Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Welcome to the first post of my Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco series where I start off with one of my fave neighborhoods..

– North Beach –

North Beach is known for its Italian influence and its close proximity to Fisherman’s Wharf and the FiDi (Financial District). If you want the the best Italian restaurants in the city, then this is your spot.  Many Italians actually still live in this district, but it’s slowly being taken over by tech millennial’s and the Chinese from Chinatown.

The old school charm of North Beach can’t be missed and I highly recommend taking a walk around during the day and exploring the restaurants, bars and live music at night time! I currently live in North Beach and have for 3 years so it holds a very special place in my heart. The outdoor cafes are beautiful and it’s fun to sit at them at night or brunch on a nice day, Washington Square Park is a favorite to sit for a picnic and drink wine and cheese with friends, and the nightlife with live music is some of the best in the city!

Hopefully I’ve gotten you excited enough to take a stroll with me through one of my favorite neighborhoods below…

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling SpudUltimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Here are some of my top recommendations in my Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach series.


Best Italian Food Spots:

Best Italian Meats and Sandos:
Molinari’s – hand’s down best sando’s with meat stacked high.

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling SpudUltimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Pasta: 
Ideale Restaurant
Italian Homemade – YUM. I love their stuffed shells and meatballs!

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Cannoli’s & Tiramasu:
Stella’s Bakery

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Pizza:
Tony’s Pizza Napoleta  – usually a long wait, but SO worth it. They cook each pizza differently according to different regions of Italy.
Golden Boy Pizza – late night pizza or if you’re just looking for a slice or a pie to take home.

Best Italian Style Seafood:
Sotto Mare – This may or may not be my fave restaurant in SF. It’s a small family run place that serves you free wine while you’re waiting in line. Order the Cioppino…you won’t regret it.

Best Foccocia Bakery:
Linguria Bakery

Best Italian Cafe:
Cafe Trieste

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Brunch:
Mo’s
Mama’s – pic above is Mama’s. The wait is excruciatingly long, but worth it!

Best Non-Italian Restaurants:

 Don Pistos – upscale Mexican restaurant with amazing margaritas and a fun brunch
Park Tavern – American style bistro

The House – Amazing Asian Fusion

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Bars:
15 Romolo – great cocktail bar, perfect date spot
Maggy McGarry’s – always a live band and karaoke on Wednesday nights
Kells – I’ve had 1 too many good times here
Tupelo – another sports bar with great live music at night.
Tosca Cafe – Lively bar and restaurant full of Italian old SF charm
Rogue AleHouse – Tons of Rogue beers on tap
Vesuvio Cafe – great old school charm
Savoy Tivoli – Opens to the outside and has a fun vibe
The Boardroom – perfect dive bar to watch sports
Devil’s Acre – Huge cocktail bar, another good one for dates

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Best Things to Do:

Hang out in Washington Square Park

Watch a show at Beach Blanket Babylon

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

Go see some stand up comedy at Cobb’s Comedy Club

Shopping on Grant St. – my favorite shop is Therapy

Check out the famous City Lights Bookstore

Hike up to Coit Tower – Technically in Telegraph Hill, but same thing in my mind

Watch the Blue Angels on a rooftop during FleetWeek!

Ultimate Guide to Exploring San Francisco: North Beach | Traveling Spud

I hope you enjoy your time in North Beach! Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed 🙂

READ NEXT:

 Why You Should Experience Fleet Week in SF

The 10 Best Brunch Places in San Francisco

What to Wear When Visiting San Francisco

San Francisco Tour Guide

By | 2016-09-03T10:29:02+00:00 April 24th, 2016|April, SF Life|2 Comments

About the Author:

The Traveling Spud
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 28-year-old from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.

2 Comments

  1. Kara September 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    I love North Beach! Excellent guide. I lived there for 6 years and miss it so much. It’s Maggy McGarry’s though. 😉 I only remember this because I adore the cover bands.

    • The Traveling Spud
      The Traveling Spud September 3, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thank you!! I love it here 🙂 And thanks for the spelling! I can’t believe I got it wrong…I think it’s because I say it the other way 🙂

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