Best known as San Francisco's Little Italy, North Beach’s rich and vibrant history makes it one of the City’s most fascinating neighborhoods.
From its earliest beginnings, when North Point docks served as the gateway for immigrants from penal colonies throughout Europe, South America, and the Australia, to the late 1800s when thousands of Italians chose this neighborhood as their new home, North Beach has held locals and visitors alike in its thrall.
Today, North Beach sidewalks bustle with residents and tourists who appreciate the neighborhood’s historic landmarks, coffee houses, shopping and nightlife venues.
In a Word
In North Beach, everything old is new again. This is evidenced in the neighborhood’s rich Italian, Irish and Asian culture and a long history of café owners, restauranteurs, and shop keepers who know how to provide warm, welcoming experiences to both first-time tourists and neighborhood regulars.
Although North Beach is a hub of day-and-night activity, few areas of the City this close to the Financial District can compare to its family-friendly environment.
There’s a Catholic elementary school connected to Saints Peter and Paul, as well as a public elementary and middle school located in the center of the neighborhood. Galileo High School, which earned a 9 out of 10 “GreatSchools” rating is also close by.
Grocery shopping is a breeze here as well, with Chinatown to the south and Trader Joe’s and Safeway — both fully equipped with parking and access to public transportation — to the north on Bay Street.
In Washington Square, a centerpiece of the neighborhood, you’ll find people practicing Tai Chi, walking dogs, chatting with friends, reading the newspaper, or relaxing while enjoying the visual experience of City living.
North Beach is home to the Beat Generation. Alan Ginsberg’s Howl, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, and William S. Burrough’s Naked Lunch, all of which celebrate creativity and non-conformity, are among some of an entire generation’s most well-known (and beloved) Beat works of fiction.
Why North Beach?
A strong bond joins merchants, home owners, and renters who love their neighborhood’s character and work to keep a balance between old and new.