North Beach

Classic old school San Francisco

North Beach is a buzzy neighborhood in the northeast of San Francisco adjacent to Chinatown, the Financial District, and Russian Hill. Steeped in Italian heritage, San Francisco’s “Little Italy” has historically been home to a large Italian American population. It still has many Italian restaurants, though many other ethnic groups currently live in the neighborhood. It was also the historic center of the beatnik subculture and has become one of San Francisco’s main nightlife districts as well as a residential neighborhood populated by a mix of young urban professionals, families, and Chinese immigrants.

Originally, the city’s northeast shoreline extended only to what is today Taylor and Francisco streets. The area is largely known today as North Beach was an actual beach, filled in with landfill around the late 19th century. Warehouses, fishing wharves, and docks were then built on the newly formed shoreline. Due to the proximity of the docks, the southern half of the neighborhood south of Broadway was home of the infamous Barbary Coast.

Today, in North Beach you will find an amazing quality, quantity, and density of good cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants along with ethnic culture galore. It’s a very walkable neighborhood that’s quite compact and close to other interesting neighborhoods as well.

North Beach has visually entertaining storefronts and architecture, several with historical significance. Its busy sidewalks and quiet views of fabulous SF Bay, in addition to big flat parks and steep hills, add the neighborhood beauty.

The weather is excellent, generally year round, as it is one of the most temperate parts of San Francisco.

Notable events:

  • The North Beach Festival street fair on Grant Avenue and Columbus Avenue usually held on Father’s Day weekend in June is one of the city’s largest. It is also considered one of the nation’s oldest street fairs.
  • The neighborhood also hosts a large Columbus Day/Italian American heritage day parade along Columbus Avenue to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

Take it from the experts: