SF Map: M-N, 3-4

North Beach, tucked between Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, is a favorite gathering spot for visitors and locals alike.

Waves of immigrants have created a diverse ethnic mix in North Beach which is often compared to Paris' Left Bank.

Today, the area is predominantly Italian and known as Little Italy of the West.
At the heart of North Beach is Washington Square, a grassy piazza where the Church of Saints Peter & Paul is located.

Grant Avenue, the oldest street in the City, extends into North Beach and offers several Barbary Coast saloons, second hand shops, pizza parlors and clothing boutiques.

The Beat Generation of the 1950s is rooted in this eclectic San Francisco neighborhood. Upper Grant Avenue maintains the flavor of its Bohemian past. Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights at 261 Columbus Avenue, the first paperback bookstore in the country and Allen Ginsberg's publisher, was at the movement's center. Facing City Lights on Jack Kerouac Place is Vesuvio, a saloon worth a visit for its Beat Generation memorabilia.

It's the restaurants, however, that draw the crowds to North Beach, and you won't be
disappointed with any selection that you make. Traditional cafes, Italian delicatessens selling homemade ravioli, and bakeries offering tempting pastries line Columbus Avenue.

NOTE: Use public transportation, take a cab or inquire about valet parking offered by many of the area's restaurants.

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