Named one of the Ten Great Neighborhoods in America, North Beach has a rich and interesting history. Located in the Northeast corner of San Francisco, the neighborhood borders on Fisherman’s Wharf, The Financial District and Russian Hill. Historically, the neighborhood consisted of a large Italian American population, which resulted in a large number of Italian restaurants and cafes, however in the present day, the population has become much more diverse. Because of the long standing Italian restaurants and shops, the area is San Francisco’s answer to “Little Italy”.
The proximity to the Financial District and the lively atmosphere make North Beach one of the most popular neighborhoods to live in. The streets are lined with fun bars, cute shops and great restaurants as well as some historically significant attractions. High above North Beach on Telegraph Hill is Coit Tower. An integral part of the San Francisco Skyline, the 210-foot tower is a monument dedicated to firefighters that died in some of San Francisco’s major fires. Opened to the public in 1933, the tower features murals painted by 27 different artists as well as a large observation deck offering 360 degree views of the city and the bay. Also on top of Telegraph Hill are a large flock of brightly-colored parrots who have decided to call the area their home. An unusual species to inhabit Northern California, the flock has inspired a popular 2003 documentary titled “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”.
Below Telegraph Hill, there are even more historically significant reasons to visit North Beach. It was the epicenter for the rise of the Beat Generation, which was characterized as a “media stereotype” to describe a like-minded group of people who believed in a social movement involving artistic self-expression and the rejection of conventional societal norms Called “beatniks”, a term coined by famous journalist Herb Caen, the group settled in North Beach during the 1950s. You can still see some influences in North Beach from the famous movement and even stop by the Beat Museum on Broadway to learn more.
North Beach has been the home to a long list of famous people including former San Francisco Mayor, Joseph Alioto, however baseball legend, Joe DiMaggio was probably the most well known. Aside from being one of the best baseball players of all time, DiMaggio made International headlines due to his wedding. He married his first wife in North Beach at the Saints Peter and Paul Church and then after getting married to Marilyn Monroe, he returned to the church to take wedding pictures.
North Beach is a popular place for tourism due to the many historic landmarks in the area. Besides Coit Tower and Saint Pater and Paul Church, there are many other things to see. Washington Square Park, located in the center of the neighborhood is a popular place to picnic and enjoy the beautiful San Francisco weather. There are also a number of famous restaurants and cafes such as The Stinking Rose, Cafe Trieste, The Saloon (one of the oldest bars in San Francisco), Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe and the location of Mabuhay Gardens, a famous punk rock club.
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