstore of my youth – te Haunted Book Shop – in Tucson Arizona. Like that one, this little store is full of fascinating things for kids, from the toadstool stool to the little doorways that reward the curious who dare to open them. A really cool shop for the kid in all of us.

 

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

Treehouse Secret World Vault

See It!

There’s also a lot to see… we just scratched the surface in the few days we were there.

Bum Around Jacksonville

Jacksonville is just east of Medford, nestled against the hills of the Rogue Valley. It’s a cute, quirky town that reminded us of Nevada City, California. There’s lots of antique shopping and a number of galleries.

Plus it’s full of history:

Jacksonville

Jacksonville

Jacksonville

There’s even a ghost tour some evenings.

Walk up to Britt Gardens – it was once the home of one of the founding fathers of the city, and is now a beautiful outdoor concert venue. We were wandering around up there and ran into a family of deer. One of them as less than ten feet from me, and stood really still as if she hoped I wouldn’t see her.

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Britt Gardens - Jacksonville

Picnic in Lithia Park

Ashland’s Lithia Park is a gorgeous creekside park with charming bridges and walkways and wide open grassy areas perfect for a picnic. So grab some cheese and crackers at the Rogue Creamery and some chocolates at Lillie Belle, and head down to the park in Ashland. We spent an hour laying on the grass, munching and talking about life and the universe. One of my favorite parts of the trip.

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

Lithia Park - Ashland

See a Shakespeare Play

Did you know that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers fifty percent discounts on same day play purchases? We saw a play – Alice in Wonderland – in the gorgeous outdoor Elizabethan Theatre. And while I can honestly say it was one of the worst plays I have seen in a long time, the experience itself was great.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

 

There are so many things to do in the Ashland area, and we’ve only shared a few. We’ll be back again to find more the next time we visit Nick and Kolby. But we’ll leave you with this little gem from Jacksonville. Have fun exploring!

Jacksonville sign

Sedona’s Tlaquepaque

Author: , July 13th, 2017

Tlaquepaque entrance

We just spent a few days in Sedona – my first time there since I was about fourteen – and I gotta say, I love this little town. There’s so much art here, both in galleries and shops and out in the public sphere.

Tlaquepaque - Statue

Sedona has two main shopping districts – there’s downtown, which has a few gems but is kinda filled with tourist traps selling t-shirts and cheap pottery.

But there is a great place to find an amazing array of quality souvenirs, from affordable kitchenware up to high-end sculpture and on-canvas art. It’s called Tlaquepaque – say it with me: Tah-Laa-Kwe-Packeee” – and it’s a gorgeous outdoor shopping center on the southern end of town.

Tlaquepaque - Plaza

Tlaquepaque is built in a Spanish Mission style, and it’s a pleasure to just wander the grounds, taking in the art and spending time sitting at the many fountains on a hot day and trailing your hand in the cool water.

Tlaquepaque Plaza

There are so many great places here.

If you get here at lunchtime, start out at the Oak Creek Brewery – the food is good, and the second-floor location offers some gorgeous red rock views through the picture windows.

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery

Tlaquepaque - Oak Creek Brewery View

A short list of our favorite stores here: Cucina Sedona (really cool kitchen stuff); Esteban’s Pottery (OMG – we so almost came home with some of their gorgeous work); and The Inner Eye Gallery (just really cool art).

Tlaquepaque - Esteban's

Esteban’s

Tlaquepaque - The Inner Eye Gallery

The Inner Eye Gallery

We spent about an hour at Tlaquepaque, but I could have wandered around all afternoon.

A must-see while you are in Sedona. Here are some more examples of the public art that litters the place, and some of the nice views – enjoy!

 

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Tlaquepaque - Art

Where to Shop (for Boy Toys and Bouquets) in the Castro

Author: , April 12th, 2015

Castro Gayborhood

Whether you’re looking for a bed stand or a one-night stand, the perfect gift or fun item to add to your personal collection, look no further than San Francisco’s Castro.

One Night Stands – Badlands

Shop at the late night meat market better known as Badlands if you’re looking to put another notch in the ‘ol bedpost. This bar is filled to the brim with European tourists, twins, and innocent out-of-towners every night. When it overflows, head across the street to its sister bar, Toad Hall.

A Beautiful Bouquet – Urban Flowers

The Looking-famous Urban Flowers Shop is filled with off-the wall varieties we guarantee you’ve never seen before as well as more than a few daddies to check out. From the classics to the oddest things you can image, a stop in this mom-and-pop flower shop is the perfect way to say whatever it is you want.

By Gabe Cooper – Full Story at Queerty | San Francisco Gay Travel Resources

Street Shopping in Bangkok

Author: , March 22nd, 2015

Photo by Jenny AdamsTucked down shadowy, orchid-strewn alleys or confronting you in glittery glory, Bangkok’s shopping opportunities come in every size, shape, budget, and locale imaginable. The best part is, the prices here are half those you’d find in New York, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

To help you find costume jewelry, vintage heels, custom denim, or the perfect pair of Ray Bans at a steal of a price, we rounded up five of the must-visit streets in Thailand’s capital.

Siam Square

At Siam Paragon, you’ll find plenty of places, such as Prada and Armani, willing to take your hard-earned cash. But if you want a chance to purchase fashion labels you can’t find back home, head to the nearby Siam Square. It’s actually multiple streets, anchored by a central, charming, tree-lined road. Both sides of the main avenue offer independent boutiques full of affordable shoes, handbags, ladies’ apparel, nail salons, coffee shops, and amazing custom denim for men.

By Jenny Adams – Full Story at Sherman’s Travel | Thailand Gay Travel Resources

Gay San Diego – Solana Beach

Author: , December 30th, 2014

Solana Beach - Cedros Design District

Solana Beach - Cedros Design DistrictWe lucked into the Cedros Design District (Solana Beach, cedrosdesigndistrict.net) by accident – we were attending a wedding reception in Solana Beach and had a few hours to kill before it started, and we wound up here. You’re gonna love this place.

