Castro Camera Sign

Castro / Upper Market

Castro Camera

Castro Camera was a camera shop located in The Castro neighborhood of San Francisco. As the former place of business of Harvey Milk, Castro Camera attracts visitors from all over the world to its location. On your visit to San Francisco, see Castro Camera on Castro Street in, you guessed it, The Castro.

Harvey Milk Plaque at Castro Camera

Harvey Milk, a native of Long Island New York, moved to The Castro, San Francisco, in 1972 and started a camera business. Over time, his shop, located at 575 Castro Street, became a social center and place of refuge for new Castro residents, particularly homosexuals. Because 1972 was not the most “open” of times for gays, Harvey Milk and his establishment filled a needed void. His compassionate manner led to his nickname of the “Mayor of Castro Street.”

Nearly 100,000 gay, lesbian or bisexual people live in San Francisco. That’s over 15% of the population, the highest percentage of any US city.


Harvey Milk went on to become the first openly-gay elected official in the United States as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Unfortunately, in 1978, after less than a year in office, he was shot and killed by a former supervisor, Dan White, who also killed Mayor George Moscone. Compounding the injustice, a jury found the killer guilty of only voluntary manslaughter after his lawyers presented the “Twinkie defense,” claiming his diet of junk food altered his perceptions. The world was in shock.

Harvey Milk for Supervisor Button

Today, Castro Camera stands as a landmark in San Francisco. Tourists from all over the world visit the site in remembrance of Milk.

Castro Camera serves as a reminder of intolerance and as a signal of hope for the future. The 2008 film “Milk,” starring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, tells the story of the martyred San Francisco official. When you visit the camera shop, which also served as the activist’s election headquarters, note the plaque on the sidewalk in front of the store. It commemorates Harvey Milk and his accomplishments.

Castro Human Rights Campaign Shop

How Do I Find Castro Camera?

  • Castro Camera is easy to find. The address is 575 Castro Street, less than a block from the corner of 18th and Castro Street, in the heart of The Castro.
  • Use public transportation routes 24, 33, 35, 37, the F-Line, underground K, L, M or T, or you can walk to arrive here — although from Union Square we don’t recommend it. For a traveler, Market Street can be a busy and stressful promenade.
  • To reach Castro Camera from Union Square you can ride the underground K, L, M or T (20 mins) or take the F-Line (20 mins).

Human Rights Campaign Action Center Castro

Orange Sky Co. says:

Orange Sky SF Logo

Castro Camera is no longer a camera shop, but a special place and landmark in the history of The Castro neighborhood. The Human Rights Campaign Action Center & Store (the current occupant) is open during normal business hours where you can buy LGBT attire, learn of Harvey Milk and other Castro history.

Location of Castro Camera