7.9 out of 10

North Beach

Ranked 23rd best neighborhood in San Francisco
37.8021734395115 -122.41110808776
Great for
  • Eating Out
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Nightlife
  • Pest Free
  • Public Transport
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Cost of Living
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

5/5
2yrs+

"Classic, Old-School San Francisco"

One of San Francisco’s most classic neighborhoods, North Beach offers vibrant nightlife and dining, proximity to downtown, and a rich cultural history.

Also called Little Italy, North Beach was once an Italian-American neighborhood home to baseball great Joe DiMaggio and former San Francisco mayor Joseph L. Alioto. In the 1950s the neighborhood became a hangout of Beat Generation writers like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

In 1953 Ferlinghetti founded City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, which still offers a wonderful selection of books at Broadway and Columbus Avenue. Numerous striptease establishments and other nightclubs line Broadway including the famous Condor Club, which opened in 1964.

Beach Blanket Babylon, billing itself as America’s longest-running musical revue, continues to attract crowds of tourists and locals alike.

Coit Tower in Pioneer Park is one of San Francisco’s most beloved landmarks, and a flock of green parrots have long made Telegraph Hill their home.

North Beach boasts numerous restaurants and cafes. Some favorites include former beatnik hangout Caffe Trieste, the 75-year-old Original Joe’s, Park Tavern with its delicious smoked deviled eggs and Marlowe burger, and Liguria Bakery, a classic establishment that remains open each day until it runs out of focaccia.

A line regularly snakes down the street for brunch at Mama’s on Washington Square. A lot of the Italian places on Columbus cater to tourists, but you can easily track down more "authentic" places on the side streets. (See Sodini's near the corner of Grant and Green.)

Many North Beach homes for sale date back to the 1910s and 1920s. In addition to a large number of apartments, the neighborhood offers a range of condominiums, two- and four-unit buildings, and some single-family homes.

In February 2013 the median price for a North Beach condominium jumped 49 percent to $895,000, up from $599,500 a year earlier, according to MLS data.
Pros
  • great for walking
  • great night spots
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • Lots of tourists
  • noisy 24/7
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Tourist trap with some hidden spots"

I feel sad to say anything bad about North Beach, because it has such a rich history, but this area is turning into San Francisco's version of Little Italy. This is a tourist mecca. There are a lot of gelato shops, coffee places offering espresso, and Italian eateries. Most of it doesn't feel genuine.

However, I do think there are still some very good gems that have escaped the tourists. There are some small Italian food shops that remain authentic and some restaurants still trying to showcase genuine food that isn't too Americanized. If you walk along the side streets off of Columbus, you can spot these places. I hope they last among the busy tourist destinations.

Recently, there was a North Beach Festival and it was full of drunken frat-boy types, which led me to believe that the population of this area is slowly changing. I spoke to one resident about the festival and he wasn't too proud that it even existed, because it didn't represent the authentic Italian history of North Beach.
Pros
  • good lunch break street
  • great for walking
Cons
  • Lots of tourists
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Beautiful and lively"

