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Beat Generation

Starts at:

Jack Kerouac Alley, North Beach


1 hour 30 minutes

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Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and many of the writers of the Beat Generation started a revolution in San Francisco. Hear how and why while you tumble in and out of the same bars, cafes and bookstores they did.

When the poets and novelists of the Beat Generation first found San Francisco, most were nobodies. A bunch of working class guys with poetry in their pockets and an intense desire to break free from the oppressive norms of the 1950s. But within a few years, they had changed this City - and this country - forever.

Kerouac and Ginsberg and a lot of the Beat writers are gone now. But they really did leave their hearts here. Walk in their footsteps through North Beach, ride a cable car to their homes, and feel them pulling you into their "living rooms." Listen to their words and look back at 1950s San Francisco with people who actually lived it: poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure and Joanne Kyger.

Tips & Hours

  • This Detour can be taken any day of the week. The essential stops are open until at least 10pm and every hour has its own magic.

  • You’ll need $10 in cash for a cable car ride and a cash only café.

  • Also, it’s hard to predict when the cable cars will be packed. Don’t be deterred if a full one passes you up -- another will come by!

  • It's nice to take your time on this Detour. If that's your plan, just make sure you leave more than the minimum hour and a half.