North Beach: historically Italian, this is the neighborhood where the beatniks hung out…filled today with sidewalk cafes, good coffee, chocolate, gelato…and tai chi enthusiasts (if you get there early)
Haight-Ashbury: vibrant and colorful street life, blocks and blocks of beautiful Victorian homes, eclectic shopping
The Castro: the world-famous Gay village under the Rainbow Flag
Japantown: a little-known history of jazz greats, shops that take pride in traditional Japanese culture...modern commerce too
Mission District: an artists' quarter featuring a hundred exciting murals, many Spanish-speaking residents...live music, dance, theater, mojo…and some of the city's best restaurants
Chinatown: exotic and kinetic...a bargain-hunter's dream
We start by strolling through Japantown, to see its singular shops and museum-quality objects d'art. We move to the Haight-Ashbury, home of the New Age, with blocks of Victorian homes, charming views, and a great place to find vintage clothing, posters, lava lamps, or the right tattoo. We explore the fabulous! Castro neighborhood, the city's vibrant Gay mecca, where we take in the scene…before lunch in a popular local restaurant.
Afternoon begins at the 200-year-old, adobe Mission Dolores, in The Mission district, where we enjoy this dynamic neighborhood's evocative murals. We tour historically Italian North Beach, with its peaceful piazza (called Washington Square) and charming side streets filled with shops offering cappuccino and authentic gelato…or exotic, kinetic Chinatown…closing the day with a panoramic city and Bay view from atop Telegraph Hill.
(Header) Mural by Sirron Norris, Balmy Alley, San Francisco