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The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, the sounds of opera, and the sights of the romantic Italian ristorante come together to create the charming neighbourhood of North Beach, once the stomping grounds for the Beatnik Generation. Although parts of North Beach are known for nightlife that’s not always suitable for younger visitors, few neighbourhoods in the city exude as much European charm and style.
Peruse a bookstore for the literature of Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, grab some gelato and head to Washington Square for a perfect afternoon of people watching. Just east of North Beach, the hills and staircases of Telegraph Hill are a unique delight. At its peak, the art deco Coit Tower provides sweeping panoramic views of the bay and city. The beautifully landscaped Filbert Street Steps, a street too steep for a roadway, rewards those willing to hike uphill. Keep your ears open and you might even hear the squawk of the wild parrots who call this neighbourhood home.