During the 1950s, North Beach was the heart of the “Beat Generation,” an arty, non-conformist movement inspired by writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. North Beach also developed a large Italian population and is sometimes referred to as “Little Italy.” Today, this diverse community celebrates both its beatnik, bohemian past and its Italian flavor.
North Beach contains a wide variety of restaurants (many Italian), street-side cafes, nightclubs and bars, boutiques and shops, and the famous City Lights bookstore. Landmarks in the neighborhood include Coit Tower, which dates to 1927 and contains an elaborate indoor mural. North Beach has several annual festivals, including an Oyster and Beer Festival and the North Beach Festival.