The San Francisco Red Light District might not be as seedy as it once was, but it still manages to maintain a fairly liberal attitude. According to some, many city residents included, the Red Light District in San Francisco isn't really a red light district at all. This kind of connotation generally alludes to places where sex is openly for sale and prostitutes wander the streets liked the famed Amsterdam Red Light District. While the underground scene in many cities can exhibit these kinds of tendencies, the San Francisco Red Light District is more of an artists' haven than it is anything else. There are still striptease clubs and peep-show establishments in this district, but they are not the only things going on here by far.
The Red Light District in San Francisco is also the city's Little Italy, so visitors who are looking to enjoy some tasty Italian fare can always head here for lunch or dinner. It's worth noting that baseball great, Joe Dimaggio, was born here. The district is also known as North Beach, and it can be found in the northeastern part of the city near Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. The North Beach neighborhood is hard to avoid when making the rounds in San Francisco, thanks to its location, and many visitors do more than simply pass on through. This is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in town, and that has a lot to do with the presence of one very famous bookstore.
The City Lights Bookstore is one of the most renowned bookstores in the country, and it easily tops the list of what to see in the San Francisco Red Light District. This bookstore was made famous by Beatnik writers like Jack Kerouac, and it remains popular to this day among artists, readers, and free thinkers. To find the City Lights Bookstore, all one has to do is head to the corner of Columbus and Broadway, which is the epicenter of North Beach. While the City Lights Bookstore is a sight to see when touring the San Francisco Red Light District, it isn't the only thing worth checking out. Among the other sights that deserve inclusion on a list of what to see in the San Francisco Red Light District are the Painted Ladies (Victorian homes) on Russian Hill. These colorful homes are beautiful and historical.
Red Light District Map
While exploring the Red Light District in San Francisco is rewarding during the daylight hours, the neighborhood also merits a visit come nightfall. That's when the neon signs flicker on, illuminating the streets with colorful reflections. This nighttime display is just one more thing to add to a list of what to see in the San Francisco Red Light District. For those who aren't interested in the small collection of strip clubs, a nighttime visit to the North Beach neighborhood can center around a meal at a restaurant or some drinks at one of the bars. The exciting night clubs can also be tempting, and this thriving district also boasts a collection of cafes that can be ideal places to hang out both day and night.
The most popular nightlife area is the Mission District followed by the Tenderloin District. Here's a map
According to the American Planning Association, North Beach is one of the country's top ten neighborhoods. This has a lot to do with its compact layout, which makes exploring by foot a breeze. After exploring the North Beach streets, travelers can always consider a visit to the nearby Coit Tower, which offers some of the best views of the city. This tower looms over North Beach's east side from its point atop Telegraph Hill.