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EXPLORING SF // North Beach & Telegraph Hill

Monday, February 18, 2013

Yay, three day weekends are the best! I hope you've spent it doing something FUN.

So far, Zach and I have spent this weekend exploring our new city. On Saturday, we took advantage of the sunshine and conquered North Beach and Telegraph Hill on foot. It was incredible! I'm seriously starting to fall in love with this city (hills and all.)

If nothing else, our weekly excursions have taught us the importance of making itineraries before leaving the house. If we don't have them, we wander around purposeless and frustrated. Today, I thought I'd share the road map we used to guide our explorations this weekend. That way, if you ever decide to visit our little city, you'll have a list of "don't miss" activities.

So, without further ado: Alison and Zach's List of Super-Fun Things to do in North Beach & Telegraph Hill.

Start your journey at Levi Plaza. From there, you can access the Filbert Street Steps which head up Telegraph Hill. These stairs aren't for the faint of heart (we passed many a gasping tourist on our way up.) But, the view is breathtaking, the foliage is beautiful, and you just might get to see or hear the infamous feral green parrots who make the eastern slope their home.

Oh, and yes. I do have a mullet right now. I'm in an awkward stage of growing out my hair. You know, the stage where it's poofy and wild but too short for a solid pony? Yep.

At the top of the stairs, you'll find yourself at Coit Tower. Here on a sunny day, you'll get panoramic views of the city. (We've heard it's especially amazing at sunset.) Plus, after your nearly vertical hike, it's a nice place to sit and rest for a minute or two.

Take the path down the west side of the hill towards Greenwich Street. The surrounding neighborhood is beautiful and you'll get to see more of that traditional SF architecture.

Turn left on Stockton Street and get in line for Mama's. Yes, that line. You'll definitely wait here for an hour (or two.) But the banana bread french toast (!!!!!!!) will make you glad you did.

Then, wander over to Washington Square Park and Saints Peter and Paul Church. If you ate at Mama's you'll be stuffed and ready for a nap - which is easily accomplished via this soft patch of green grass.

Find your way to Grant Avenue and spend some time exploring its plethora of unique shops. We happened to stop at Aria Antiques, Little Vine, and Schein & Schein, but there are plenty more to be discovered on our next visit!

Finally, find your way past the masses of Italian restaurants to the corner of Broadway and Columbus. Here, City Lights Bookstore and The Beat Museum stand as monuments to Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the other Beatniks who started the movement on this corner in the 1950's. If you're weird history lovers like us, you'll love hearing how it all happened.

At this point, your feet will probably want to fall off... especially if you're in sub-par shoes (like I was.) Time to head back to your hotel (or home) and take a nap. It IS a holiday weekend, after all.

(Did you miss our treks to the Point Bonita Lighthouse or the Marina & Cow Hollow?)


  1. love your adventure in San Francisco!

  2. Coit tower is totally amazing at sunset! Really like seeing your SF posts, great shots (love the one of the church).
    from Claire.

    1. Thanks Claire! That's a compliment coming from you!

  3. Thank you so much for this little photo-tour of San Fran! I've never been, but I've always wanted to visit (and when I do the first thing I'm doing is eating some of that French toast!).


  4. Hi Alison! Great post! I might just do this when I get to SF next month. You guys did all of this in one day? So sandals are a No? haha! You think it's safe if I walk around alone? :)


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