Top things to do

Top Choice Center in North Beach & Chinatown

City Lights Books

Free speech and free spirits have flourished here since 1957, when City Lights founder and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and manager Shigeyoshi Murao won a landmark ruling defending their right to publish Allen Ginsber…
Top Choice Area in North Beach & Chinatown

Chinatown Alleyways

The 41 historic alleyways packed into Chinatown's 22 blocks have seen it all since 1849: gold rushes and revolution, incense and opium, fire and icy receptions. In clinker-brick buildings lining these narrow backstr…
Top Choice Public Art in North Beach & Chinatown

Coit Tower

The exclamation mark on San Francisco's skyline is Coit Tower, with 360-degree views of downtown and wraparound 1930s Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals glorifying SF workers – initially denounced as Communi…
Top Choice Street in North Beach & Chinatown

Waverly Place

Grant Ave may be the economic heart of Chinatown, but its soul is Waverly Pl, lined with historic clinker-brick buildings and flag-festooned temple balconies. Due to 19th-century race-based restrictions, family asso…
Top Choice Bar in North Beach & Chinatown

Comstock Saloon

Relieving yourself in the marble trough below the bar is no longer advisable – Emperor Norton is watching from above – but otherwise this 1907 Victorian saloon brings back the Barbary Coast's glory days with authent…
Top Choice Bar in North Beach & Chinatown

Li Po

Beat a hasty retreat to red-vinyl booths where Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac debated the meaning of life under a golden Buddha. Enter the 1937 faux-grotto doorway and dodge red lanterns to place your order: Tsingt…
Top Choice Bar in North Beach & Chinatown

Specs

The walls here are plastered with merchant-marine memorabilia, and you'll be plastered too if you try to keep up with the salty characters holding court in back. Surrounded by seafaring mementos – including walrus g…
Top Choice Chinese in North Beach & Chinatown

Mister Jiu's

Ever since the gold rush, San Francisco has craved Chinese food, powerful cocktails and hyper-local specialties – and Mister Jiu's satisfies on all counts. Build your own banquet of Chinese classics with California …
Top Choice Pizza in North Beach & Chinatown

Golden Boy

Looking for the ultimate post-bar-crawl or morning-after slice? Here you're golden. Since 1978, second-generation Sodini family pizzaioli (pizza makers) have perfected Genovese-style focaccia-crust pizza, achieving …
Top Choice Italian in North Beach & Chinatown

Tosca Cafe

When this historic North Beach speakeasy was nearly evicted in 2012, devotees like Sean Penn, Robert De Niro and Johnny Depp rallied, and New York star chef April Bloomfield took over. Now the 1930s murals and red-l…