To get here, take the 5 Freeway north from San Diego about half an hour. Exit at Lomas Santa Fe Dr., turning west toward the beach at the base of the exit. About half a mile down, you’ll reach South Cedros Avenue, just before the railroad tracks and Old Highway 101. Turn left and you’re here!

Solana Beach - Cedros Design DistrictThis place is amazing – filled with unique boutiques, galleries, little restaurants and outdoor cafes, and more cool shopping than you can shake a stick at (believe me, we tried, and the stick broke halfway through).

The district was once a cabinet making and woodworking center, filled with industrial buildings, and began its transition to a funky, hip, upscale design, art and shopping center in the ’90’s with the arrival of a West Hollywood developer, Sean MacLeod, who articulated the new vision for the district. He opened the Cedros Trading Company, a consignment mall, which nurtured a number of vendors who eventualy moved into their own shops in the district. Buildings were renovated and painted, and the District continued to grow and thrive.

Solana Beach - Cedros Design DistrictThe Belly Up Tavern (www.bellyup.com), which has brought in a wildly varied group of entertainers since the ’70’s, was renovated, and MacLeod opened up the Wild Note Cafe next door in 1997.

We ate at the Wild Note Cafe (www.bellyupcantina.com/index.html) for lunch – the food was really good, and the funky jazz atmosphere enjoyable.

Menu items for lunch include sandwiches, burgers, seafood, quesadillas, and more, with entrees running from $7-12. Dinner includes seafood, steak and chicken, with entrees running from $15-23.

 style="margin: 6px;"There’s no Starbucks or Peets Coffee here (I know, shocking) – but for a quick drink and snack, check out Zinc Cafe (www.zinccafe.com), a super-cute cafe with an ivy-covered outdoor patio to relax in under the trees and a large umbrella (see below, right)

It’s truly a pleasure to walk down South Cedros – the whole district is just a couple blocks long on a single street, but take a look at a small sample of what’s packed into these blocks – there’s lots of street art and art that happens to be on the street.

Here are a few of our favorite stores and shops along South Cedros:

Solana Beach - Cedros Design DistrictLeaping Lotus (www.leapinglotus.com) – ever been to one of those converted old warehouses that’s been broken up into a bunch of little antique stores, each individually rented by someone to show off their wares, usually dusty old things no one really wants?

Leaping Lotus is like that, but much, much better – think antique mall on steroids – instead of old dusty lamps and soda bottles, it’s filled floor to ceiling (actually, two floors to ceiling) with interesting arts and crafts.

We found all kinds of interesting things here, from oil paintings to masks, from wooden Hawaiian gods to woven baskets and hand-made candles. And yes, there were even lamps here.

Solana Beach - Cedros Design DistrictTimeless Furnishings (www.timelessfurnishingsandpatio.com) was another cool home store (with locations both in Hillcrest and in Solana Beach) with exotic imports – kind of a local Pier 1).

There’s also a Farmer’s Market (www.solanabeachfarmersmarket.com) on Sundays from 1-5 PM.

The Cedros Design District in Solana Beach was far and away the best shopping place we found during our recent visits to San Diego – a great place to spend an afternoon.

San Diego Gay Travel Resources

Shopping on Gay Kauai

Author: , November 15th, 2014

Kauai Shopping

Kauai offers tons and tons of shopping opportunities. We explored the island from top to bottom for you, so you’ll know where to go. First off, we’ll cover the big shopping centers:

SHOPPING CENTERS:

Kukui GroveKukui Grove Center
Lihue
http://www.kukuigrovecenter.com
Here you’ll find Kukui Grove, the only real shopping mall on-island – anchored by Ross on one end and Macy’s on the other. This open air mall also has one of the few Starbucks on island. The mall is nothing fancy by mainland standards, but it’s great to have if you need to pick up something while you’re here – a new shirt, flip flops, or maybe a treat at the yummy Kauai Bakery?

Coconut Marketplace
Waipouli
http://www.coconutmarketplace.com/
The Coconut Marketplace is the second-largest shopping center on-island, with several restaurants and the island’s second multi-screen cinema. The center is being remodeled, so about a third was closed when we were there, but this is a great place to find reasonably priced gifts for your friends back home. The Marketplace also features live hula performances weekly at 5 PM.

Poipu Shopping VillagePoipu Shopping Village
Poipu
http://poipushoppingvillage.com
This is the older (but still beautiful) shopping center, along the main drag, on the western side of Poipu. It offers upscale shopping in a garden setting, and is home to both Keoki’s Paradise and Roy’s, two restaurants we’ll review in our restaurants section.

Shops at Kukui UlaThe Shops at Kukui Ula
Poipu
http://kukuiula.com/community/the-shops-at-kukuiula/
This center is brand-new in the last couple years, and is part of the Kukui Ula development, where you can buy a plot of land for your ocean view home, if you have a million bucks to spare. It’s a beautiful center, right in the heart of Poipu at the new traffic circle.

Nawiliwili Harbor / Kalapaki Beach
Lihue
http://www.kalapakibeach.org/shopping
At the ocean end, on Nawiliwili Harbor, the cruise ships dock, and there’s a nice resort and a smattering of tourist shops.

KilohanaKalapaki BeachKilohana Estate
Lihue
http://kilohanakauai.com/wp/
On the edge of Lihue, you’ll find Kilohana, an old plantation estate that’s been updated and filled with little shops, including Koloa Rum, a pottery shop, several little art stores, a candy store, a jewelry shop, and much more.

INDIVIDUAL STORES:

There are also a few shops in particular we really like:

Hilo Hattie
Lihue
http://www.hilohattie.com
One of our favorite island stores is here. Kauai’s only Hilo Hattie is right in the middle of Lihue – stop here on your way back to the airport for great, affordable gifts for your friends and family back home – macadamia nuts, island candy, aloha wear, puka shell necklaces, and much more.

