Jim Schein on North Beach, San Francisco | Insider's Guide | Travelshopa


Known as San Francisco’s Little Italy, North Beach is a charming historic enclave crammed with alfresco dining spots, coffee shops and gelato parlours. It was also once home to the Beat Generation, where famous beat writers and bohemians including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg nursed their hangovers over cups of espresso at Caffe Trieste.

We caught up with local antique maps dealer, Jim Schein of Schein & Schein, to chart a fresh path of discovery to the neighbourhood of North Beach, San Francisco.



The style/vibe of San Francisco

Although historically laid back and cool, it is recently moving faster and hotter than usual – fun times for those not afraid to take risks. Life revolves around the neighbourhoods, so each area is a little different.


Favourite thing about your city…

It’s a city you can walk and see from all angles


One quirk you’ve observed among the local people…

We like to complain when it gets too hot, like over 70˚F/ 21˚C.


Best time to visit your city…

The city is special any season, so it’s a matter of weather choices. I like warm and sunny, so September to November is great, but some people like cool coastal fog and sea breezes, then I would recommend they come in Summer when it’s 50˚F/10˚ C outside. Spring is sunny, fresh and cool, with little wind, but still good sailing.


Where do you go to be inspired…

Outside my front door, as we’re in the most interesting location in SF and have Upper Grant Avenue, Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Polk Street, Ghirardelli and the Wharf to visit anytime within half a mile of our store and home. The depth of culture and variety of economics provides great inspiration and entertainment.


Best bit about your neighbourhood…

What’s not to love? North Beach is the last great American neighbourhood, homespun and locally produced. That which it lacks, is by choice. Free of middle American formula retail or chains, it’s what all American cities were 50 years ago – local owner operated.


A local phrase one should know…

Where’d you go to school? It means where do you go to high school and it presumes you are local . Anyone answering their college or other education is obviously not from here and the conversation is redirected


Favourite local shopping area…

Upper Grant Avenue, Hayes Street and Valencia Street


Three local shops in your black book…

Knitz and Leathers

Aria Antiques

Pink Blossom


What is one best local hidden gem?

Our Location. We don’t advertise and we try to stay low key so we often hear we are so many peoples’ hidden gem. We live upstairs and 20 stairs away is a great getaway for us.


One site a tourist should definitely visit…

Coit Tower – great viewpoint and best weather


Best place to stay in San Francisco…

Washington Square Inn or maybe with friends, as this is a city best explored with a local guide.


Where can we find you in your downtime…

Walking the neighborhood, exploring wine country in Sonoma County and at the cool sunny SF beaches. (Baker or China Beach)


Schein & Schein 
1435 Grant Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133


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