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The Beat Museum

Certificate of Excellence
North Beach / Telegraph Hill
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Address: 540 Broadway (at Columbus), San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: 415-399-9626
10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Description: The mission of The Beat Museum is to spread the values of The Beat...
The mission of The Beat Museum is to spread the values of The Beat Generation--tolerance, inclusiveness, and having the courage to live your own individual truth. Our first floor contains our book shop and gift shop, as well as the entrance to the Beat Museum. The second floor contains six rooms of exclusive Beat era memorabilia.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 52 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 20
  • 26
    Very good
  • 4
  • 1
  • 1
Beatnik Hall of Fame

For an aging hippie this place is a must. It is one of the most interesting places to visit in all of San Francisco. You won't find your usual mixture of tourists here, it is a... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed December 11, 2014
Charles H
Eugene, Oregon
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52 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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  • French first
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English first
North Yorkshire
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
11 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2015 NEW

This is a small museum located in, behind and above a book shop at 540 Broadway, North Beach, San Francisco. It costs $8 to get in ($5 if a senior) and there is everything you need to know about Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs et al. Lots of displays, information and a (non stop) video show... More 

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1 review
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015 via mobile

If you want your kids to learn that drugs and sex are ok in moderation then go there. The only thing I learned is that Jack Kerouac was a drop out with no commitment to finish any thing he started. Who also was a man who could not commit to his wife, and died of alcohol poisoning. Boy what a... More 

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Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2015

This museum is small but perfectly formed. You get the idea very quickly that it is a museum conceived and run by those who love the work of the Beat Generation. There's a lovely quirkiness and human-ness about it that makes you feel a little better about life in general as well as better informed when you walk back out... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Southington, Connecticut
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2015

I must have spent about 2 hours in this little museum which is housed in what otherwise would be a hip apartment, at least I began to almost feel as though I lived there after a while. Perhaps it is the decor which includes an old 1940s era sofa and other furniture from the beat generation that made the place... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Eugene, Oregon
Top Contributor
201 reviews 201 reviews
79 attraction reviews
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2014

For an aging hippie this place is a must. It is one of the most interesting places to visit in all of San Francisco. You won't find your usual mixture of tourists here, it is a very different kind of museum, exceptionally well done. Make sure to chat with the curator, he is a wealth of beat knowledge

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2014

I have long been a fan of the Beat Generation authors, Jack Kerouac specifically, and when I was planning things to do on a recent trip to San Francisco, I had to include this on my list. Google Maps lied to me when it said it was a 23 minute walk from Powell/Market, it was way longer, lol. The building... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Wheatland, California
Top Contributor
196 reviews 196 reviews
57 attraction reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2014

I must preface this by saying I knew absolutely nothing about the Beat generation or their work before visiting this museum. I have never read any of their books or anything. I saw the museum here on Tripadvisor and thought it would be interesting to learn...especially since it only costs $8 to get in. I even found a Groupon so... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Melbourne, Australia
4 reviews 4 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014

We only have a few days here and on my husbands birthday we decided to go to Haight Ashbury and the Beat Museum. Haight Ashbury was cool but by far the highlight of the day was The Beat museum. Quaintly uncommercial and very informative. A fantastic bookshop with some rare books and other items for sale. Unmissable for lovers of... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2014

This place is going to be awesome once they finish their collection. It's fairly small at the moment but full of knowledge and memorabilia. The location is key, being close to where several of these historical events actually took place. Awesome little museum, a must seem for fans of American literature.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Berkeley, California
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
24 attraction reviews
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2014

We stumbled on this while waiting for a restaurant down the street to open. It was a nice surprise. They have done a nice job laying out the history, poetry, and music of the time. There are two floors of information, posters, and if you are one of the younger baby boomers, this will remind you of the shows you... More 

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Staying in North Beach / Telegraph Hill

Neighborhood Profile
North Beach / Telegraph Hill
The aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, the sounds of opera, and the sights of the romantic Italian ristorante come together to create the charming neighborhood of North Beach, once the stomping grounds for the Beatnik Generation. Although parts of North Beach are known for nightlife that’s not always suitable for younger visitors, few neighborhoods in the city exude as much European charm and style. Peruse a bookstore for the literature of Kerouac, Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg, grab some gelato and head to Washington Square for a perfect afternoon of people watching. Just east of North Beach, the hills and staircases of Telegraph Hill are a unique delight. At its peak, the art deco Coit Tower provides sweeping panoramic views of the bay and city. The beautifully landscaped Filbert Street Steps, a street too steep for a roadway, rewards those willing to hike uphill. Keep your ears open and you might even hear the squawk of the wild parrots who call this neighborhood home.
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