Four-Star Hotel Attached to Historic Building
San Francisco’s Old Federal Reserve Bank building served as the city’s financial headquarters for nearly 60 years. The building’s mix of architectural styles—there’s a Parisian Beaux Arts colonnade lined with statues of eagles and a newer, modern upper level—helped land it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. A landscaped pedestrian bridge connects the Federal Reserve directly to Le Méridien, a modern hotel filled with chic touches such as a golden spiral staircase, a sunlit library, and a renowned restaurant.
Le Méridien’s award-winning concierges are all members of Les Clefs d’Or and can help you navigate the abundance of attractions located just minutes from the hotel. The Embarcadero, Chinatown, and North Beach—San Francisco’s “Little Italy”—are all within walking distance. Many of these iconic neighborhoods can be seen from the guest rooms and suites, which feature flat-screen TVs, granite bathrooms, and luxurious Frette sheets.
Stop by the hotel’s lounge for a cocktail, or head to Park Grill for market-fresh cuisine served amid views of the city. Knowledgeable waiters can recommend the best California wines from the restaurant’s extensive collection.
San Francisco’s North Beach: Bakeries, Scenic Vistas, and Beatnik History in City’s Little Italy
From its cafés serving especially strong espresso to its bakeries selling cannoli and focaccia, North Beach has held to its Italian heritage since fishers from Genoa immigrated to the area more than a century ago. Sandwiched between Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach centers around Washington Square park, which abuts the Saints Peter and Paul Church. To find the epicenter of the neighborhood’s noticeable beatnik influence, walk about three blocks south to City Lights Bookstore. The independent bookstore and publisher has remained a symbol of San Francisco’s literary scene and progressive politics since the 1950s, when it was a hangout of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
To the east is Telegraph Hill, a primarily residential enclave with one of the city’s most popular vistas. From Washington Square, head east and keep climbing up. At the top, you’ll reach Coit Tower, a 210-foot monument that many have described as resembling a giant fire-hose nozzle (though that was not the designer’s intent). Those who take the elevator to the tower’s observation deck are rewarded with panoramic views, including Golden Gate Bridge to the west, Alcatraz Island to the north, and the San Francisco skyline to the south.