Island Soap and Candle Store
Koloa and Kilauea
http://www.islandsoap.com
Island Soap and Candleworks has a small store in Koloa Town and a larger one in Kilauea – a must-see on Hawaii, both to buy some of their delectably scented tropical soaps and candles and to watch them being made.

Sand People
Waipouli and Poipu
http://www.sandpeople.com
This is a great little knick-knacks store that has a location in Hanalei and one in the the Poipu Shopping Village. Some unique gifts for your friends back home.

Kauai CoffeeKauai Coffee
Kalaheo
http://kauaicoffee.com
There’s a huge coffee plantation on the southern side of the island, west of Poipu and Koloa Town. They have a great gift shop, coffee flavored treats, and of course, great coffee.

ABC Stores
Various
http://www.abcstores.com
These are the local 7-11 type stores – good for the basics, but also offering a lot of touristy goodies at great prices, from mac nuts and candies to shark-tooth necklaces and everything in-between. They are all over the island.

There are a few outdoor marketplaces on Kauai – none of them very good – you’ll find one next to the spouting horn in Poipu, and another, the Kauai Products Fair, just on the northern edge of Kapa’a. But they do have some fun, kitschy tourst momentos.

PRACTICAL STUFF:

Box Stores
Lihue
Lihue also features big box stores like Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, and Kmart, and many of the nuts and bolts operations like contractors, suppliers, car dealerships, and more. Lihue is short on charm and long on practicality.

Groceries
One of the local supermarkets – Big Save – is one of the most expensive on the island. Only shop here if you have to, or if you need one or two things – otherwise shop at the island Safeway in Waipouli. ***check this. There’s a brand new Safeway being built just west of Kukui Grove in Lihue, too. I should note, though, that if you want taro chips, Big Save is the only place I found them on this trip.

You may want to take along an extra suitcase, or limited clothing, so you’ll have room to haul back all the things you buy on your visit to Kauai.

Kauai Gay Travel Resources

Gay Sacramento: Shopping

Author: , July 21st, 2014

Welcome to Sacramento

Sacramento has some great shopping – there’s even a great little gay owned shop in Midtown.

Peradice SacramentoIt’s called Peradice Cards and Gifts, and it’s filled with lots of cool things – some fabulous wallets covered with vintage art and maps, gay flags and other paraphernalia, and even LGBT themed cards – attending a same sex wedding? Peradice has you covered.

The store is tucked away on 24th street just north of J St. – stop by if you’re in town.

Speaking of J Street, there are lots of great shops along this main thoroughfare through town. Sacramento is a bit like Portland, Oregon, in that its downtown has small blocks that are easily walkable, and it retains a bit of that small town feel.

The downtown is laid out in a grid, with alphabet streets (A, B, C) running east-west and numbered streets running north-south.

For J street, start at about 16th and J and walk east – you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops along this stretch, up until about 24th, where you can turn the corner and visit Peradice.

Old SacramentoAnother great spot in downtown for shopping is Old Sacramento. It’s sandwiched between Highway 5 and the Sacramento River, and has some great shops, including Fun & Games, one of our favorite local game shops.. There are shops for old-time candy, period clothing shops, and even a place that sells all kinds of those Russian nesting dolls.

If it’s outlet shopping you crave, Folsom, about 20 minutes east by car via Highway 50, has a large outlet mall, Folsom Premium Outlets.

Palladio FolsomAnd while you’re out in Folsom, check out the Palladio, a gorgeous outdoor mall. It’s still filling up shops-wise, but be sure to visit Kwirkworld, a cool and very gay friendly gift shop with lots of cool, unique things. There’s also a Kirklands store here, with amazing home furnishings.

There’s one more great outdoor “lifestyle center” in the area – The Fountains at Roseville – about 25 minutes NE of Sacramento via Highway 50. There’s a Z Gallerie, a gelato place, a Whole Foods, a Peets Coffe, and much more here to explore. Plus did I mention the fountains?

You may have to dig a little to find it, but the Sacramento area has some great shopping.

Sacramento Gay Travel Resources

Out in Las Vegas: Shopping

Author: , April 30th, 2014

LinQ

There are so many “malls” in Las Vegas, especially if you count all the ones at the casinos. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to discount most of those, as they tend to have the same stores (Prada, Tiffany, Michel Kors, etc), most of which offer really expensive fashion at really high prices.

Here are our favorite shopping spots along the strip, several of them new.

crystals-04CRYSTALS
http://www.crystalsatcitycenter.com

Crystal is the small mall that is sandwiched between the Cosmopolitan and the Aria casinos in City Center, the last really big development along the strip. We like Crystal mostly for the art:

crystals-01

First and foremost, the “Treehouse” (below) – an amazing three-story wooden structure that houses about half of the Mastro restaurant on the second floor. Stretching from the ground level, it’s kind of a tree-mushroom-hookah pipe structure, but none of those descriptions really do it justice. Suffice it to say you will be wowed when you first see it. More on Mastro in our Vegas dining post later.

Crystals Treehouse

Glacia” – sort of a fountains-as-popsicles art. These columns are cooled to minus 6 degrees, and then water flows over to freeze them into giant white, well, pop sickles. Then they melt, and the whole thing repeats. You’ll be forgiven if you think they are giant styrofoam columns the first time you see them.

Crystals Halo“Halo” – think of this as whirlpool art. A number of clear plastic columns house whirlpools of varying strengths and sizes that ebb and flow before your eyes.

Starbucks – the giant nest sculptures that surround this open-air Starbucks in the middle of the center make this one of the coolest Starbucks we’ve ever seen.

