The heart of North Beach, Columbus is a street that runs diagonally across what would otherwise be a grid. It starts at the foot of the TransAmerica Pyramid and extends about 1.2 miles to the northwest, just short of the bay.
Columbus Avenue has a large number of residential hotels, due to the Italian immigration and nearby Chinatown (and leftover Beatniks). The streets leading off Columbus are more residential and home to a large number of 9-to-5ers from downtown.
There are numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, and sandwich shops along Columbus Avenue. Buster's is the place for late-night cheese steaks, while The Stinking Rose and The Mona Lisa are popular dining options. Steps of Rome is popular with the younger set, namely because of the cute staff (a lot of young immigrants of both genders, schooled in flirting). Several cafes have outside seating, but Calzone's always seems to be crowded and has the most lively tables. For cheaper food than typical North Beach fare, check out La Petite Deli before 4 p.m. and be greeted by a lively older Asian woman who never seems to leave her 2-foot-sandwich-nook (and we love her for it). If reading is your thing, see City Lights Bookstore and indulge in the Kerouac obsession that grips this area of the city. For vegan fare, check out Juicey Lucy's.
The 20 Muni bus runs directly down most of Columbus Avenue.
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