With a past life as part of the Barbary Coast (think bars, brothels, and gambling dens), Jackson Square is a vibrant area rich with shopping, casual cuisine, and fashionable new hangouts. It’s small and charming, with neighborhoods like the Financial District, North Beach, and Chinatown surrounding it on all sides, each lending some of their own distinct flavor. Art-focused and avant-garde, the vibe here feels old-world. Many of the buildings have gorgeous brick facades, not often found in earthquake-prone San Francisco. Some consider it underrated, others a well-kept secret, but everyone seems to agree that Jackson Square is the ideal place to shop and stroll.