Light Trees – these trees on the second level put us in mind of the giant tree of life from Avatar. You’ll want to reach up and entwine your arm with the glowing light strands.

The shops here are fairly standard, but this mall, with its great art and interesting open spaces is well worth a visit.

LinQTHE LINQ
http://www.thelinq.com

Sandwiched between the new Quad Casino (formerly the Imperial) and the Flamingo, this center is one long pedestrian boulevard. It’s filled with some great little boutique shops like Koto and the overpriced but fabulous Kitson, where you can find some cool knick-knacks – Koto in particular had some really cool cords for your iPad or iPhone.

Linq - KotoSome of this stuff can be very expensive. We found a grey zip-up sweatshirt with rainbow bands at Kitson that we really liked – then we checked the price tag – $165. For a sweatshirt. Yikes.

There are also a number of restaurants and bars along this new shopping avenue – we’ll talk about Flour and Barley, the pizza place we tried on our last night, later in our restaurants post.

linq-02The LinQ also has its own concierge, and they will help you with just about anything, for free. They made us reservations at a restaurant in a different part of the strip and got us set up with a Total Rewards card – which came with free passes to see Diva, Frank Marino’s drag show at the Quad. Which we had just bought tickets for ten minutes before. Sigh.

The LinQ is also where you’ll find one of Vegas’s most amazing new attractions, the High Roller, billed as the highest observation wheel in the world. More on that in our Things to Do post.

There’s a gorgeous fountain in the heart of the LinQ center that is the perfect place to meet friends or just hang out. We loved the LinQ – it had great shopping, a relaxed atmosphere and some fantastic dining and views.

fashion-showFASHION SHOW
http://www.thefashionshow.com

if you’re looking for a selection of “regular” stores, check out the Fashion Show mall, at the north end of the strip across from the Wynn Hotel. Unlike most of the shopping malls in the casinos, this mall is filled with stores that sell everyday things – close stores, apartment store Macy’s, Apple Store, and ABC store for Hawaiian treats, and many other things.

We get tired of walking through some of the malls of the casinos, beautiful as they are, because they’re all the same things – Donna Karan, Tiffany, and Michael Kors – all things clothing, fashion, and, most of all, expensive.

Fashion Show also boasts not one, but two Starbucks, perfect for a little refreshment on a hot day. And are some great restaurants here that won’t break your budget. If you left something at home – a piece of clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, or whatever, you can probably find it here, for a lot less than you’ll pay on the strip.

Miracle Mile ShopsMIRACLE MILE SHOPS – PLANET HOLLYWOOD
http://www.miraclemileshopslv.com

Formerly the Aladdin, the mall here still has a few of its moroccan touches – you can see them in the “building roofs” that line the tops of several sections of the mall.

Miracle Mile ShopsBut otherwise it’s all new. This is one of the few places in the heart of the strip where you can also find everyday stores – there’s even a Walgreens at the front corner of the casino.

Plus there’s a fairly cool rainfall feature in the mall – check out the regular thunderstorms that rumble through.

RETRO VEGAS

Although we didn’t make it into downtown this trip, the Center folks told us about a great furniture and retro store that’s also gay-owned. It’s called Retro Vegas and it’s on Main Street. Stop by of you have the chance.

Visit the Purple Roofs Las Vegas, Nevada Page – Lodging, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Events, News, and More

San Francisco Shopping for the Holidays 2013

Author: , December 13th, 2013
by Scott and Mark, Purple Roofs

Visit the Purple Roofs San Francisco Page for Accommodations and Tour Operators

Want to Get Married San Francisco? | Looking for a Realtor in San Francisco?

San Francisco Panorama

Union Square at ChristmasSan Francisco is always a great place to visit, but it’s especially magical during the Holiday Season. While there’s no snow, the Christmas decorations come out, it seems like there’s music on every corner, and holiday cheer abounds.

We took our annual holiday shopping trip in The City last week, to head down to The City to see what this holiday season had to offer. The weather was cold (and wet the first night) this year – but after the rain passed on Friday, we had two beautiful, sunny days.

San Francisco at Night

You’ll find many of our favorites here – Union Square, Union Street, The Castro, The Embarcadero/Ferry Building, and Hayes Valley.

If you haven’t been to The City before, it may come as a surprise how walkable SF is – if you are in good shape, you can easily walk from Union Square to the Castro, or to Fisherman’s Wharf or North Beach. You just need a good map and a little situational awareness.

EmbarcaderoIn our opinion, the main place to avoid is the Tenderloin – a sketchy district that sits between Union Square and the Civic Center, where city hall is located. While this is labeled an “up and coming” district, with companies like Twitter locating their offices there, it still has a long way to go. We’d strongly suggest not going there at night, and if you can avoid it during the daytime, do.

The theater district borders on the Tenderloin, but is generally ok during the busy showtimes when there are lots of people around. And we’ve often walked Market Street between 5th and Van Ness during the daytime… just have someone with you and be cautious.

San Francisco Bike ShareNow about that situational awareness thing – smart phones are regularly stolen in The City. And victims often make it easy by peering at their phones and not paying attention to the world around them. So exercise caution when using your cell phone on the street, especially in busier neighborhoods, and be aware of the situation around you.

But enough said about the “dangers” – all in all, the city is very safe for such a large metro area.

There’s a new bike share service in the city – it’s still being expanded, but you’ll see the light blue bikes at various places around town.  More details here.

SF Bag lawOne more note – last year, San Francisco basically banned plastic bags in city limits – the intent being to cut back on the plastic that goes into landfills and out to sea to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – stores can no longer give you plastic bags (unless they are biodegradable), and if you want a paper sack, you have to pay an extra 10 cents.  So be prepared, or bring your own bags with you when you shop.

Now on to shopping!

