Coffee, Cannoli and Coastal Vistas: An Insider's Tour of North Beach
Perched on the northern edge of San Francisco, nestled between Russian Hill and Chinatown, lies the charming neighborhood of North Beach. Steeped in history and culture, North Beach feels like a little slice of Old Italy transported to the West Coast.
The heart of North Beach is Washington Square, a lively piazza surrounded by colorful Italian cafes and shops. Take a seat at one of the outdoor tables of Caffe Trieste, open since the 1950s, and watch the world go by over an espresso -- it's easy to feel like you've slipped back in time. Nearby Liguria Bakery is worth popping into for killer focaccia and other baked goods fresh from the oven.
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North Beach gained fame in the 1950s as the center of underground and avant-garde poetry and jazz. Take a wander down Columbus Avenue where you'll find familiar sights referenced in the works of writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Stop by the historic City Lights bookstore, still an iconic hub of free speech, or glance at the passionate poems etched onto plaques throughout Washington Square. Catch some live music at the vintage club 211 Club, keeping the neighborhood's bohemian spirit alive.
A meal in North Beach is like a visit to old Italy. Pause at one of the humble storefront delis along Grant Avenue for a peek inside at rows of cured meats, cheeses and olives. Then grab panini or arancini for an al fresco lunch in Washington Square. For iconic Italian-American favorites, you can't beat Tony's Pizza Napoletana or Golden Boy Pizza, relics of North Beach's thriving Italian community in its early 20th century heyday.
Save time to soak in the panoramic views from Coit Tower up on Telegraph Hill. Alternatively, hike up the garden-lined Filbert Street Steps for a more intimate vantage point over the Bay. Once you've taken in the natural surroundings, reward your feet with an Aperol spritz at Tony's Tap while chatting with the friendly locals. From this lively outcrop, it's easy to appreciate how North Beach's eclectic spirit took root and blossomed.
Wherever your North Beach travels take you, be sure to book through BitBook to experience old-world charm coupled with new-world crypto rewards. Ciao, and enjoy la dolce vita in this unforgettable San Francisco neighborhood!