Hi! Are you ready to continue exploring San Francisco neighborhoods with me? This week, we’ll walk through Russian Hill, North Beach, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf—I have a feeling you’re going to love these San Francisco neighborhoods.
In post two, we explored Haight-Ashbury and the Mission District; then in post two, we saw The Presidio, the Sunset District, Sea Cliff, and more gorgeous sights around the city. Check them out for more San Francisco travel tips and stunning photos of San Francisco neighborhoods!
Russian Hill is one of San Francisco’s forty-four(!) hills. It’s most famous for Lombard Street, known as the most crooked street in the world (although several other streets are apparently vying for that title). The design, first implemented in 1922, was necessitated by the street’s steep grade (27%), which cars were otherwise unable to climb. The San Francisco cable car—the last manually operated streetcar in the world—climbs Russian Hill as well as Nob Hill. There were originally 23 lines, and 3 are still running; I recommend taking the Powell-Hyde Line because it’s the longest route at over 2 miles (and thus the longest ride for your fare!). You can board the cable car at Hyde & Beach Streets in the Marina, or at Powell Street Station near Market & 5th.
North Beach is San Francisco’s Little Italy. While it was once home to a large Italian population, today, its cultural legacy is mainly carried forth by its restaurants. North Beach was also the origin of the term “beatnik,” as the Beat Generation (including writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg) came of age in North Beach’s bars and cafes. It was also home to the country’s first topless bar, lesbian bar, and strip club run by its own dancers (The Condor Club, The Lusty Lady, and Mona’s 440 Club, respectively). Many renowned establishments in North Beach still feature vintage-style signs that bring a ton of character to the neighborhood.
Eat: Italian Homemade Company (we especially loved their alfredo sauce—insanely good!)
Drink: Bodega (they have a fascinating wine menu. Each wine is described with three stunningly accurate words—some that you’d expect, like “floral” or “peach”; but others that you’d never expect, like “marble.” We asked what their process was for choosing each description, and they laughed—one guy tried every wine in a single sitting, got rip-roaring drunk, and never double-checked the menu after he completed it. They were surprised but thrilled to hear that it was so accurate!)
San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest neighborhood of its kind in North America, and it’s actually the largest Chinese community outside of Asia. Chinatown was the point of origin for much of what us Westerners think of as “Chinese food”—which, of course, is much different from actual Chinese cuisine. It’s famous for Grant Avenue, with lanterns adorning its streets, and which culminates in the Dragon Gate. Its history is far less pretty, however: Chinatown was the only neighborhood where Chinese immigrants were allowed to live for decades, and the original neighborhood was decimated by the 1906 earthquake. Today, San Francisco’s Chinatown continues to embody the customs that immigrants have brought with them for nearly 170 years.
Visit: Grant Avenue (the lantern-adorned street in Chinatown)
Fisherman’s Wharf & the Marina
Fisherman’s Wharf is overrun by tourists, but its proximity to the bay makes it a beautiful place to stroll on a sunny day. Parts of Fisherman’s Wharf comprise the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, including the historic ships that you’ll see docked along the Hyde Street pier. On Pier 39, you’ll see (and hear, and smell) a colony of sea lions that first appeared in the Fisherman’s Wharf area in 1989, and ended up forcing out all of the boats that once docked here. The San Francisco Marina has been hit hard by earthquakes over the years. Much of the neighborhood’s land was reclaimed from the rubble left by the 1906 earthquake; and a second earthquake impacted the San Francisco Marina again in 1989.
Drink: The Interval at Long Now (their decor was incredibly cool—I’d describe it as a sophisticated scientist’s laboratory.)
What have your favorite San Francisco neighborhoods been so far? If I’m being honest, I can’t wait to show you the next few posts… We’ll be taking a loooong stroll through Muir Woods, Napa Valley, and more! So be sure to check back next week—you won’t regret it 😉Which San Francisco neighborhoods should you visit on your trip? Find out on #featherandflint! Click To Tweet
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