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North Beach is the Little Italy of the West Coast with a bustling atmosphere from mid-afternoon until late into the night. The mornings are a great time to stop into a café for a strong coffee that will make you wonder how Starbucks got so popular in the first place and don’t be surprised if the language you hear at the next table is Italian. It’s as likely to be that as English in this part of town. Stop by for a cannoli in the afternoon and you can people watch or stroll the shops, whatever your preference. But it’s the nights when the area comes into full swing, with busy bars and jammed packed restaurants serving up Italian fare family style just like mama used to make. Osso buco, mortadella, bada bing bada bang. I’m from Jersey and I was even impressed.
- Food and Dining
A North Beach day
Here is a look down my favorite Columbus Ave towards the Financial district,
and here also is the obligatory Café Niebaum-Coppola / Pyramid shot I took (completely unoriginal, but I couldn't help it).
Saturday 2/1/05 ... I brushed out a few of the unsightly cables.
What you say we get loose and go for a nightime North Beach crawl?
- Arts and Culture
North Beach: Real Charm
Of all the neighborhoods in San Francisco, North Beach was my favorite. It was a beautiful co-mingling of a cool, hipster scene with old world, Italian American charm. North Beach was the center of the beat movement and there still stands today the City Lights Bookstore, which served as a hang out for beat poets such as Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti. Check it out at 261 Columbus Avenue, buy a book, and then head to one of the many Italian coffee shops that dot Columbus street, and spend some time reading. North Beach has lots to offer and is a really fun place to spend the afternoon.
San Francisco's LIttle Italy (AKA North Beach) offers a lot for the senses. There is the wonderful aroma from the various Italian restaurants, the wonderful people-watching visuals, as well as the loud noises coming from the strippers attempting to lure people to come into the several "Live Girls" shows/strip joints. There are great bars and lounges in the area as well. Some of the good restaurants I have been to include: Mona Lisa's, Macaroni's, Tiramisu (great cappucino and of course-- tiramisu), etc.
North Beach is known today as the Italian neighbourhood although many immigrant settlers of different ethnic background called this place home before the Italians. North Beach is one of the touristy parts of San Francisco that I visit often, the reason being the joyfull atmosphere and the fact that you can dine outside in numerous places. It's a nice place to stroll and a good place to eat. At one point in time North Beach used to be the bohemian neighbourhood of San Francisco, home for the San Francisco's Beat counterculture so a walking tour of the neighbourhood must include the Vesuvio Caffe, the City Lights Bookstore, the Tosca and Trieste Caffes, all places of gatherings for the "beatniks" like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Another highlight of this area is the Washington Square Park lined on one side by the Saints Peter and Paul Church, a beautiful Gothic Revival church. And finally, no tour of San Francisco will be complete without seeing the Coit Tower, which sits on top of Telegraph Hill.
At night this place becomes even more vibrant, with numerous bars, saloons and lots of jazz clubs. Really nice. And I almost forgot about Broadway Street, also part of North Beach. It's the "adult entertainment" zone.
- Historical Travel
North Beach was probably my favorite neighborhood to visit in San Francisco. It had all sorts of interesting shops and wonderful restaraunts - not to mention lots of really cool murals painting on many of the buildings, (see my travelogue for more details).
Piece of Italy
North Beach is the Little Italy district in San Francisco. The area is a Californian version of Italy, so don't expect such authentic feeling as in Chinatown. North Beach is still nice area to stroll around, as there are a lot of good cafés (even in European standards) and restaurants.
The restaurants are spread on Columbus street, starting near Chinatown. There is also a smallish park and a church.
Just a few steps outside off Chinatown lies another colorful SF neighbourgood - North Beach. Large Italian community have been contributed to predominantly Italian image of the North Beach. Therefore, the area is also known as Little Italy of the West. Lot of restaurants, traditional cafes and homemade delicatessnes. At the heart of North Beach is Washington Square where the Church of Saints Peter and Paul is located.
San Francisco's Little Italy and .....
Home of the Beat Generation
North Beach is one of my favorite parts of San Francisco. Maybe that is because I am such a fan of all things Italian. But if there is one part of San Francisco that can be said to define what the City is to me this is it. Historically it is an incredibly rich area from Barbary Coast Days to the days when Chinatown (which butts up against North Beach) had opium dens and other unspeakables, to the more recent 60's when the Beats (who still frequent places like Cafe Trieste) and Carol Doda rubbed shoulders (???)... ok maybe some other body parts as well!
Today you can take guided walks or self guided. Great maps to be found at:
North Beach is a wonderful San Francisco neighborhood. It's mostly known as an Italian enclave, but it also houses many of the other ethnic groups that give San Francisco it's distintcive flavor.
When in SF, I love to walk up and down Columbus Avenue. It's got so many restaurants, coffee houses, etc. Columbus Avenue also bisects the city-it's a great way to get from "here to there".
My pic was taken in the heart of North Beach. Sts Peter and Paul Church is in the foreground. Note Coit Tower in the background.
When in SF, spend some time in North Beach-you'll love it
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
City Lights Bookstore
This is where I used to go to pick up the latest progressive books, poetry, and magazines. Upstairs is a poetry reading room- grab something to read, sit and enjoy! It gets crowded during peak hours. I believe it was started as a place for Beat poets to publish works banned by the House Unamerican Activities Committee. It is quite historical and you can buy a souvenir Tee if the mood strikes.
- Arts and Culture
Famous North Beach
Famous for being a favorite hangout of the Beatnik generation,
Famous for the legendary City Lights Bookstore still owned by beatnik Ferlingetti,
Famous for its Italian restaurants and cafes
You can't miss North Beach while you are in San Francisco
- Arts and Culture
SF's Little Italy -- "North Beach"
North Beach was at one time a beach, long ago before landfill extended the city. Now it is an Italian neighborhood with tree-lined streets, wonderful Italian restaurants, beautiful Washington Park with the spectacular Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral.
N. Beach is home to the City Lights Book Store where the Beatnik Movement started. This area borders Chinatown & is definitely a must see & enjoy neighborhood. Probably best to fit it into your schedule in the afternoon & evening so that you can have dinner there & enjoy the crowds of people out for a night of fun .
Suddenly you leave China to get into a mix of French and Italian buildings and restaurants.
It seems that is more lively at night, but here we enjoyed a great cappuccino and sandwiches.... with something that made me nostalgic, water with Lemon and ice... a classic at home...
The Italian section of San Francisco, North Beach is another vibrant community that often comes alive with street festivals and special celebrations. Filled with restaurants, churches and bookstores, North Beach is the perfect place to have an Italian meal and sit and watch the crowds go by.
This area of town was very popular with Beatniks in the 1950s and writers like Kerouac and Ginsberg were regulars in the neighborhood. City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Ave. is a particularly famous "beat generation" destination and definitely worth seeing while you're in the area.
You can often hear live music in the park at Washington Square. On a nice day, this is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the scenery. Also, don't miss the dramatic, gothic Saints Peter and Paul Church, which towers over the north end of Washington Square.
For more information about the area, check out the North Beach Museum. Admission is free and you can stroll through exhibits that tell the story of this neighborhood's culture and history. It's located on Stockton St.
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- Arts and Culture
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