A lot of people think that North Beach is a tourist trap, but I find this neighborhood to be lovely all the same. Yeah, its proximity to the wharf and the little Italky reputation do nothing to ward off visitors. But, North Beach is lovely and quaint and has a lot of great finds. It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city -- Grant street is actually the oldest street in San Francisco. And, it does have a large Italian contingency. There are a lot of old school looking Italian restaurants and caffes, and yeah, a lot of them are garbage. But, there are some great places if you know where to look. I love Washington Square park and the Cathedral that abuts it. It is a gorgeous gothic cathedral that sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the park greenery. There is a ton of history to North Park, and being a history nerd, I love it. North Park was home to the beat movement and writers like Kerouac and Ginsberg lived and worked in this neighborhood. They used to hang out at Caffee Trieste and there are tons of pictures of them there as well as some pretty decent coffee. There's an entire beat museum up the street if you can't get enough of a fix at Trieste. As far as Italian restaurants go in the neighborhood ( you can't come here and not eat Italian, right?) I would say either Albona or Fior d'Italia. Fior is the oldest Italian restaurant in the US. It first opened in the 1800's and the food is actually quite good. And, speaking of the oldest, the Saloon is the oldest bar in the city (on the oldest street) and it is a trip. It was built in the 1880's and it is tiny and divey and the clientele is very diverse to say the least. I love this bar but if old and ugly isn't your speed then I would say head to Fuse (if you have no taste) or Kennedy's (if you do).
North Beach is gorgeous and there really is something for everyone here. There's even an old school video store that has hard to find films categorized in hilarious ways. I love the energy and the history of this neighborhood. And, the architecture is lovely too. The legend is that the homes were saved during 1906 earthquake and fire by the Italians pulling the wine casks out of their restaurants and dousing their homes with it which I think is hilarious. Shopping isn't ideal here, and yeah, it can be a bit loud and crowded but I still really esteem North Beach.
Pros
  • good lunch break street
  • great for walking
  • great night spots
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • Lots of tourists
  • noisy 24/7
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
2yrs+

"Lively neighborhood for 20 somethings"

North Beach is one of the biggest tourist destinations in San Francisco. Called “Little Italy,” the neighborhood hosts a plethora of Italian restaurants, pizza shops and old-time delicatessens.

The neighborhood is home to a variety of popular destinations among tourists and locals. Washington Square park, 1x1 block with a backdrop of St. Peter’s and Paul Church, is where locals spend time playing picnic games and walking their dog. Coit Tower is another tourist hotspot offering a view of the Bay Bridge, The Golden Gate Bridge, North Beach, much of the East Bay and the beautiful skyline. Every June, the district hosts North Beach festival. The event offers an array of ethnic foods, where local artists and merchants can sell their goods. Broadway Street is one of the more seedier areas, lined with sleazy strip clubs and sex shops. Two comedy clubs, the Purple Onion and Cobb’s Comedy Club are big time venues where popular acts come from all of the country.

The nightlife scene is filled with 20 somethings walking up and down Green Street. Popular destinations like Grant and Green and Mojitos offer a sports bar theme with live music on weekends. Public transportation is plentiful and convenient. Three major bus lines (15, 30, 8x) runs north to south while 41 and 45 run east to west.
Pros
  • good lunch break street
  • great for walking
  • great night spots
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • Lots of tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Great For the Just out of College Set?"

So this is my first blog on this site. I like to write things down when I’m thinking things through so I thought this might be kind of a cool way of getting my thoughts down. I’m single again after what feels like a long, long, long time… Let’s just say it was the Bush administration the last time I was on a first date. (Baby Bush, not Papa Bush.)
But I digress. I’m crashing on the coach of some buddies I’ve known since college, and I have been thinking about where to move in the city.
I had a chance to move to North Beach way back when, and I sort of missed my big opportunity. Some of college buddies (one of the ones I’m crashing with) got a place right off Bay Street. This little expensive apartment with thin walls where you could hear what everybody was saying and doing. I had come to visit them a bunch of times, but things were just getting going with my then girlfriend, future wife, so I didn’t go along.
Anyway, to make a long story short, there is a part of me that would love to go back to may younger days and live here--but I just don't think I am there anymore.
Pros
  • Good Date Spot
  • good lunch break street
  • great night spots
Cons
  • noisy 24/7
  • a touch of a crime problem
  • Lots of tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
4/5
2yrs+

"Yum!"

This classic San Francisco neighborhood, while not necessarily a "true" Little Italy, like the North End of Boston, offers some fantastic Italian restaurants all around. The Stinking Rose is a San Francisco garlic-tastic classic, but the other places should not be overlooked either, whether you are looking for a cannoli or a five-course meal. It lacks a bit of Italian culture beyond the restaurants, and much of the decor feels more antique shop than Italian streetside, but the food here is terrific.

