At the intersection of Columbus and Broadway in San Francisco, lies the heart of San Francisco's North Beach Neighborhood
. Standing at the intersection and looking back towards downtown San Francisco, you'll have a direct view of the Transamerica Pyramid which lies at the head of Columbus Street. The Transamerica Pyramid was build in 1972, features a hollow 212-foot spire, and is the tallest building in San Francisco.
Looking to the right of the Pyramid along Columbus street (at Jack Kerouac Alley) is the Vesuvio Cafe. Established in 1948, Vesuvio itself was a hang out spot for beat writers and artists. Jack Kerouac became a regular of the cafe and he famously spent a night here in 1960 when he should have been on his way to Big Sur to meet with Henry Miller. Kerouac called Miller every hour telling him that he was delayed leaving the city. Meanwhile he continued to drink. He never made it to see Miller that night. Today, the cafe continues to attract a diverse clientele.
Across Jack Kerouac Alley at 261 Columbus is the historic City Lights Booksellers and Publishers
, which is still one of the best bookstores in the city. City Lights was a popular hang out for (and publisher of) beat poets and writers, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti (the store's founder), Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac.
Catty-corner across the street is the Condor Club. On June 19, 1964, San Francisco's Condor Club became the first topless bar in the United States. Other clubs in the North Beach neighborhood followed suit a few days later.