Exploring North Beach and Greenwich Steps in San Francisco
North Beach or Little Italy in San Francisco is always a popular venue for tourists visiting the area, having a meal and walking around the neighborhoods. It’s always busy and a great place for people watching on Columbus street, the main thoroughfare with sidewalk cafes lining both sides of the street. It’s nice to visit friends and hang out for a bit to enjoy an espresso and some nice Italian dessert like some tiramisu or how about a cannolli – yes please! Go out in the city and spend some time exploring North Beach and Greenwich Steps in San Francisco.
What to do and see at North Beach and Greenwich Steps
It’s all about the people watching on busy Columbus street, the heart of Little Italy. I’m hanging out with my friend Colleen and her Libai at one of her favorite pastry shops and yes, there is a lot of Italian pastry shops here to discover.
The back streets in North Beach are still unique and keep their quirky neighborhood charm and local stores that cater mostly to locals and tourists that just happen into the back streets. Long ago noted as a beatnik and artsy community in San Francisco’s hey day – the area around Grant Street and Coit tower are relatively quiet outside of weekends when day trippers and tourist both converge in the area and cruise the neighborhood.
Cool and funky stuff on Grant Street
Funky art galleries, vintage shops and cool fashion stores can be found on Grant street which is quiet during the weekdays, but really starts hopping on Friday and the weekend.
The Stairs of San Francisco
No visit is complete to North Beach without walking up the Greenwich or Filbert Steps up to Coit Tower where a gorgeous panorama of San Francisco bay awaits those that make the uphill trek to the tower and go up to the observation area. Just on the other side of Coit Tower are the two hidden garden neighborhoods of Greenwich steps and Filbert Steps. Today we are going to go down the Greenwich steps and check out the quaint little community gardens in the area.
This garden is lovingly called the Tiger garden because the neighbors have something special living in the garden below, can you see it? It has a gorgeous vista of the gardens and the view to the bay below.
A community garden taken care of by the local gardeners in the neighborhood. Many of the plants are donated to the garden from various nurseries and donors – adding to the colorful variety of plants and flowers in this magical garden. A nice dirt path takes you on a small tour through this intimate and special place to meditate and enjoy the magnificent views.
Don’t you just love entering gates and arbors filled with roses like these?
Sculpture created by local artists punctuate different spots along the steps and add a moment for the visitor to stop, contemplate and enjoy the artwork provided along the discovery.
I don’t know what it is about visiting special places like this – everything just slows down and things are so easy to enjoy in this place – even the people you meet visiting or living in the area are very friendly and relaxed, including their frisky pets hiding in the tall grasses below.
Did I mention how wonderful the view is when you start to see openings from the stairs out into San Francisco bay – wow! The views to Treasure Island in the middle are so beautiful despite the hazy cloudy day today.
If you enjoyed this post, please do check out these other posts on visiting San Francisco
Places to eat in San Francisco
20 quirky, fun and trendy places to visit in San Francisco
San Francisco views from above
The cool stairs of San Francisco
Fun and unusual things to do in San Francisco
Cool graffiti at Clarion Alley
Exploring North Beach and the Greenwich steps
20 quirky and fun places to explore in San Francisco
Best views to photograph in San Francisco
Did you enjoy visiting North Beach and Greenwich steps, pretty cool place right? Now how do we get up that hill in the least amount of time possible – Ah taxi please!
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I heard so much about North Beach and most of them tell how great that place is and looking and reading at this post, indeed it’s a beauty. I hope to visit North Beach soon and experience the wonder of it soon. Thanks for sharing.
I loved San Francisco! Some great pictures here – espcially of the sculptures by the Greenwich Steps.
I just love the first picture with the old-school sign….these really make the best pictures! Coit Tower also looks an interesting piece of architecture. I always love climbing towers to the observation decks to see spectacular views of the region. Is there an admission fee to climb the tower? Either way I am sure it is worth it, especially when you can peer around the San Francisco area which is so beautiful anyway.
The views are usually wonderful and worth the climb even on a cloudy day like today, there are also beautiful paintings of local scenes in the main entry lobby by a well-known painter who did a whole series of paintings.
We just did Sausalito over Memorial but I think I need to add North Beach to the list! Beautiful photos!
Ahhh, I loved this post, Noel. It’s like I was taking a walk with you…Those signs in your first photo really took me back to another time. Those photos are the images I had of the US before I lived here. Thanks for the beautiful escape.
Great place to hang out. I’d love to sample an Italian pastry shop or two.
I spent a couple days in California last fall but didn’t make it to San Francisco as I’d hoped. That’s okay, maybe when I finally do make it, I’ll have longer to explore. Those shops you discovered in North Beach look like the type of place I’d like to explore.
I love North Beach and you’ve made me realize with your recent posts that it has been far too long since SFO was on the bucket list. May have to change that. . .soon!
Absolutely love the road logos photo in the beginning. I just spent 30 mins trying to recollect how this genre of design is called – with no luck so far. So your post got me thinking 🙂