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A Beatnik Walk through North Beach

Experience the remnants of Beat culture in one of San Francisco's great neighborhoods
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Unknown
Length: 0.6 miles
Duration: Unknown

Overview:  Beyond the aroma of cappuccino and focaccia, the café tables spilling onto the sidewalk, and the convivial air, North Beach is ... more »

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Points of Interest

Take a look at the exterior of the store: the replica of a revolutionary mural destroyed in Chiapas, Mexico, by military forces; the poetry in the windows; and the sign that says "TURN YOUR SELL [sic] PHONE OFF. BE HERE NOW." This place isn't just doling out best sellers. Designated a city landmark, the hangout of Beat-era writers—Allen ... More

2. Jack Kerouac Alley

Kerouac Alley, branching off Columbus Avenue next to City Lights, was rehabbed in 2007. Embedded in the pavement are quotes from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Maya Angelou, Confucius, John Steinbeck, and of course, the Kerouac himself.

If you're only hitting one bar in North Beach, it should be this one. The low-ceiling second floor of this raucous boho hangout, little altered since its 1960s heyday (when Jack Kerouac frequented the place), is a fine vantage point for watching the colorful Broadway and Columbus Avenue intersection. Another part of Vesuvio's appeal is its diverse... More

It's hard to tell whether the folks who opened this small museum in 2006 are serious—what would the counterculture say about the $18 "Beat beret"? But if you're truly Beat-curious, stop by. Check out the "Beat pad," a mockup of one of the cheap, tiny North Beach apartments the writers and artists populated in the 1950s,... More

5. 1010 Montgomery St

A block down Broadway brings you to Montgomery; Allen Ginsberg wrote “Howl” while living at No. 1010.

The Giotta family celebrates the art of a good espresso as well as a good tune at Caffè Trieste. Every Saturday (as they have since 1971) from noon to 2 PM, the family presents a weekly musical. Arrive early to secure seats. The program ranges from Italian pop and folk music to operas, and patrons are encouraged to participate. If you're... More

7. Grant Avenue

Originally called Calle de la Fundación, Grant Avenue is the oldest street in the city, but it's got plenty of young blood. Here dusty bars such as the Saloon and perennial favorites like the Savoy Tivoli mix with hotshot boutiques, odd curio shops like the antique jumble that is Aria, atmospheric cafés, and authentic Italian delis. ... More