Your Destination Guide to San Francisco

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North Beach / Little Italy

North Beach / Little Italy
North Beach / Little Italy

© Franco Folini

North Beach is San Francisco's very own Little Italy: the neighborhood that tourists love to love. For shopping, this welcoming district is the perfect detour off the beaten track. Within walking distance of the Downtown and Financial Districts, you don't have to travel far for a slice of Italian life and style.

Hop directly to upper Grant Avenue to run the full gamut of boutiques and sample their hand-made, imported, and vintage treasures. These European-inspired troves dot the neighborhood, making them ideal for window-shopping. Small stores such as OOMA (Object of My Affection) and Old Vogue are dressed with passion and cater for a variety of styles and needs. Their instant charm makes for a quaint and cultured shopping experience.

If music is more your style, 101 Music hosts a timeless collection of over 10,000 CDs, cassettes, and LPs.

North Beach is also home to the famous (and infamous) City Lights independent bookstore. At the heart of what poet and founder Ferlinghetti called "little old wooden North Beach," this San Francisco landmark opened its doors in 1953, making it the home of the Beat Generation. Specializing in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics, City Lights is also one of North America's most progressive independent publishers. City Lights, like its location, is intimate and relaxed while retaining that beatnik charm.

Many of these stores continue to follow the North Beach tradition of closing on Wednesdays, so visit www.northbeachshop.com for opening hours and plan your shopping trip carefully.

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