North Beach is one of San Francisco’s oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods. It is nestled between Russian and Telegraph hills, directly north of Chinatown, largely centered on Columbus Avenue and Broadway. It is home to the city’s Italian community, and is filled with Italian restaurants and cafés. It also has its associations with the Beat Generation, and offers a distinctly Bohemian flavor.
Exploring North Beach
In North Beach, besides some of the best Italian food in the country and scores of jazz clubs and bars, two places of supreme interest are Vesuvio Café and the adjacent City Lights Bookstore, both located on Columbus Avenue and important as locales of Beat happenings during the 1950s. Here, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and others from the Beat Generation once held court, drinking coffee and beer, reading poetry. City Lights was in fact founded by beat-era poet Lawrence Ferlenghetti. Also on Columbus Avenue are the Molinari Delicatessen, claimed to be the oldest deli in the West, and Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store and Café, a popular hangout for locals.
Among other points of interest in North Beach, try to visit the twin-spired Peter and Paul Church on the north side of Washington Square, dating from 1924 and notable as the city’s “Italian Cathedral”; North Beach Museum, located on Stockton Street and housing a rich collection of old photographs and artifacts documenting the history of 19th- and 20th-century North Beach; and, for a breather, the open, grassy Washington Square Park, dotted with trees, park benches and sculptures, situated at the foot of Telegraph Hill.
Speaking of Telegraph Hill, the 274-foot hill overlooking San Francisco Bay is one of the city’s prominent landmarks, with superb, all-round views of the city, bay, the Golden Gate and Bay bridges, Angel Island, Marin County, Russian and Nob hills, Treasure Island and East Bay. The principal attraction here is of course Coit Tower (prominent on the city’s skyline), located on the summit of the hill. The 212-foot concrete column with a fluted shaft and rectangular base houses in its lobby large fresco murals painted by 26 artists as part of a Public Works project during the Great Depression. The murals depict working-class Californians in everyday life during the stark era of the late 1920s and early 1930s. The tower dates from 1934.
Also of interest here are the Filbert Steps and Greenwich Steps, which descend steeply along the east slope of the hill to eventually lead past 1860s wooden cottages.
Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More
Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More
Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More
Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More
Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More
St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More
Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More
St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More
Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More