Family vacation in San Francisco can be a lot of fun. But the city has a reputation for being a little racy so it’s best to know where to take your family that is age-appropriate.
Drag shows in San Francisco are like none other. This city has it all, including some of the best all-ages drag shows in the country. From Storytime Tea to Saturdays Unplugged, the drag world has many age appropriate shows for families to see. It’s not always about racy dancing and adult jokes.
In this article, we’re exploring the drag shows in San Francisco that you’ll be happy to take your family to. There’s entertainment for all that will help you make memories with your loved ones, including your children. So, let’s get started and see where they are.
What Makes the Best All Ages Drag Show?
Drag shows are known for a few things. There’s lots of color. They’re usually loud. You can count on some singing. And they can be quite racy with lots of sexual innuendos.
But, we’re here to tell you not all drag shows are inappropriate for younger audiences. There are shows that incorporate familiar characters. Many shows are based on fairy tales. You will also find some that are filled with singing and dancing that elicit joy and laughter from the audience.
Drag shows are entertaining and provide experiences like no other. As long as you do your research, like you are right here, you’ll find shows that are family-friendly.
Best All Ages Drag Shows
Before we get into where the best venues are to take your family for a drag show experience, let’s talk about some things you can look for. One thing that’s usually a good indicator for a place with a family-friendly drag show is the time of day they offer their shows. Generally, the later the drag shows the raunchier it gets. So look for those shows that are early in the day.
Next, look at the venue that’s hosting the drag show. Some are held in theaters or full-blown restaurants. Others are performed in bars and nightclubs. This isn’t a full-proof way to find an all-ages drag show but there’s a better chance at finding a family-friendly drag show at theaters and restaurants than at the bars and nightclubs.
You can sometimes tell what kind of show it’s going to be by the theme. While some themes include popular celebrities impersonated on the stage, others are cast with performers named after body parts or sexual acts. That’s a pretty good indicator it’s not a family-friendly show.
Now let’s talk about some of the best spots we found.
Storytime Tea – A Family-Friendly Drag Brunch
This is an event that’s put on by a group supporting the art of drag, The Drag Story Hour. It’s a fundraiser they host at times.
Attendees can expect to see amazing costumes and laugh a lot. Performers lip sync and dance. They tell stories and everything is appropriate for ages from babyhood up to the elderly.
When these events are hosted, it’s important to note that though they are titled as a brunch, your ticket does not include the food and drinks. You must pay separately for those items.
Daytime Realness at El Rio
This is a daytime venue. People come for the shows and those who like to party move somewhere else after dark. We will say there is a bit of an anything goes attitude at the gay parties and shows but the drag shows are generally more tasteful.
Every third Sunday of the month, Daytime Realness at El Rio dedicates its space to drag queens. The fun goes from 2 in the afternoon until sunset.
You can expect to laugh, blush, and enjoy yourself at this popular drag spot.
This event includes a family-friendly drag show and rainbow mandalas. The intent is to offer all ages fun at affordable prices and include everyone in the art of drag and mandalas.
Spectators are immersed into the fun world of drag and can enjoy the fabulous costumes, the wondrous talent, and in an environment appropriate for all ages.
Rupaul’s Drag Race Tour at The Cafe
Rupaul’s Drag Race television show has put a spotlight on this community and given it the acknowledgement it’s due. You can go interact in person with one of the drag queens from the show every Monday during filming.
You’ll be entertained by all the gossip from the show. You’ll also get an incredible lip sync performance live right in front of you from the queen who’s in the house that Monday.
Peaches Christ at the Castro Theatre
This has a fun show that pokes more fun at the drag queens that have been in some popular gay movies. They take what was so cliche and make it even more so.
The costumes are incredible. The cast is amazing. The shows are more than entertaining. Drag queens act out scenes from iconic movies right on the stage with a continuous theme of trying to win the spotlight from the others. Every drag queen wants the attention on them. So pick one to root for and help them get it.
DNA Lounge is well-known for its celebrity impersonators. Drag queens at this venue show up in garb dressed as celebrities that are highly recognizable.
You could catch a glimpse of Dolly Parton, Beyonce, Liza Minelli, Brittney Spears, Nicki Minaj, Angelina Jolie, and many more. Drag queens will fight it out for their time on stage trying to one-up their way toward stardom.
DNA Lounge has shows that cater to all. While some shows are a little more racy and for a crowd that’s 18+, there are plenty that aren’t. You can find the whole calendar of events on their website. Some shows are labeled as “all ages” so they are safe bets for families looking for some drag queen entertainment.
A Quick History of Drag
While modern-day drag queens have evolved over time, dressing in drag is nothing new. It originated in the 18th century.
During the 1700s, actors got in their drag during plays when they were in the roles of women. There were no women in the plays. So the roles of women were played by men wearing their “drags” on stage.
The term “drag” came from the drags worn during the play. The costumes would drag the floor as dresses do thus spawning the phrase “get in your drags” when it was time to play the female role.
Drag queens today are still entertaining and can be quite spunky. But to be a queen takes a lot of work and talent. There is a lot of time put into getting ready for a show.
Rupaul’s Drag Race show has shed light on the art of drag and the amount of time and effort that goes into being a drag queen. There are reports it takes Rupaul six hours to get ready for filming. The details matter and it shows when you have a show that’s blown up over 13 seasons like that one has.
Don’t Do San Francisco without Doing a Drag Show
San Francisco is an epicenter for incredible drag shows. You could spend your whole trip going from one to the next and you wouldn’t hit them all. There are so many to choose from and something for everyone.
Once you start learning about San Francisco, you’ll see that The Castro District is well-known as a highly LGBTQ+ community. While that is true, the whole city is full of fun drag shows and gay bars. You don’t have to stick to that one area. Venture out and you’ll see there’s much more.
Kids and Drag Shows
Obviously, no one can tell you what is right for your children. They’re yours to raise and you can do so how you see fit. But this brings us to mention there are some who question if children should attend drag shows.
Here’s our take. Drag queens, by their very nature, are built to permeate inclusiveness. It’s something many queens have not always experienced in their journeys.
Why not expose children to the world around them in a positive way? Drag shows are funny and energetic. They show people of all backgrounds that we’re meant to shine as we are. As long as you’re not taking kids to the adult-content drag shows, this is a fun family outing that you will all remember for years to come.
Don’t leave San Francisco without checking out a family-friendly drag show good for all ages. The shows we mentioned above are all great but there are many more. Take your time and do the research to find the right fit for your family.
Remember our tips about shows in the day time, shows at family-friendly venues, and checking out show themes. You can also take a look at the cast names for clues and online reviews written by people who have already seen the show.