Best Little Italy Precincts in the U.S.
From Manhattan to San Francisco, the U.S. unfurls countless bastions of Italian-American culture. Here are a few of our faves.
North Beach, San Francisco, California
More than just a red light nightlife district, North Beach is where “Joltin’” Joe (and brothers Vince and Dom) Dimaggio grew up.
Where to stay: The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco
Little Italy, San Diego, California
Gentrification swept over Little Italy, San Diego long ago but the ‘hood is still a notable enclave of Old World culture. A superb Farmers’ Mercato is held in the Downtown district every Saturday.
Where to stay: Doubletree Club Hotel San Diego
Wooster Square, New Haven, Connecticut
The state of Connecticut has one of the highest percentages of residents with Italian ancestry and, as such, many Little Italies of note. Wooster Square in New Haven, however, is supremely significant because of two foodie icons: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and Sally’s Apizza.
Where to stay: Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale
Little Italy, Near West Side, Chicago, Illinois
Sub from Conte Di Savoia, Little Italy, Chicago – Photo credit
Trattoria-style restaurants, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and the historic Roman Catholic churches Our Lady of Pompeii, Notre Dame de Chicago, and Holy Family populate Chicago’s most conspicuous Little Italy precinct.
Where to stay: JW Marriott Hotel Chicago
North End, Boston, Massachusetts
Restaurants pack tiny North End, Boston like sardines and lure a lot of traffic to an area of the city that once held close to 50,000 Italians.
Where to stay: Fairmont Battery Wharf Boston
Little Italy, Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore’s ethnic ‘hoods infuse the hardscrabble city with untold character. Little Italy is a hot restaurant destination and real estate market of the moment.
Where to stay: Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Columbus Park, Kansas City, Missouri
Home to good K.C.-style Italian comfort food and the Art in Columbus Park festival.
Where to stay: Hilton President Kansas City
The Hill, Saint Louis, Missouri
The Hill has a long and proud Italian heritage and famous native sons like Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola.
Where to stay: Holiday Inn St Louis – Forest Park
Little Italy, Omaha, Nebraska
A sad shell of the vibrant community it once was, Little Italy Omaha is still worth a look. The small district resonates with vital landmarks, like Saint Francis Cabrini Church, Marino’s Italian Grocery and Orsi’s Bakery.
Where to stay: Hilton Hotel Omaha
Hoboken, New Jersey
Across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Hoboken is steeped in the Italian-American experience and was the birthplace of one Francis Albert Sinatra.
Where to stay: Gansevoort Hotel New York City
Arthur Avenue, Fordham, The Bronx, New York
New York City is awash with Little Italy precincts, well above and beyond the most famous one in Manhattan. Arthur Avenue in The Bronx is one such pulse point, with all the requisite pop culture references, from A Bronx Tale to The Sopranos.
Where to stay: Best Western Bronx Inn New York City
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
One could just as easily point to Big Apple Italian-American pockets of Staten Island and Queens but it’s hard to overlook Bensonhurst. Once a notorious mafia hotbed clichÃ©, the Brooklyn ‘hood hosts the ever-popular Festa di Santa Rosalia every summer.
Where to stay: Condor Hotel Brooklyn
Mulberry Street, Manhattan, New York
Manhattan’s Little Italy has been reduced to one street – Mulberry – over time, with the gradual encroachment of Chinatown and Nolita. Still, the inherent charm persists, from the Feast of San Gennaro to the red-checkered tablecloths.
Where to stay: Soho Grand Hotel New York
Bella Vista, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The City of Brotherly Love’s Italian ancestry is rife, with various permutations throughout. Bella Vista, in South Philly, is home to the terrific Italian Market and Bella Vista Festa.
Where to stay: Loews Philadelphia Hotel
Bloomfield, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The current hipster city of choice in America still clings to immigrant blue-collar roots, most notably in rowhouse, alley-rich Bloomfield. The urban ‘hood hosts the Little Italy Days Festival every year.
Where to stay: Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown
Federal Hill, Providence, Rhode Island
Italian ancestry accounts for 20% of Rhode Island’s population so it stands to reason that visitors will find a good Little Italy in the Ocean State. The place to be is Federal Hill, Providence, where Garibaldi Square, DePasquale Plaza and numerous grocers and restaurants lure locals and tourists alike.
Where to stay: The Westin Providence