Hayes Valley

We’ll start with Hayes Street, a cute three-block shopping district that we only found by chance – that is, a chance encounter with a friend and her daughter at the Apple store a few weeks back.  Her daughter had a really cute Mexican purse, and when we asked where she bought it, we found out about Polanco, a great store on Hayes Street specializing in Mexican art.  Back to that in a minute.

Hayes Valley ParkHayes Valley was divided for many years by a freeway offramp that plit the neighborhood in half.  Damaged in the quake of 1989, the segment was demolished, giving way to a narrow, cute little park and bringing the neighborhood back together.  Over the last twenty years, Hayes Valley has seen a renaissance, with great results for us in 2012.

Polanco Gallery, Hayes Street, San FranciscoHayes Street shopping is located on Hayes Street, just a few blocks north of Market street, and just west of Van Ness.  It’s really close to our favorite gay theater in the city – the New Conservatory Theatre.

Now back to Polanco Gallery – this is a fascinating store.  In the front, there’s a big Christmas tree filled with colorful Mexican ornaments – not gay, per se, but you’ll find many rainbow colors here. The store also offers a beautiful selection of Mexican pottery, silver picture frames and jewelry boxes, gaily colored wooden statuettes, and a myriad of whimsical gift ideas.

F Dorian, Hayes StreetAlso here on Hayes Street, you’ll find F. Dorian (at right) – another shop full of cute gifts just across Hayes Street from Polanco – another great place to find ornaments from a local SF vendor, as well as pottery, kitchen ware, and other fine art.

Minimal, Hayes Valley, San FranciscoAlso on Hayes Street, you’ll find Flight 001 – a cute little travel store with innovate, interesting products; Marlena’s lesbian bar (fully decorated for the season); and Minimal (pictured at left), another great boutique store filled with home decor, including decorative pillows, candles, kitchen ware, and other kitschy elements.

Patxi's Pizza, Hayes Valley, San FranciscoWe also found a great place to eat here – Patxi’s Pizza (“patchees”) – serving Chicago-style pizza on Hayes Street.  Serving both thin-crust and deep-dish Pizza, Patxi’s has a nice ambiance, and the deep-dish pizzas are really, really good.

Christopher ElbowFor dessert, pop into the Christopher Elbow chocolate shop – they have some amazing chocolate treats as well as a great selection of drinking chocolates. Try something exotic like a pear chocolate or a basil chocolate square, or go more traditional with one of their peanut butter chocolates or turtles.

As we mentioned above, the New Conservatory Theatre Company offers some great entertainment just around the corner.  Located in the basement of a building at Van Ness and Market Street, the NCTC offers some great gay theatre.

This year, we saw a play we’ve been dying to see for years – Avenue Q.  Now that the national tours are done, they’ve finally gotten the rights to do it at the NCT, and they did a great job with it.  The cast was fantastic, and you even forget, sometimes, that the puppets are puppets.  Though puppet porn is now indelibly etched into my memory. It’s on through January 12th.  Also there – My Beautiful Laundrette.

And if you’re in town on Christmas eve, get tickets for the Gay Men’s Chorus – they’re doing a fantastic holiday concert this year called Shine – we saw it last weekend, and it was fabulous – 400 male voices in unison (along with two pianos, two harps, and a soprano opera singer).

Embarcadero/Ferry Building

Hyatt Regency San FranciscoWe love to visit the Hyatt Regency lobby, especially at Christmastime.

It’s one of those Hyatts with the huge interior space, and this time of year it’s a winter wonderland filled with long threads of white lights, rainbow-colored lights on the iconic elevators.  It’s a lot of fun – if you are in the area, be sure to stop in to see the decorations.

San Francisco Ferry BuildingBut our main destination is always the Ferry Building Marketplace.  If you’ve never been, you’re in for a treat – it’s like a huge indoor farmer’s market (although there’s an actual farmer’s market there too on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) filled with local shops and artisans.

Ferry Building Farmer's MarketWe found some amazing things here, and only the fact that we were staying in a hotel prevented us from leaving with arms full of cheeses, crackers, jams and jellies, cured meat, and much more.

There’s even an outdoor Farmer’s Market there on Saturdays that wraps around the building – it’s huge, and all food – fruit and vegetables, of course, but ale olive oils and pastries and all kinds of other wonderful foodstuffs.

If you have time, give yourself an hour or two to wander through the Ferry Building – there’s so much here to see (and buy).  Here are a few other things we ran across:

San Francisco Ferry BuildingSan Francisco Ferry Building

San Francisco Ferry BuildingSan Francisco Ferry Building

Exploratorium San FranciscoNot too far up the waterfront from the Ferry Building, at Pier 15, is the new Exploratorium Museum.  It’s an SF staple – a place where kids and adults can explore the sciences in a hands-on fashion.  It used to be on the other end of town at the Palace of Fine Arts, but the new location along the wharf suits it perfectly – there’s even a section devoted to the life sciences and the San Francisco Bay.

Exploratorium SFThe new facility is amazing – our favorite part was the section dealing with sound and sight.  There are so many hands-on exhibits here – we tried a bunch of them and even at our advanced ages (much older than five) we had a great time and learned a few things.

Tickets were $25 for adults, but if you’re from one of the 7 Bay Area counties, you get a $5 break on the cost of admission.

Union Square

Union Square at XmasMoving on to Union Square.  This is the premier shopping district in The City, and is home to Sachs, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Tiffany’s, and a host of other retail stores, including one of our favorites, the Apple Store (and this one is HUGE).

There’s also the San Francisco Center just across Market Street – a beautiful shopping center with a large food court, Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, and a few high-end restaurants to boot.

For holiday shopping, here are our picks in Union Square:

Chorous at Macy'sMacys: Their ornaments (on the 7th floor of the “women’s” store – yes, there are TWO Macy’s here), are already discounted and they have some great things (tho, alas, no “gay” ornament tree AGAIN this year). There are a number of great SF-centric ornaments here, too.