Bars and nightlife are a bit hit-or-miss - while you will certainly not be lacking in things to do, the nightlife turns a bit "Jersey Shore" club feel on weekends, especially on Saturday nights. However, the area is also full of Irish pubs and fun, friendly dives that are not hard to find. Of course, beer snobs will enjoy the selection of west coast brews that many restaurants have on tap, and in bottles.

The late-night crowds are almost as annoying as the daytime tourists, but the food is good enough here that locals blend in well with out-of-towners, and you will rarely experience "sidewalk rage."
Pros
  • good lunch break street
  • great for walking
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • great night spots
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • Hit-or-miss nightlife
  • Lots of tourists
  • not for the uptight
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A neighborhood surrounded by tourist attractions"

North Beach lies in the center of many tourist attractions. Although this neighborhood itself isn’t a tourist attraction, North Beach, I would say, is a great place to live in. There is always a sense of liveliness in this neighborhood because of the fact that many tourists go through this neighborhood everyday for the nearby attractions. Nearby is winding streets of Lombard Street. Many people clump there to take pictures and watch as cars “amazingly” make their way to the bottom of the intense hill. On the other side of North Beach is the Coit Tower, although it may not be as big of an attraction as the streets of Lombard, it’s still quite a sight to see, this tall towering structure, hovering above San Francisco. North Beach is also very close to the pier, specifically Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. There you’ll find exciting things to do, many of which are what tourists would do when visiting San Francisco. Some things you can look forward to doing or visiting, is the Aquarium of the Bay and the various small shops at Pier 39. There are many hotels in the area as well, which also adds to the reason why the area around North Beach is such a big tourist attraction.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"North Beach: Best Place to Live"

The North Beach neighborhood in San Francisco is one of the most down-to-earth convenient places to live. The people are extremely friendly and always give you a warm welcome when you stroll down Columbus Ave. From quaint boutique shopping on Grant St., to the oldest bar in the city (Vesuvio), it is a place that you want to visit again and again--if only there were parking. There are plenty of parking lots in North Beach (8), but street parking is a bear.

If you are a health buff, then you might try your hand at Bikram yoga -- the original Bikram yoga studio started by Bikram Choudhury (910 Columbus Ave) or at Blue Sparrow Pilates (1441 Grant Ave). If that's too crunchy for you there is always 24 Hour Fitness or the Bay Club.

Washington Square Park is another favorite place to hang out when the weather is nice and sunny. In the early morning and on the weekends you can find the Asian community doing their calisthenics. On the weekends local Bay Area artists showcase their work. Plus every June right before Father's Day there is the North Beach festival which fills the park with music, food, and libations for those who want to soak up the sun and party all afternoon.

The best thing about North Beach is its location to everything else. It's not only close to restaurants and boutique shopping but it's close to landmarks such as Coit Tower and the Trans America building. To top it off, you are within walking distance from Chinatown, the Financial District, Russian HIll, the Marina District and Fisherman's Wharf. What more can you ask for?
Pros
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • great restaurants
  • nice architecture
  • FABULOUS!!!
  • good lunch break street
  • great for walking
  • great night spots
Cons
  • not for the uptight
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Slower and Less Loud, The Beat Goes On"

The lights never used to go out in North Beach. This small, densely populated, Italian enclave had been, for a number of decades in the last century, the San Francisco equivalent of both Little Italy and Times Square, with restaurants and coffeehouses and nightclubs going till the wee hours, and the notorious “red light” strip along Broadway humming after hours as well. It was bustling not only with tourists who came here to drink and be merry but also the city’s movers and shakers, who made the bars and restaurants their unofficial places of business. To this day, it has a strong air of tradition and adventure and romantic promise.

It began when there still was a “beach” in North Beach—roughly where Bay Street is today, at the neighborhood’s northern end. There, in the late 19th century, Italian fishermen began docking their boats and plying the nearby waters, supplying San Francisco with the bulk of its fresh fish. (Cioppino, a tomato-and-wine-based stew with chunks of crab, other shellfish and local sole or the catch of the day, was invented in San Francisco as a result of these resourceful fishermen seeking to recreate the cooking of Genoa, their old home.) Gradually, more immigrants from Italy followed, turning the valley between Russian and Telegraph Hills into an Italian colony of sorts, with stores and restaurants and small hotels replete with all the colorful and notorious activity and people such a self-contained community engenders. It was then known as San Francisco’s Latin Quarter, but as more Italians came to settle here, it became less “Latin” (that is, less Spanish and Portuguese and French) and more truly characteristic of its majority Italians.

