City Sightseeing, Top 10 Lists

Top 10 North Beach Sights

Telegraph Hill

Named after the semaphore installed on its crest in 1850, the hills eastern side was dynamited to provide rocks for landfill. Steps descend its slopes, lined with gardens. At its summit stands Coit Tower.

North Beach Views

The panoramic views from both the hill and the top of Coit tower are justly celebrated. The wide arc sweeping from the East Bay to Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge is breathtaking.

Coit Tower Murals

The frescoes were painted by local artists in 1934, to provide jobs during the Depression. The murals are socio-political commentary yet are also appealing for their details of life in California at the time.

Filbert Street Steps

The flowery descent down these rustic steps provides great vies of the Bay. You might even catch a glimpse of the famed parrots of Telegraph Hill.

City Lights Bookstore

The Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded City Lights in 1953. It’s a great place to leaf through a few volumes of poetry or the latest free papers to find out what’s going on.


Made famous in the 1960s for its various adult entertainments, the offerings haven’t changed much, though today many venues are now more mainstream.

Upper Grant

Saloons, cafes, and bluesy music haunts give this northerly section of Grant Avenue a very alternative feel.

Caffe Trieste

If you are in the neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, don’t miss the spirited opera that takes place here, one of the longest-running informal musical shows in the city.

Washington Square

This pretty park is lined with Italian bakeries, restaurants and bars. Don’t be surprised to see practitioners of t’ai chi doing their thing every morning on the lawn.

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Neo-Gothic in conception, with an Italianesque façade, this church is also called the Italian cathedral  and the fisherman’s church, since many Italians who originally lived in the neighborhood made their living by fishing.