Barbary Coast may have started as San Francisco’s red-light district during the California Gold Rush, but today it represents an area enveloped by parts of Chinatown, North Beach, Jackson Square and the Financial District. The Barbary Coast developed as an outgrowth of Sydney-Town – where Australian immigrants congregated in the latter half of the 19th century. The name Barbary Coast was inspired by the coast of North Africa, where piracy and theft ran prevalent and spoke to San Francisco’s own piracy culture of the time.
Visitors of San Francisco can follow the historic Barbary Coast Trail, which extends 3.8 miles and weaves through Downtown, Union Square, Chinatown, Portsmouth Square, Jackson Square Historic District, Old Barbary Coast, Beat San Francisco, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower, Fishermans Wharf, San Francisco Martime Historical National Park, Ghirardelli Square and Nob Hill. Along the route one can observe historic sites that make San Francisco the place it is today.