After the quake and fire of 1906 devastated the neighborhood, Italian merchants, tradesmen, laborers, and bankers (especially Amadeo Giannini, whose Bank of Italy ultimately became today’s well-known Bank of America) rebuilt it along with much of San Francisco. In what was a heyday for the area, they formed clubs and self-help organizations. By the 1920s, thousands of Italian immigrants and/or their descendants lived and thrived in North Beach, a fulcrum of their activity the Italian Athletic Club (whose headquarters, built in 1936, still stands at 1630 Stockton Street). Washington Square Park and its expanse of grass and trees was home to their numerous festivities, and an impressive new Saints Peter and Paul Church, its twin spires reaching 191 feet into the air, was its spiritual centerpiece, built in 1924. By the 1930s, San Francisco had an Italian in charge of municipal government, Mayor Angelo Joseph Rossi, who brought North Beach into the mainstream and led the city through tumultuous years of labor unrest and suspicion of Japanese, German, and Italian immigrants as World War II loomed.

But by the end of World War II, North Beach had begun to change. Many of its wealthier Italian denizens had moved to other neighborhoods or the suburbs, and the bars and nightclubs had begun attracting many non-locals, including gay men and lesbians who could enjoy a certain safety and freedom from derision at places like the Black Cat (on Montgomery Street) or Mona’s 440 (on Broadway). Finocchio’s, a drag palace on Broadway that had opened in the 1930s, took the area’s gender-bending to a glitzy level. Such post-war liberty in a time of straitlaced moral standards attracted nonconformist writers, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs, who found this particular patch of San Francisco fertile ground for their Beat movement in the 1950s and early ’60s, with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and proprietor of the still-standing City Lights Bookstore on Columbus Avenue, serving as a good-natured host to the art and inspired debauchery of these primordial “beatniks” as well as publisher of Ginsberg’s seminal work, “Howl.”

With the counterculture movement of the late 1960s and early ’70s, more artists, writers, and intellectuals were attracted to the area, living generally peacefully alongside the aging Italian population. But development edged northward in the early 1970s from Chinatown as well as the Financial District (the 48-story Transamerica Pyramid, completed in 1972, now serves as the visual endpoint to the neighborhood, although it is several blocks away), and many of the original Italian business owners and residents found it easier to sell (often to Chinese business owners from adjoining Chinatown) and move away than stay.

Today, the area maintains its Italian veneer: cafes, delis, bakeries, and restaurants line Columbus Avenue, and the Italian Athletic Club still operates on Stockton Street. But residents of the area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are more likely to be Asian (60 percent) than Italian or white (40 percent). For instance, Saints Peter and Paul Church now has Masses in Chinese, as well as in English and Italian. The 12,000 or so residents are also graying, with a median age of 42, and are middle class, with annual average household incomes of about $50,000. The great majority of them—upward of 80 percent—rent their homes and apartments.

