History: Russian Hill earned its name from a cluster of Cyrillics crawled gravestones found there in the 1850’s, while Polk Gulch first emerged as a burgeoning gay neighborhood in the ’70s and today is booming with new nightlife spots.
Don’t Miss: Polk Gulch is a great destination if you’re up late and in mood to party. The Hi-Lo Club and Playland Bar offer cocktails and dancing only a block apart, while the Grubstake diner slings burgers until 4 a.m. to satisfy your late-night munchies. For a taste of how the neighborhood is changing, stop by the Lush Lounge: with its sophisticated up-lighting, exposed brick and a bar made from 150-years-old reclaimed farm wood, the room is a far cry from its days as the Polk Gulch Saloon, when its was a prominent hangout for drag queens and transsexuals. On a quiet afternoon, make your way to nearby Russian Hill and Lombard Street– it may not actually be the world’s crookedest street, as many would have you believe, but it is still one of the prettiest. For an even better view, head to the top of Russian Hill to see the beaux arts balustrade at Vallejo and Jones Streets. Fans of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City should seek out tiny Macondray Lane, a cobblestone walkway that served as his inspiration for Barbary Lane.
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