NORTH BEACH, San Francisco
North Beach is a neighborhood that is beloved by locals and tourist alike.
This is my favorite neighborhood to visit. North Beach is best seen on foot. North beach has so much to offer small boutiques and shops selling clothing and imported items, cafes restaurants, and old world delicatessens line the streets. North Beach has some of the liveliest bars and night clubs in the city. Bimbo's 365 Club on Columbus Ave made famous
by Rita Hayworth. Walk through North Beach in the afternoon or for a night out on the town.
Grant Street, is one of the oldest streets in San Francisco, the Italian-American community is responsible for saving North Beach during the fire that swept through the city after the 1906 quake. North Beach is full of historic landmarks, Washington Square Park, Coit Tower and Pioneer Park, and St Peter and Paul's Church. This church sits in the center of the neighborhood. St Peter/Paul's served as the church for the Italian fishermen in the area years ago. This is the church where baseball great Joe Di Maggio and actress Marilyn Monroe were photographed in front of after they were married.
If you are in San Francisco in North Beach in the late spring/early summer visit the North Beach Festival celebrating Italian Heritage and the Home of the Beatnik Generation the event is held on the weekend. Streets are filled with live music, poetry, dancing, arts & craft booths, and food. Take your camera to photograph Arte di Gesso, street chalk art where some of the most talented artists create masterpieces on the streets of North Beach.
These are just a couple of parrots that live wild here in the city. Most of them are escapees from when they were transported from a south american country to some pet store here. Or they escaped from their owners and have made it out on their own in the wild. They fly around downdown . This picture was taken near the Embarcadero.
They hang out really high up in the trees so it was hard to take a clear picture of them.
If you want to learn more about more of these birds there is a wonderful documentary called 'The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill'
going down the traps of Telegraph Hill (Coit Tower) towards the sea side.
They are hidden, but you can find them! It is really nice when you walk between the wooden houses and little gardens full with flowers!
I'm not sure how off the beaten path this place is but I'm sure it doesn't get the lip-service or traffic that the more recognizable Vesuvio's attracts on the main drag through North Beach. But if you want as much history, check out Cafe Trieste just up the road from Vesuvio's on the corner of Grant and Vallejo.
This was supposedly Kerouac's favorite haunt and served many of San Francisco's most famous bohemians.
For a special treat, visit on a Saturday night when the owners of the cafe collect and sing traditional opera songs out of the corner of teh cafe.
Located at 255 Columbus Ave. in North Beach (across from the City Lights Bookstore) this place is a Mecca for jazz, art, and poetry. Jack Kerouac frequently hang out here... and now they have a drink named after him with tequila, rum, and orange juice.
Traditionally a refuge for the 'beat generation' Vesuvio now attracts a wide spectrum of clientele from artists to white collar workers to strippers to street vendors.
The picture says:
When the shadow of the grasshopper
Falls across the trail of the field mouse
On green and slimey grass as a red sun rises
Above the Western horizon silhouetting
A gaunt and tautly muscled Indian warrior
Perched with bow and arrow cocked and aimed
Straight at you it's time for another martini
Here's an off beat thing to do, go down to Washington Square in San Francisco for some great people watching... The last time that I was down there, about fifty to sixty senior citizens (primarily of Asian decent) were practicing their martial arts exercises in the square.
It was really cool...they weren't all lined up in one big group or in rows like you'd see Richard Simmons line people up. They were in little groups of two or three (or off on their own) and almost looked as though they were in a trance as they went through their paces.
City Lights Bookstore -- Founded in 1953 City Lights is one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where people from around the world come to find the books they need while browsing in alternative culture's unique 'Literary Landmark.' ....City Lights is in the North Beach Area about 2 blocks from Firenze by Night restaurant -- BY BUS: Take the 15 Third or the 45 Union (to Columbus & Broadway),
or take the 30 Stockton (to Stockton & Broadway, then walk two blocks east to Columbus).
BY BART or MUNI: Underground: the closest stop is Montgomery Street station. You can transfer to the 15 Third or the 30 Stockton bus lines (catch them on Kearny St.), or it's an easy walk (head north, approximately ten blocks, no hills).
PARKING: Street parking at meters or on residential neighborhood blocks (2 hour limit, enforced regularly). Public garages located nearby at Portsmouth Square Garage, 733 Kearny St. (between Washington and Clay) and North Beach Garage, 735 Vallejo St. (between Stockton and Powell).
We did a little darhma bums tour which included City Lights Bookstore.
We also went by the house where Jack Kerouac lived.
Columbus and Grant-North Beach
Check out the saying on the sign at Big Al's: 'Blow up sheep-ewe will love them!'