The high population density here ensures a lot of street life, and even though the area no longer has the all-nighter reputation and somewhat sleazy thrill of its Beat past (the strip joints on Broadway notwithstanding), it is nevertheless a good bet for a late dinner (the Washington Square Bar and Grill, a haunt of the city’s politicos, serves until 10 p.m., and Cinecitta makes Roman pizzas till midnight in its casual, small space on Union Street) or a nightcap (Gino and Carlo, which draws an unpretentious crowd on Green Street, or Tosca on Columbus, a fave among celebs). Two down-and-dirty bars, Vesuvio’s and Specs, both famous haunts of Beat writers frequented today by their latter-day followers, sit on opposite sides of Columbus from each other. Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Café on Columbus is a longtime favorite among locals for its sandwiches (made with focaccia from nearby Liguria Bakery) and strong espresso, as is Caffe Trieste (on Vallejo), which prides itself as being North Beach’s “original Beat café,” with its own bean-roasting operation and retail outlet. And the Savoy Tivoli, around in one form or another on Grant Avenue for more than 100 years, currently draws crowds for its live jazz on Saturday afternoon. A vaudeville-type revue sending up San Francisco in particular and the national political scene in general, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” continues to be a hit with tourists and locals alike, its over-the-top innuendo and outrageous hats a source of delight for the diverse audience that comes Wednesday through Sunday nights in the old Club Fugazi building. The Asian influence is felt by the increasing number of Chinese and Thai restaurants near Washington Square Park (Dupont Thai and Tuk Tuk Thai, as well as New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant, which serves its noodle-based menu till 3 a.m. at Broadway and Columbus).

Life in the neighborhood can amount to a big-city hassle: parking is frustrating if not impossible (most residents who don’t have a garage space get the “A” residential parking permit and occupy their space for the maximum 72 hours) and noise from all the bars and restaurants takes some getting used to, especially on a weeknight. But the tradeoff in convenience also has rewards: small markets, bakeries, cafes, and cleaners occupy nearly every corner, and regulars become favorites in these family-run establishments.

One plus is the ease of public transportation: six bus routes (the Nos. 30, 45, 8, 39, and 10) plus a cable car (the Powell-Mason line) cut through the neighborhood, offering residents fast access to the Financial District, Union Square, and BART (either the Embarcadero, Montgomery, or Powell Street locations). The intersection of Stockton, Columbus, and Green is a web of overhead electric lines supplying any number of buses, a mini-marvel of engineering with the various buses keeping their “antennae” attached to the appropriate line as they make sweeping turns. Taxis are also generally abundant, especially around Washington Square Park, making cars all but redundant for the inhabitants of the area.

Two schools serve the children in the neighborhood: the Laura Vicuña Preschool (associated with Sts. Peter and Paul Church on Filbert) and Francisco Middle School, which rated a 3 out of 10 by GreatSchools (perhaps owing to its large limited-English student body). In keeping with the bohemian-artist theme of the place, the campus of the San Francisco Art Institute is nearby, on the border of North Beach with the Russian Hill area.

Crime in North Beach follows the trend in other densely populated neighborhoods in San Francisco, according to Police Department reports, mostly due to noise nuisances and disturbing the peace, along with the higher-than-average numbers of intoxicated individuals on the street and the higher rate of assaults here (much of it rooted in alcohol consumption). Vandalism is increasingly a problem, and burglary and robbery in the area trend higher than elsewhere in San Francisco, as do the number of car thefts and break-ins, which are commonest near major streets where overnight parking and little sidewalk traffic is the norm. There have been three homicides in the last three years.

Real estate prices have rebounded somewhat, after dropping by as much as 40 percent during the downturn that began in 2008, according to Trulia. Still, in spite of the lower prices seen elsewhere in San Francisco, North Beach real estate is still pricey. This is owing in part to the solid rental market, which assures building owners of a decent return on their rental properties. A multi-family home on Stockton near Broadway was listed at $4.9 million, and a three-bedroom, 1.5-bath condo farther north on Stockton was asking $699,000. As hinted at above, rentals are pricey: studios average in the $1,200 range, one-bedrooms go for $1,700 to $2,600, and two-bedrooms can be as expensive as $3,500 or more. But, this being North Beach, there’s little room for negotiating; the cachet of a North Beach address still pulls in eager renters from all over the city and the Bay Area as well.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"A Fun, Lively Neighborhood"

This is a dynamic, fun neighborhood with the best of urban living. It is full of excellent restaurants, cafes, and nightspots. It is conveniently located to downtown and the financial district. It also neighbors Chinatown. It is a busy tourist spot, so this would not be the spot for quiet outer neighborhood living. It would be ideal for young professionals that want to enjoy the best of what San Francisco has to offer. Some of the apartments have spectacular views. The only downside to the neighborhood is traffic and parking, especially on weekends. Chinatown is also right next door. This neighborhood offers the best of Cosmopolitan,urban living.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"North Beach-a slice of Italy in the City"

