North Beach – “Little Italy”
San Francisco Sightseeing Attraction
San Francisco’s North Beach area, in the north-eastern part of the city, is a bustling part of San Francisco with vibrant flavor and a lively, fun atmosphere. Known primarily for its Italian roots and its Mediterranean climate, North Beach is a beautiful vibrant part of the city that is central to San Francisco’s life and economy.
Sheltered from ocean breezes by Russian Hill, North Beach is often sunny on days when the rest of San Francisco is shrouded in fog. North Beach is a hub of restaurants, boutiques, and sightseeing. From Coit Tower to the Cable Cars, to St. Peter and Paul’s Church, to Washington Square Park, North Beach is filled with things to see on a walk before dinner or after lunch. Nearly all of North Beach’s restaurants are high quality and reasonably priced. North Beach is also known for its sidewalk cafes that keep the sidewalks buzzing, and for its authentic Italian restaurants that have been in business for generations. The cuisine in North Beach is impeccable, no restaurant or cafe will disappoint. It could be said that North Beach is a huge contributor to San Francisco’s European feel, with its relaxed, chic ambience.
Another aspect of North Beach’s fame is its concentration of topless bars and adult stores. For the adult visitors who are looking for a wilder time, Lower Broadway at the farther end of North Beach is home to a number of adult entertainment venues. These venues range in quality from cheap to high quality. A direct descendent from North Beach’s Barbary Coast days, the striptease bars in North Beach attract a large and diverse clientele. The Condor Club was opened in 1964 as America’s first topless bar; The Lusty Lady is the world’s only worker cooperative nightclub. A number of venues were also instrumental in the San Francisco punk scene of the 70s and 80s. Clubs like the Mabuhay Gardens, the Stone, and On Broadway made the San Francisco music scene the innovative power-house that it is.
North Beach is a diverse area. Though it maintains its Italian heritage, it is home to Asians, Mid-Easterners, Russians, and a dozen more races. And everyday thousands of people stream through North Beach, reveling in the relaxation and joie de vivre they find there. Every year there are several arts and crafts festivals in Washington Square Park, exhibiting the pieces of local artists. Music Festivals also abound in North Beach, an area known for its support of the music and arts community. Jazz and punk alike have been genres cradled in North Beach’s nurturing artistic arms.
St. Peter and Paul’s Church, across from Washington Square Park, is a popular site for movies and photography. One of the most famous photos taken on the steps of the Church is that of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe after their civil wedding. Joe DiMaggio was a North Beach local, as was Francis Ford Coppola, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Kaufman and Jack Kerouac, to name a few. North Beach was a hugely important place for the Beatniks, a group of poets and artists who believed in freedom and intellectualism. Cafes and bookstores, like the City Lights Book Store, were the center of the movement, providing a gathering place and a podium for the Beatniks to voice their poetry, music, and philosophy.
Without North Beach, San Francisco would be a completely different city. Sprawled out between the Financial District, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach’s locale is prime, and not just in terms of weather. Central to San Francisco’s leisure industry, and an easily accessible tourist attraction, North Beach pulls in a massive chunk of San Francisco’s tourist industry. People can’t help but be pulled by the chic, exciting aura that North Beach exudes. Anyone who visits North Beach, be it for a couple hours or a whole day, will have a great time. It’s a legendary excursion for anyone who visits the city, with something fun to offer everyone.