Other NEIGHBORHOODS, San Francisco
My favorite part of town.
I probably spend more time in North Beach walking, eating, drinking & touristing around than anywhere else.
Here's my favorite hangout for beverages, conversation and people-watching....
Caffe Trieste on Vallejo and Grant, just up the block from Columbus ave.
Fondest memory: Chatting up & watching all the different people that hang out at Trieste, then walking the city until you are too tired & sore to walk it any more (and then you call a cab...).
Click below if you would like to go on a late-nite North Beach crawl with me:
North Beach crawl
Walking around the Castro is a great thing to do on a lazy afternoon. The formerly wild gay community seems now very relaxed with the rainbow flag flying everywhere.
Nice neighbourhood with stores and cafes and bars. I really loved the little corner shops with fresh fruit and veg and other basic groceries, they even decorated the streets outside with their supplies.
When we were planning our trip to California and San Francisco in particular I wanted to do a number of things I had never done on my frequent business trips to SF in the 80's and 90's. Sue had been with me to SF once for a couple of pleasure days before my business portion and at the time we took a Grayline Bus Tour which went through a number of neighborhoods, but only stopped at a few designated spots. We had passed through the Castro District on that bus tour, but only got a glimpse from our bus windows.
Since the first full day of the San Francisco part of the trip was on Halloween I decided we needed to make the evening a fun one. We had thought first about taking a ghost tour, but since we already had tours set up the next day for an architectural tour and Alcatraz I thought it might be more fun to go exploring on our own. I then thought about going to the Castro District to see what type of entertainment we could find. We originally were planning on bringing our own Halloween costumes (We must have at least a dozen different costumes in our attic) but I forgot and Sue decided that was getting a little too crazy.
Fondest memory: Anyway, after having dinner just down the street in the Mission District (another area we had briefly been too on our last trip), we walked up 18th Street to see what we could find. As we got closer to the main intersection of 18th and Castro the noise just kept getting louder. For one the Giants were playing the 4th game of the World Series in Texas and were just about to win going up 3 games to 1 and for the other we started seeing more and more people in costumes. And when we finally arrived in the blocks fanning out in all directions from 18th and Castro we found ourselves in an Adult Halloween Parade.
It was really, well interesting, and that is a far milder term for what it really was. There were throngs of people in and out of costume along with a small army of local SF police officers to make sure things didn't get out of hand (apparently a couple of years ago there was some violence with some gun shots fired). Everybody in costume was literally parading up one street and down another. The more outrageous the costumes the more picture taking was going on. Everybody relished the picture taking opportunities and we joined them as you can see from the pictures posted here and in the travelogue on Halloween. I also took some video which I will have to put together in a montage to share.
All in all a very very interesting Halloween Night!!
The most touristed part of the city resembles a slice of pie,
with Van Ness Ave and Market St making the two sides and
the Embarcadero the round edge of the pie. The steaming
toppings of this homebaked slice are the classy shops
around Union Square, the highrise Financial District, the
Busy Civic Center, the down-and-out but up-and-coming
Tenderloin, swanky Nob Hill and Russian Hill, Chinatown,
North Beach and the epicenter of tourist kitsch,
Fisherman's Wharf. To the south of Market Street lies
SoMa, an upwardly mobile warehouse zone of clubs and
bars that fades in the southwest into the Mission - the
city's Latino quarter, and then the Castro, the center
of gay life.
Haight Ashbury ("The Haight" or Upper Haight)
First of all, you will bombarded with other tourists, street urchins (middle class kids who left home to live on the street and wear the rebel jacket during the day), and old hippies who never left the 60's. It's a splash of flower paraphanalia, specialty shops and modern clothing stores. There are many bars, restaurants and transportation is easily accessible. Haight Ashbury is even close to Golden Gate Park. Take a couple of hours and stroll through this mish mash of past and present.
Zam Zam --Persian-themed hole in the wall with mural, full bar, red interior, good music on the juke box.
Hobson's --younger crowd, great sangria and lively, bright open space with couches and a juke box.
All You Knead --anything you are craving is probably on the menu...good old American food
Blue Front Cafe --Middle Eastern; the best hummus, with pita bread, olives and olive oil drizzled on top! yum!!
Pork Store Cafe --three words: corned beef hash (traditional American diner food)
Bia's --wonderful cheese platter, seared polenta cakes and a good wine selection.
Bang-On T-shirts --have anything you want permanently printed onto your solid tee!.....anything.
Amoeba --best music store EVER! rare finds
Ambiance --a chain store filled with dainty and stylish womens' clothing...feels like it's locally owned. great sale rack!
Known for being eclectic the Castro areas is quaint and perhaps part of the soul of the community. Head to about 18th and Castro Street or take the Muni Metro down Market.