North Beach, the Italian district of San Francisco, great restaurants, neighborhood bars, easy access to public transportation walking distance to parks and cathedral. Close to the water, where everyone knows your name. You can walk home after a night on the town and still feel safe. the ethnic diversity is great, Chinatown is just a stones throw away, Union Square and all it's amazing shopping is a walk away, the weather is good and not subject to the San Francisco fog as much as some parts of the city. In just a 10 block neighborhood you can find evrything you need from groceries to live music to strip clubs if you so desire, and to repent the next day there is a Catholic cathedral to have the preist absolve you of your night before sins, what more can a gal ask for?
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Romantic with a wild side"

It’s fun to wind one’s way through North Beach, chasing down the ghosts of the Barbary Coast and Beat poet legends. North Beach can be romantic, rowdy, skeezy and inspirational all at once. The North Beach poetry scene is still alive and kicking—the poets often gather at Spec’s in an alley off of Columbus Street or Café Trieste on Vallejo Street. Washington Square Park is pleasant by day and deeply romantic by night. It’s nice to enjoy a glass of wine at Vesuvios then peruse the shelves of City Lights Bookstore. Tosca is a lovely bar for a nightcap and the old fashioned girl in me is quite smitten with Cap’s Corner bar and restaurant. There’s just something about those red and white-checkered tablecloths, huge plates of pasta and bulking wooden bar that makes me feel happy.

Living in North Beach is a two-sided coin. You have all of little Italy’s charm and excitement at your doorstep, but you also have weekend drunks, a sore lack of any decent grocery store and terrible parking. For the right home or apartment, the trade-off might be worth your while, because North Beach can pull magic out of an otherwise seemingly ordinary night.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
4/5
2yrs+

"Great for Italian Food"

If you're looking for some Italian food, this is the place to go. There are lots of restuarants here to enjoy, though I have liked The Steps of Rome many a time -- good for a later part of the night and a wonderful berry topped cake.

Nearby is The Stinking Rose. This is an absolute must as a stop when you're in town if you're a garlic fan as they have all sorts of garlic in everything for every course, including garlic ice cream.

After eating at either of these places, take a stroll to Washington Square Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5
2yrs+

"San Francisco's very own red light district"

North Beach is the place to meander through the narrow little streets off Broadway and discover "Little Italy." This San Franciscan neighborhood holds fast to its 1950s Beatnik history featuring City Lights Bookstore at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Jack Kerouac Alley. Also, be sure to check out Beat Museum where Kerouac and his friends/associates are the focus of many exhibits.

At night, North Beach becomes an entirely different community, boasting some of the liveliest nightclubs, bars, and strip clubs in the country, including Fuse (dubbed hot spot status by InStyle Magazine) and the Hustler Club (with occasional "guest" appearances).

A word to the wise: If you can avoid driving in North Beach, please do. Parking is notoriously scarce and it can be difficult to get around if you are not a seasoned North Beach San Franciscan.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees

Travelling to North Beach?

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Best Streets in North Beach

1

Stockton St

4.5/5
"Best neighborhood - hands down!"
37.8021459102322 -122.409530105288
2

Green St

3.5/5
"Great Place for Theater People"
37.7993213676391 -122.41047609865
3

Vandewater St

3.5/5
"Feels like the suburbs"
37.8052565029206 -122.412687001164

Unranked Streets in North Beach

August Aly

2.5/5
"A Narrow Place with nice houses"
37.7997212496379 -122.411542501431

Columbus Ave

2.5/5
"Don't Confuse it with NYC's Washington Square..."
37.8006535829954 -122.410695546626

Scotland St

2.5/5
"A quiet cut-through"
37.8015542120375 -122.412419792401

Water St

2.5/5
"Little Residential Street with Great Proximity"
37.8043060028496 -122.414180001138

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