- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Jackson Square Historic District
Jackson Square Historic District Review
This was the heart of the Barbary Coast of the Gay '90s (the 1890s, that is). Although most of the red-light district was destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake, the remaining old redbrick buildings, many of them now occupied by advertising agencies, law offices, and antiques firms, retain hints of the romance and rowdiness of San Francisco's early days.
With its gentrified gold rush-era buildings, the 700 block of Montgomery Street just barely evokes the Barbary Coast days, but this was a colorful block in 19th century and on into the 20th. Writers Mark Twain and Bret Harte were among the contributors to the spunky Golden Era newspaper, which occupied No. 732 (now part of the building at No. 744). From 1959 to 1996 the late ambulance-chaser extraordinaire, lawyer Melvin Belli, had his headquarters at Nos. 722 and 728-730. There was never a dull moment in Belli's world; he represented clients from the actress Mae West to Gloria Sykes (who in 1964 claimed that a cable-car accident turned her into a nymphomaniac) to the disgraced televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Whenever he won a case, he fired a cannon and raised the Jolly Roger. Belli was also known for receiving a letter from the never-caught Zodiac killer.
Restored 19th-century brick buildings line Hotaling Place, which connects Washington and Jackson streets. The lane is named for the head of the A.P. Hotaling Company whiskey distillery (451 Jackson St., at Hotaling Pl.), the largest liquor repository on the West Coast in its day. (Anchor Distillery still makes an occasional Hotaling whiskey in the city, by the way; look for this single malt for a sip of truly local flavor.) The exceptional City Guides (415/557-4266 www.sfcityguides.org) Gold Rush City walking tour covers this area and brings its history to life.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- $211 & up -- 4.5 Star The Fairmont San Francisco, Save 35% Expedia
- $117 & up -- San Francisco Union Square Hotel, 50% Off BookIt.com
- $128 & up -- San Francisco Hotel w/Breakfast, 45% Off — $128 BookIt.com
- $199 -- San Francisco Hotel near Fisherman's Wharf — $199 Courtyard San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
- $159 & up -- Historic San Francisco 4-Star Hotel, 50% Off — $159 Westin St. Francis
Just thought I'd post our trip report from this past weekend at the Big Sur Marathon. Read more
I’m just going to state the nitty-gritty to keep this post short. Read more
To summarize, I'll be in San Francisco (with a friend, without a car) late Tuesday 6/4 through sometime Saturday 6/8. Read more
· News & Features
The James Beard award winners were just announced this week, so the race is on to try and get a table... Read more
From a hidden drum circle in Washington DC to awesome sushi in Chicago's Ukrainian neighborhood, we've... Read more
You could go to San Francisco ten times and still not see it all, so we're here to help curate your nex... Read more