North Beach is having a moment. Boutique-lined Grant Street is bustling and destination eateries are replacing touristy ones. Plus the kiddos outnumber the beatniks. You’ll spy little ones cooly sipping cocoa in cafes and snapping along to picture books in the new, modern library. We promise you’ll dig it too, Mommy-O and Daddy-O.

Washington Square Park Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Play

Washington Square Park
This picturesque park is the neighborhood’s proverbial front yard. Grab a patch of green and take five while your child frolics amidst families, dogs, and the occasional acoustic guitar hero.

Columbus Avenue at Union Street 

North Beach Library Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

North Beach Library
This sleek, airy library branch opened its doors in May 2004 with a dedicated children’s room that hides games, reading nooks and big picture windows overlooking Columbus Avenue 

850 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-355-5626
Online: sfpl.org

Joe DiMaggio Playground
This venerable playground isn’t going to win any design awards (a facelift is planned for 2015) but it’s a thriving hub for local families.

651 Lombard St
San Francisco, Ca

Destination Art
Need a break? Drop your kiddo at a twice-a-month Movie Night at this art-focused children’s center. Kids watch Frozen and munch popcorn while you enjoy a Hot Wheel-free dinner in the neighborhood. Select Fri. 6:30 – 9 p.m. $15/child; $25/family.

900 Filbert St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-350-4396
Online: destinationartsf.wordpress.com

Shop

Kim’s Precision Haircuts
If your scruffy tot is looking more suited for the Haight, plop ’em down on a stack of phone books at the original scissor sisters. Owners Kim and Lynn are as sweet as they come…just like the lollipops they sneak little ones at the end.

554 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-362-0566

Carmel Blue Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Carmel Blue
You’ll feel nourished just stepping through the doors of this recipient of Red Tricycle’s Totally Awesome Award. The parenting HQ is a city fave with clothes, toys, art and a workshop space for classes and gatherings.

1418 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-362-2583
Online: carmelblue.com

Park and Pond
Sisters Jessica and Abbey curate fun, witty and well-designed objects for the home such as tea towels, pillows, prints and jewelry.

1422 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-217-8864
Online: parkandpond.com

Lola of North Beach Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Lola of North Beach
A must-stop gift shop before your next birthday party. Browse smart cards, children’s clothes, toys and the stylish sheets you need to wrap it all up.

1415 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-781-1817
Online: lolaofnorthbeach.com

Little Vine Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Little Vine
You’ll find all manner of artisan foods at this handsome shop. The freshly made sandwich-of-the-day ranks among the best in the city. Parents grab a bottle of wine for later while kids grab a free cheese block sticker from the silver pail.

1541 Grant Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-738-2221

Tacolicious Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Eat

Tacolicious
The clever kids menu at this tasty taco spot could win awards: a cut-out taco truck with instructions on how to run a successful one (including getting  a tattoo and Twitter account). Take home a bottle of their MF hot sauce (tell your kids it means mucho fire) and proceeds will fund neighborhood public schools.

1548 Stockton St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-433-1800
Online: tacolicious.com

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
The best pizza in North Beach, if not the city. Kids get a raw pizza dough to while away the wait. In a hurry? Grab a slice from their bustling take-out shop next door.

1570 Stockton St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-835-9888
Online: tonyspizzanapoletana.com

Capo’s
An atmospheric, family-friendly Italian eatery specializing in deep dish pies from the owners of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana.

641 Vallejo St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-986-8998
Online: sfcapos.com

Original Joes Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Original Joe’s
A gratifying choice for old-school Italian-American grub — think spaghetti & meatballs paired with Sinatra — in North Beach (where you’ll crave it most). Bonus: big booths mean luxury for squirming kids. Don’t forget the Spumoni!

601 Union St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-775-4877
Online: originaljoessf.com

Italian Homemade Company
A wonderful Italian deli with freshly made pastas, sauces and lesser-common street foods like cassones and piadinas.

716 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, Ca
415-712-8874

Victoria Bakery Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

Victoria Pastry Company
Whether you’re craving a treat or simply in need of an inexpensive child motivator (P.C. for bribe), North Beach has got you covered. Victoria is one of many Italian bakeries that cram a glass display counter full of cakes, custards and cookies.

700 Filbert St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-781-2015

XOX Truffles Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez

XOX Truffles
A local treasure that produces pop-in-your-mouth-size cocoa powder-dusted truffles in a wide assortment of flavors like Caramel, Hazelnut and French Roast.

754 Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, Ca
415-421-4814
Online: xoxtruffles.com

Do you have a favorite North Beach haunt or hangout? 

—Garrick Ramirez

Photography by Garrick Ramirez