The Castro Theater wasbuilt in 1922.
The Names Project houses the AIDS memorial quilt and is at at 584 Castro Street.
If youy have time you might take the bus to Japan Town to get yet another view of the city.
Nihonmachi Mall was designed to imitate a traditional Japanese village.
Iread that there are 12,000 residents who are of Japanese descent.
Go out Geary to Laguna
I am very distantly related to the Huntington from whom the Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill is named. But so what.... Just enjoy the view. Visit Grace Cathedral! On Sunday AM there usually are artists who exhibit in the Cathedral area and courtyard!!
Fondest memory: Taking the Cable Car up Nob Hill - a great ride.
SoMa (short for South of Market) comprises a huge section of downtown San Francisco bordered by Market, Embarcadero, Townsend, and 11th. This area is a unique mix of modern and run down, nightclubs and homeless men in abundance. Though SoMa is not overly touristy, it does have its draws such as Yerba Buena Gardens, the Museum of Modern Art, AT&T Park, the Metreon, and the new San Francisco Shopping Center. There are a variety of restaurants and nightlife in the area, but they seem to be pretty spread out, occasionally just a single popular club on a deserted street.
After watching a Giants/Pirates game at AT&T Park, we decided to check out the nightlife in SoMa, so we wandered toward Union Square stopping at a popular Mexican restaurant called Tres Agave then a smaller bar called Voda. Our hotel was also in SoMa, just a half block off Market Street, and it was called the Mosser.
This is my specialty because it's where I lived. The Lower Haight is at the intersection of Haight and Fillmore, just two blocks North of Market Street. You will find authentic restaurants of many ethnicities, recycled clothing stores, organic markets, bars and convenience stores. What more could you ask for?
Thep Phanom - authentic Thai
Rotee --fresh Indian dishes
Rosamunde -many different types of sausages
Volare and Mythic pizza --hot, crusty pizza by the slice
Squat and Gobble --breakfast! coffee, poached eggs, fresh squeezed o.j.
Toronado - about 500+ beers to choose from (no liquor)
-right next door to Rosamunde
Mad Dog in the Fog --pool, sports on large flatscreen, trivia night, beer only
Upper Playground --street wear; graffiti/graphic tees, hats, hoodies and other misc. items....dope.
Whole Foods Co. --organic produce, hard to find items, and kosher goods (expensive)
Nob Hill is an exclusive neighborhood at the top of the hill near the intersection of the Powell and California cable car lines. It sits at the heart of the city, surrounded by Union Square, North Beach, the Tenderloin, Chinatown, Telegraph Hill, and Russian Hill. At the top of Nob Hill you'll find Grace Cathedral, the exclusive Pacific-Union Club, and fancy hotel such as the Fairmont, the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, the Stanford Court, and the Huntington Hotel.
This neighborhood has always had a reputation as home to the rich and famous of San Francisco.
The Mission is a great neighborhood, though probably not for everyone. With it's heavy Latin influence, there are many restaurants that are worth visiting. And not just holes in the wall. Foreign Cinema (world reknowned) is right in the midst of the Mission as are several other great eats. I have also found some interesting shopping finds here, like an all Greek store. Things like that help to make the Mission greater than people might expect after just taking a glance on the surface.
Fondest memory: burritos at El Farolito
Favorite thing: I describe Clement Street as a suburban Chinatown. There is a much larger mix of stores and restaurants here than Chinatown though. It is fairly crowded and busy, but not as much as Chinatown. There are quite a few places not to miss here.
North Beach along with being the city's premiere entertainment neighborhood, has another feather in it's hat. It is also where most of the city's Strip Clubs (Gentlemans Clubs) are located. Just walk down Broadway and you can't miss them. They're all here Roaring 20's, Lusty Lady: America's first worker-owned peep show, Deja Vu's Showgirls: The place to watch incredible pole dancers, Larry Flynt's Hustler Club: Classy and comfortable club with beautiful women of more diverse ages body sizes, from the famous Larry Flynt.
Fondest memory: Getting Plastered in NB.
Favorite thing: There's always something to do in North Beach, and much of the activity involves eating. The area is jam packed with cafes, restaurants, and bakeries, each one more appealing than the next. Years ago there really was a beach in North Beach. At the time of the Gold Rush the bay extended into the hollow between Russian and Telegraph Hills, though today landfill has pushed the waterfront farther north. The name North Beach stayed behind and came to denote a one-square-mile area settled by Italians who came to San Francisco after the gold rush and went into the fishing and produce business. Today North Beach is one of the city's most cosmopolitan neighborhoods. Its traditional Italian heritage shows on the picture.