In North Beach, the smell of freshly-baked pastries mingles with the aroma of wonton soup; the sidewalks are full — of locals but also of tourists, as this is one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods for visitors. Barkers stand outside each Italian restaurant, hyping the food and trying to draw people inside. These are special places, time-worn and iconic, where people come to fully experience San Francisco the way they’ve seen it in movies and on television.


Whispers of San Francisco’s great literary history drift through one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, along with hints of a time when fishermen shoved off into the Bay each morning. Plenty of time has passed since turn-of-the-century immigrants made North Beach San Francisco’s center for Italian culture (and food); if anything, the neighborhood is even more colorful than it was then. It’s no mistake that the American Planning Association once named North Beach one of America's top ten neighborhoods.


If there’s one word that encapsulates the world of North Beach, it is alive. This area is active both day and night, weekdays and weekends, and simple activities suburbanites take for granted, like buying groceries for the week, are an adventure.


Life here is more like life was decades ago, with small shops and neighborhood restaurants, with people standing in line at the bakery or the butcher, or passing time simply sitting on a bench and watching the world go by. However, residents didn’t come for the quiet. They came for the excitement, and for the feeling that every day will be more exciting than the last.


The aesthetic of North Beach can be described as a blend of Italian charm, artistic flair, and urban energy. One of the defining features of North Beach is its vibrant and colorful streets. The neighborhood is home to numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops, many of which have colorful facades and lively outdoor seating areas.


How can you argue with a ten-minute walk downtown or a breathtaking view of the Bay? Whether picnicking in Washington Square, marveling at the view from Coit Tower or trying every Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, residents quickly realize that all of the romantic San Francisco scenes they’ve seen in movies are now part of their actual life.