If you’re lucky, you might hear a little live Christmas music – when we were there on Sunday, a chorus from Walnut Creek was there to sing.  We stopped and watched for a few songs – helped to get us in the mood.

They have an annual Christmas window display, and every year, they showcase pets in need of homes.  Soooo cute.

Tout SweetAlso check out Tout Sweet, a cafe and sweets shop on the third floor of the Macy’s women’s store, overlooking Union Square, by openly gay chef Yigit Pura, the first gay man to win Top Chef – it’s filled with beautiful (and probably sinful and deadly) treats, and is worth a stop.

Apple StoreNext, try the Apple Store – this must be one of the largest Apple Stores on the west coast. While actual discounts are rare here, this is the must-stop store for your gadget purchases, with the new iPhone 5, the iPad mini, and a host of accessories and other toys.

Urban Outfitters Union SquareAlso check out the little stores tucked into the nooks and crannies of Powell Street, just south of the actual Square. One we liked (and had never actually visited before) was the Urban Outfitters store – we thought they were just for clothing, but the whole downstairs of this store is filled with interesting gifts and gadgets, along with a small selection of Christmas ornaments (at right), including the first T-Rex ornament we saw this trip. :)

San Francisco Center - Emporium DomeAt the SF Center just across Market Street, there’s a Go Games store in the former Borders store location – they sell calendars, puzzles, and games,.

And once again this year, check out the awesome lighting under the old “Emporium” dome here in the SF Center – this side of the mall was once the Emporium, and the renovation preserved this beautiful architectural feature.

There’s also a movie theater here if you want to catch a flick between bouts of shopping.

For gadget lovers, check out the Brookstone store while you’re at the SF Center.

Target MetreonJust south and east of the Galleria is the Metreon – when it opened in the late nineties, it was intended to be the modern, new millennium answer to the old-fashioned shopping malls – but instead it flopped badly.  The only remnant of those halcyon days is the movie theater on the top floor.  Now the Metreon has been repurposed in a more practical manner – the entire second floor is now a Target.

We visited it to see the changes – and it’s so bizarre to see the huge second floor, that once was full of cutting edge stores now replaced with this (at left). Makes me sad.

HatsOut along the streets we saw a number of vendors selling these cute hats (at right).  Now granted, they’re probably made en-masse in a factory in China, but they were cute…

SF Street EntertainerWe also ran into this guy – we’ve seen him here before – he’s a street entertainer, and although he probably has a tough life, he always brings a little joy to visitors to Union Square.

Acoustic ScupltureFinally, we found something new on Market Street this year – a piece of acoustic art.  Made of two big upended dishes and some architectural flourish, the sculpture will transmit sound from one dish to another across a wide distance, even if you speak at a regular conversational volume.  It’s on the south side of Market between 3rd and 4th.  Give it a try!

Gingerbreat at the Marriott MarquisJust around the corner at the Marriott Marquis (aka the Jukebox), they have a gingerbread House contest going in the lobby – each department in the hotel fashioned their own – come by and see a miniature Transamerica Building, among many others.

Want something to eat while you’re here? There are some great options.

Caffe BelliniFor breakfast, try Caffe Bellini, on Powell Street just half a block south of the Square on Powell Street. We’re in love with the idea of a true Italian caffe – a beautifully appointed place where the Italians stop in for a delicious pastry and a hot coffee on the way to work.

And Caffe Bellini delivers on this premise, with a case full of gorgeous pastries, real Italian coffee (Lavaza), and a nod to the American palette with full breakfast meals as well. The ham and egg bagel sandwich was particularly tasty and filling here.

Another great find is Cafe La Taza, half a block west of the Square on Post Street – a little cheaper than Bellini, Cafe La Taza serves a great mix of options, from pastries to breakfast croissants and burritos to french toast and oatmeal. he staff was really friendly (and fast), and the two of us got out of there for $20 for breakfast.

La BoulangeAlso, if you’re near the Metreon, there’s La Boulange, a local chain, on the ground floor with a view out to Yerba Buena Park (and outdoor patio seating for whe. it’s warm out).  Nice selection of pastries here, as well as a good quiche (needed a little salt) and really good fresh-squeezed OJ and coffee.

You may notice that the city recently added a series of sitting areas along Powell Street on the two blocks south of the Square – modern metal railings, planters, benches and tables – rest your weary self between stores here.

For lunch, try the Cheesecake Factory – yes, it’s a chain, but it has a HUGE menu with something for everyone, and hands-down the best view of the Square, form the top of the Macy’s building. Get there early – they open at 11 or 11:30 – and ask for a table on the rail overlooking Union Square. The Cheesecake Factory fills up fast.

Another, more low-key option – Boudin – a local SF chain – that serves some of the best sourdough bread around. We love their salads, their turkey avocado and turkey cranberry sandwiches, and the chile and clam chowder – served, of curse, in a bread bowl. Boudin is on the south side of the women’s Macy’s Building, with its own entrance form the street.

Colibri RestaurantFor dinner, one of our local favorites is Colibri – a modern Mexican restaurant serving things like squash blossoms, prickly pear cactus, and other exotic treats. The cuisine includes some down-to-earth dishes, too, so don’t be scared – they have a fantastic filet, and the chicken huitlacoche dish is fantastic.

This restaurant is owned by the same folks who used to run Zazil, one of our favorites in the SF Center that closed a couple years back. Colibri is on Geary, one and a half blocks west of The Square, across from the Curran and ACT theaters – and often fills up quickly because of these two theaters on play nights. Make a reservation as early as possible.

We also like the Lark Creek restaurant in the SF center – great steak, though a little pricy.

Another great (and low-cost) thing to do for entertainment during the holidays – watch the ice skaters in Union Square. There’s a viewing platform here, and it’s surprisingly entertaining to watch the brave souls skate by – young couples in love, arrogant professional skaters weaving in and out of the crowds, and the occasional (entertaining) fall, usually preceded by vigorous arm waving. And if you wanna brave the rink yourself, they even rent the skates!

