North Beach is known for being a neighborhood with a strong Italian heritage in the early 1900's and was Irish, Australean and Chilean during the gold rush era. North Beach is adjacent to the following neighborhoods: Chinatown, Jackson Square, Russian Hill, and the nearby Financial District. It was also the home of the Beat Movement in San Francisco in the 1950's. While still hosting a strong community today, it is also a big tourist draw. It encompasses Telegraph Hill.
North Beach is inhabited by a large number of Italian immigrants who run the numerous Italian eateries/cafes/restaurants that dot Columbus Avenue. There are also a large number of upper-class inhabitants; many 9-5ers from Downtown. Beatniks also run the streets in droves. The Beat Museum takes visitors through the history of the writers and artists of that generation.
A popular community activity is the weekly Off the Grid event. Food trucks descend onto Joe DiMaggio playground on Lombard and Powell every Wednesday night from 5 -9pm.
Washington Square Park is popular with tourists and locals and plays host to the huge North Beach Festival every June. It's proximity to busy restaurants and numerous bus lines makes it a major attraction for the neighborhood. The historic Saints Peter and Paul Church is right next to the park, and some famous scenes from Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry were shot right outside the Church.
Joe DiMaggio Playground is located on the corner of Mason and Lombard and is home to basketball courts, tennis courts, and bocce ball courts, and a community swimming pool. It's located next to the recently renovated North Beach Branch Library.
North Beach is host to a number of conspicuously touristy businesses and restaurants. However, some "genuine" San Francisco establishments can be found here, including Cafe Vesuvio, and City Lights Bookstore. Cafe Trieste is big for coffee and The Mona Lisa is known for food.
City Lights Bookstore on Columbus is both a store and publishing house, and one of the few independent bookstores left in the country. The city made City Lights a historic landmark in 2001.
North Beach is serviced by Muni buses and cable cars. The 8, 30, 39, 41 and 45 are popular routes.