North Beach – San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy’
The small little neighbor of San Francisco is the North Beach, most popularly recognized as San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy’, for historically having nested a large Italian American population. Even today, numerous Italian restaurants and cultures can be observed in this San Franciscan neighborhood.
For its amazing red life and nightlife fused by young urban families and the Chinese immigrants, the American Planning Association posed North Beach as one of the top ten ‘Great Neighborhoods in America’.
This petite companion of San Francisco is bounded by the Jackson Square (formerly the Barbary Coast), Chinatown, Russian hill, Telegraph hill, Financial District and the Fisherman’s Wharf.
So if you are visiting the Chinatown and the Fisherman’s Wharf, and desire to explore much more of California, North Beach is just a few miles away.
Major chunk of today’s North Beach was actually a beach, filled with landfill till around the late 19th century. Initially, its northeastern coastline extended only up till the Taylor and Francisco streets we see today. The newly formed shoreline was then adorned with the fishing wharves, docks and warehouses.
While the 1950s marked the bounce of cafes and bars, giving rise to the San Franciscan Renaissance, the 1980s earmarked the shrink in its Italian American population, which in turn welcomed young urban professional and Chinese immigrants.
Though the Italian crowd might have seemed to condense, much flavor of the Italian remnants can be still enjoyed at the North Beach. Numerous Italian cafes, bakeries and restaurants are worth trying. If you haven’t visited Italy, this is the best location to sense its essence; if you have visited Italy earlier, find yourselves indulging once again into its exquisite beauty!
The Transamerica Pyramid is one must-visit, very visible from the Columbus Avenue. The national shrine of Francis of Assis is located in the small chapel of the Vallejo Street. Other landmarks of the Italian masterpieces can also be observed at the Sts. Peter and Paul Church.
North Beach has always been renowned for its bars, strip clubs, night clubs, jazz clubs and much more. The Broadway east of Columbus Avenue still stands as the city’s potent nightclub and red-light area.
Father’s Day can be celebrated with great pomp and show if you are in North Beach, for its street fairs on the Grant Avenue on that day are the eye-catching attractions. The Columbus Day is yet another major celebration day with day-long parades from the Columbus Avenue to the Aquatic Park.
Art lovers can amuse themselves at the San Franciscan Art Institute, positioned at the northern end of the town as well as the Academy of Art University.
One can relish the Italian, American, and the local cuisines at the varied restaurants, bars, cafes and bakeries, all set to render a great taste to their visitors.
Restaurants such as Vicolleto, Enrico’s Sidewalk Café, E’ Tutto Qua, North Beach Pizza, Fior D’Italia, O’Reilly’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, and many more offer their splendid expertise in their culinary skills. Cafes and bars such as Caffe Greco, Stella Pasticceria e Caffe, Curly’s Coffee Shop, etc are worth visiting.
The ‘Little Italy proudly presents its Italian and Indo-American flavor in your stay at the North Beach, one of the little neighborhoods of San Francisco.