The intersection of Columbus Avenue and Broadway lights up San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.
San Francisco is a city with crazy microclimates, where you might need three layers to brave wind tunnels along the bay front yet find that shorts suffice in the central neighborhoods. Its food and cultural amenities are similarly varied. Chinatown and North Beach offer both modern welcome and historic ambience. China Basin has a relatively new, well-deserved reputation as a gourmet’s hangout but is also home to AT&T Park, where garlic fries reign. Union Street is packed with chic twentysomethings, whereas the Civic Center’s high-culture hub draws grandees in traditional formal wear for the opera, ballet, and symphony. Yerba Buena, meanwhile, packs a wealth of museums into a tiny, formerly industrial neighborhood. The result of this rich diversity? San Francisco natives actually like playing tour guide here, and visitors find thrills on nearly every block. San Francisco Visitor Information: 900 Market St., (415) 391-2000, onlyinsanfrancisco.com.
Check out our San Francisco package:
China Basin: Gourmet burgers and a handsome ballpark
Chinatown/North Beach: History, ambience, and cappuccinos
Civic Center: Cultural hub near City Hall
Union Street: Boutiques and bistros
Yerba Buena: Downtown park and museums galore
Photography by Reuben Antman
This article was first published in December 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.