Get a hot chocolate and come watch the skaters at night – it’s magical, and the music selection is fantastic too.

There’s another ice skating rink over at Justin Herman Plaza, by the Embarcadero (just walk down Market to the Bay).

Union Street

Let’s move on to Union Street. Although it shares part of its name with Union Square, it’s halfway across town.

Huntington Park FountainIf you’re up for the walk, it’s a nice one – take Powell up to California Street, and then go west on California, and you’ll pass through the Nob Hill district (it is a bit of a climb up Powell and California streets), with its fancy (and beautiful) hotels, Huntington Park (a great place to sit and people watch for a few minutes – and check out the “manly” fountain in the middle at right), and then north on Polk Street.

Polk has its own cute little shopping district, as well as a Peets Coffee – a local SF chain that’s a great alternative to Starbucks.

Union StreetWhen you reach Union, turn left (west), and cross Van Ness to Union Street’s shopping district (you’ll have to go a block or two past Van Ness before you find the good stuff).

One note: you’re really close to Lombard Street here (you know, the really curvy one), if you want to walk back that way, but that’s a BIG hill).

For shopping:

Susan Miller Art GalleryCheck out the Susan Miller Gallery – Susan’s a local artist who has her own gallery, and specializes in watercolors – specifically, locations around North Beach and Union Street, and fashion art from local store windows.

She’s gay friendly, and the prices are reasonable – most framed prints run around $135 each. She also offers art classes on-site… find her in a basement flat off the north side of Union Street.

Twig San FranciscoAnother really cool store is Twig – a local boutique with all kinds of great knick-knacks – art, ornaments, clever signs, and creative toys for kids. Yeah, so,e things are a bit pricey, but remember, this is a local store, and you’re supporting the local economy.

Octagon House MuseumThere’s also a new museum – The Octagon House – showcasing Federal and Colonial art, but it’s only open limited hours – second Sundays and Second and Fourth Thursdays from 12-3 PM.

For local eats:

We really liked Ottimista, an Italian restaurant on the north side of Union Street with a great atmosphere and good food. But there’s also Perry’s – if you’re a Tales of the City Fan, you’ll recognize this long-time SF tradition as the place where Brian worked… the food’s basically pub quality food – burgers, fries, etc – but it’s fun just for the history.

The Castro

F-Line San FranciscoWe’ve saved the best shopping for the last – The Castro – the geographic and metaphoric heart of San Francisco. From Union Square, you can walk here in about 35-45 minutes – just go straight up Market Street. Or take the F Line (at left) – historic rail cars brought into SF from all around the world and restored – there’s even one from Milan, still filled with Milanese signage.

You can catch these at any of the bus stops on Market Street, and they’ll give you a transfer good for a couple hours for the return. Or take the MUNI underground line – K, L, or M – which will whisk you under Market Street to the Castro in just a few minutes.

Castro Christmas TreeYou’ll know you are in the Castro by the huge Rainbow Flag that flies over Harvey Milk Plaza – the rallying point for the Castro since Milk’s day in the seventies, when he would call community meetings there.

The city recently closed off the street across from Harvey Milk Plaza to make a little “park” – really just a sitting area.

And there’s a gorgeous, gay Christmas tree at the B of A plaza at Castro and 18th.

Here are some of our favorite places to shop for the Holidays in the Castro:

Under One RoofFirst and foremost, Under One Roof – not just for the great selection of Christmas ornaments, gay/Castro merchandise, and other cool knick-kacns – not just for the prices, which are pretty good – but also because the store exists to provide monetary support to people living with HIV and AIDS.  It’s one of two places we found with actual gay ornaments – rainbow flags, gay snowmen, and much more.

This store is a mandatory stop for us when we visit the City, and we always buy something here. There’s a really cool line of t-shirts, mugs, etc from SF mercantile that the store carries – when we wear our Castro shirts, we always get compliments. Under One Roof is on Market Street, between 18th and 19th.

Although the main store closed last year, they opened a new, smaller location across the street this year.

Does Your Mother KnowAnother long-time favorite – Does Your Mother Know. Formerly a card shop, the store has morphed into more of an erotic boutique – lots of toys and lube – but they also carry a great supply of gay-centric cards – from romantic to naughty – hard to find outside of the Castro. DYMK is on 18th, half a block west of Castro.

Cliff's Variety - The CastroAlso on Castro, you’ll find one of the oldest stores on the street – Cliff’s Variety  (at left).  Originally a hardware store, Cliffs still caries all the hardware basics – tools, nails, etc – but also carries games and toys, housewares, and through the newer storefront next door, great home decor and gift items.  Nice ornament selection here, too.

Gay Christmas Cards at Wild Card San FranciscoA new favorite – Wild Card! – just around the corner from Twin Peaks Bar (the first bar in the US with windows, showing the world we were here). This store is HUGE – far bigger than you’d think from the front – and had three main draws for us:

Pornaments

Card selection – thousands of cards, many gay-themed and/or erotic – and the only place this trip that had a decent (ok HUGE) selection of gay-themed Christmas cards (sorry the pic’s a little fuzzy).

Giant Wooden Penises: Yes, you heard that right – the store has two man-sized wooden penises tucked away in the back of the store. Take a picture with one, and your mamma will know!

Pornaments: Yes, we finally found them – gay porn ornaments. A whole row of them on a string behind the counter – create the Christmas tree of your gay erotic dreams!

There’s also the HRC store – in the old Harvey Milk Camera Store storefront between 18th and 19th – HRC-branded merchandise, including the cutest teddy bears in rainbow colors!

Want something to eat while you are here?

FirewoodTry Firewood – two blocks west of Castro Street on 18th – a local chain with a fantastic salad, and a really good rigatoni. Sit in the front room and people watch, or find a place in the sunny back room.

