Hotel at a Glance: Le Méridien San Francisco
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, more modern upper level—helped land it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Le Méridien San Francisco was recently renovated and some guest rooms feature wall coverings that reveal topographical maps of the surrounding area. A landscaped pedestrian bridge connects the Federal Reserve directly to Le Méridien, a hotel filled with chic touches such as a golden spiral staircase, a sunlit library, and a renowned restaurant.
- Drink seasonally at Bar 333 or dine on market-fresh cuisine and fine wine at Park Grill. Two cocktails and two appetizers at the Bar 333 are included with each option.
- Stylish rooms come complete with Frette sheets and granite bathrooms.
- A room with a view: Many of the guest rooms look out onto the glittering San Francisco skyline.
- Award-winning staff: The hotel’s concierges are all members of Les Clefs d’Or—a national organization of hotel lobby concierges dedicated to provided excellent service.
- In the neighborhood: The Embarcadero, Chinatown, and North Beach—San Francisco’s “Little Italy”—are all within walking distance.
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.