NOPA, San Francisco, CA
NOPA - What Is In A Name?
Thought all of the city's great neighborhoods were downtown? Think again. Welcome to NOPA (North of the Panhandle) - one of the city's most diverse and interesting areas. Recently rediscovered by San Franciscan's, NOPA is on the cusp of the better known Haight-Ashbury district. Beautifully situated on top of Golden Gate Park's panhandle. It boasts some of the best dining and entertainment in the city, and its residential, slightly quieter feel makes it very attractive as a respite from the bustle of the Financial District or SOMA.
Once an area known for its jumping jazz joints (Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington were regular performers on Fillmore Street), NOPA (formerly known as the Western Addition) was transformed in the 1960's and 70's during the heyday of the city's urban renewal program. The area got a facelift, and its housing stock is modern and spacious in many areas, exemplified by the gorgeous Caledonia at Post development. The blocks that survived the teardowns, however, remain some of the most famous in the city, including the iconic "Postcard Row."
Today, although quieter than it used to be, NOPA still boasts a number of great nightclubs and tasty restaurants: The Independent and Madrone are particularly popular with the club set, and Little Star Pizza, routinely praised by Chicagoans as the best Pizza west of The Second City. If it is peace and refuge you seek, look no further than Japan Town's sleek modern peace pagoda or the oasis in the city that is Alamo Square.
This summary is based on individual opinions. Individual experience of the neighborhood may vary.