For breakfast, try Orphan Andy’s at the corner of Market and Castro for filling, delicious, unassuming fare, or the Patio a block down market.

GLBT History MuseumAlso of note: the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender History Museum, on 18th half a block east of Castro, has a fascinating collection of gay history memorabilia, including photos, posters, some of Harvey Milk’s personal effects and much more.

Their windows were smashed last year by vandals, so we’re sure they would appreciate your business.

Castro Window DisplayCheck out this only in the Castro store window. 🙂

Another great thing to do while you’re here – take one of the Cruisin’ the Castro tours – we did the Harvey Milk one this time, and loved it – it focused on sites around the Castro where Milk lived, worked, and is commemorated – more on this in the next post.

The tour also takes you up to Civic Center, with a great tour of city hall and a recap of the events that led up to the slayings of Milk and Mayor Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White (he of the infamous “twinkie defense”. Note: City Hall was lit up in red for World AIDS Day on December 1st.

We love dining at North Beach. While there’s not a lot of great shopping in North Beach – it’s more coffee shops, restaurants, and delis – it does have some great eats.

Caffe BaonecciFirst off, our favorite, Caffe Banonecci. Baonecci is owned by a wonderful Italian family – a rarity in North Beach these days. Walter, the father, always welcomes us warmly, and his wife, Stefania, is the master chef in the kitchen. This time, we started with a cheese plate, which came with a tasty strawberry jam spiced with a little red pepper, followed up with a salad, and finished with a gnocchi that Stefania prepared specially for us – soft potato dumplings that literally melted in my mouth!

Colosseo RestaurantWe also like Colosseo – on Columbus at Green. We were drawn in by the beautiful murals of the Colosseo and the Forum on the restaurant walls, but the food here was really good, too, and we enjoyed chatting with Camillo, our Italian waiter.

Beach Blanket BabylonDon’t forget to see another San Francisco tradition while you’re in town – Beach Blanket Babylon. Now in its 37th year, the basic format remains the same – Snow White’s search for love – but the new content, costumes, and of course, the hats – keep this San Francisco staple fresh. Our favorite parts this time around – the show’s take on the Republican presidential candidates (including a super-timely reference to Rick Perry) and the extra 20-30 minutes of Christmas music tacked on to the show for the Holidays.

Recommendations here: if you can afford it, splurge for one of the balcony side or front box seats – best views in the house. Otherwise, the two second best places are the front orchestra or the center balcony. The orchestra floor is not tiered, so if you sit too far back, the view is really poor, and may be blocked by support pillars for the balcony.

Getting Around the City:

San Francisco offers a number of great transportation options:

Walk: Our favorite, and a great way to see lots of the city

San Francisco Cable CarCable Cars: Catch these at Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, or the Embarcadero – a fun, touristy (tho pricey) way to explore the northeastern quadrant of The City.

MUNI: San Francisco’s transit system can take you all over town. The underground runs up and down Market Street and a few other destinations; the busses and street cars above ground can take you almost anywhere.

BART: Though limited in value for in-SF travel (basically Market Street from the Bay to Van Ness/Civic Center, and then south through the Mission), it’s clean, fast, and great to get you out of the city for day trips.

There’s also the aforementioned bike share.

If you’re in Northern California, get down to San Francisco for some great shopping this Gay Holiday Season!

San Miguel de Allende… your kind of town

Author: , June 22nd, 2013

Summer is here and what a better destination to vacation than a city that offers all in one place, plus a perfect weather! History, adventure, shopping, art, crafts, gastronomy, culture, scenery, hot springs, night life and fiesta, fiesta, fiesta!

No matter what kind of traveler you are surely San Miguel de Allende in the Heart of colonial Mexico will fit your needs and desires!

 

If you are more of the adventurous type join horseback rides thru breathtaking landscapes or treks on million year canyons. History abounds in San Miguel de Allende! Not only it is of outmost importance for the Independence movement of Mexico but has also a millennial background of indigenous cultures in the region.

Canada de la Virgen archeological site

Canada de la Virgen archeological site

The archeological site of Cañada de la Virgen (Virgin’s Glen) is an astounding heritage of the Mesoamerican architecture and culture of the years 600 – 900 A.D. This masterpiece opened to the public in 2011 and can be visited Tuesday thru Sundays, from 10 am to 6 pm. It is worth to join a guided tour to take a journey back into the deep knowledge of the regions’ culture.

 

For those who are in search for new treasures to be found, San Miguel has countless jewels. From prestigious art galleries, designers boutiques with one of a kind garments, antique shops with colonial furniture, carefully selected hand made crafts from all over Mexico to real estate dream houses, San Miguel de Allende has this and more for your shop til’ you drop spirit.

 

Satisfy your culinary search on the many restaurants to choose from after marvelous walks on the cobblestone streets of San Miguel. From traditional to international food from all over the world, all tastes can meet their match here. Bars with live music for any mood wait for your festive energy! And yes, if you want party, San Miguel de Allende is the town for you with it’s more than 38 traditional fiestas and over 15 festivals! Theater, concerts and exhibitions are held every week in this lively, culturally rich city.

 

If your wish is to have a renovating and relaxing escapade, but still enjoy San Miguel’s charm, the countryside in the cities’ outskirts are your destination. Only minutes away from San Miguel paradise is here for you to discover. Hot springs with rejuvenating pools, landscapes to inspire and all the peace nature can provide meet all in one place.

 

A captivating city, part of the UNESCO’S World Heritage Sites, San Miguel de Allende is the perfect destination for your summer time vacation.

If you are looking for a Gay Friendly accommodation visit www.sagradaboutiquehotel.com or follow this link to watch a video form Sagrada’s facilities http://youtu.be/azh-nUYJQ-c

Villa Condesa

Villa Condesa