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Tour code: 6393BEAT
Learn about the Beat generation, the Barbary Coast and San Francisco’s Italian community on this 2-hour historical walking tour in North Beach, including admission to the Beat Museum. Led by a local guide, you’ll hear the stories behind the neighborhood’s coffee shops, jazz clubs and speakeasies. Pass Vesuvio, a favorite drinking spot of the Beats, as well as City Lights Bookstore, Kerouac Alley and 1010 Montgomery. Then head to the Beat Museum to see memorabilia from Allen Ginsberg and other big-time writers.

Highlights

  • Discover the history behind San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood on this 2-hour walking tour
  • Learn about the Beat writers and Italian anarchists from an expert guide
  • Pass famous landmarks including City Lights Bookstore, Vesuvio and The Cellar
  • Admire memorabilia from Beat icons like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac at the Beat Museum

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

North Beach Underground Tour with Beat Museum Admission

See the old haunts of the Beat icons

Begin your cultural underground tour in Kerouac Alley of North Beach, where the Beat Generation congregated in the 1950s. Follow your guide into the streets to learn about the lives of writers and visionaries such as On the Road author Jack Kerouac, and discover some of the edgier stories behind this famous neighborhood.

Learn about the Gold Rush days when the Barbary Coast was home to sailors who got ‘shanghaied’; get an overview of Italians who settled and hear of the anarchists among them; discover why gay bars, drag shows and Broadway’s adult entertainment thrived here; and get a pulse on the punk scene of the 1980s.

You’ll understand why the Beat movement, marked by tolerance, rejection of censorship, environmental awareness, experimental drug use and spirituality seeking really took off in San Francisco. In addition to walking past a secret underground tunnel, speakeasies and the infamous Broadway Street strip joints, your guide shares old photos of places that existed during the Beat Generation heyday and reads literary excerpts referencing the historical sites on your tour.

See City Lights Bookstore, co-founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was involved in a high-profile obscenity trial for publishing Ginsberg's famous collection Howl and Other Poems. Check out Vesuvio, a bar frequented by Beats, and The Cellar, which was an influential jazz and poetry club. Pass by places Beats once called home — including 1010 Montgomery, where Ginsberg wrote part of Howl.

Your 2-hour cultural tour concludes at Washington Square Park but you can head back to the Beat Museum (admission included) after your adventure if you wish. Be sure to explore the first-edition manuscripts, letters and personal memorabilia at the museum on your own to learn more about the influential and passionate lives of the Beat Generation.

Customer Reviews

Kurt E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Covers both history of The Beat Generation members and events as well as the rich and long history of San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. Very knowledgeable and fun tour guide. Highly Recommended!

Evelyn G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

It was a great walking tour, covering the history of the area going back to the Gold Rush, with special emphasis on the Beat Generation. Our guide was very knowledgeable. Afterwards, I was able to take in the Beat Museum at my own pace. As a result of the tour, I'm now reading Kerouac's On the Road.

Alexandra H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

My husband and I had a great time! Ryan was an absolutely first-rate guide and we had lots of opportunities to ask questions and talk about our own experiences in SF during the 60s. Worth every penny and more! We'll be back next year to take another walking tour with Ryan and his group of guides. We can't wait, we had so much fun!

Andrew M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Interesting!

Didn't realise there was so much history around North Beach and The Beatniks!

Thanks for a lovely afternoon, we even went to the Vesuvio for 1 of Jack's favourite drinks after!!

grobtuch

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Van was excellent. This was very enjoyable for me 58 y.o. woman and my 2 sons - 23 and 24 y.o.

Dr. Frank S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Ryan did a great tour. He brought us North Beach and the Beat very close. Thanks, we really enjoyed it.

Reena A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2014

Ok, so if I could give this tour more stars I would. If you want to know more about the Beat Gen and San Fran - please do this tour. They charge you so little and they actually provide you so much more than they describe on Viator. Ryan, our tour guide, is a fount of knowledge when it comes to Beat writing, the Beat Generation hot spots and their writing.

Ryan takes you to their old haunts and gives you insights into their lives, influences, loves, vices and writing. He knows the ins and outs of the area (he also does the foodie / restaurant tours and gave us some great restaurant suggestions). Also, the guy is hilarious. The museum itself is amazing and inside is the original car from On the Road - filth and all. The owner is welcoming and attentive. They have some amazing Beat artifacts, books and media available (it has its own little makeshift cinema). I purchased some amazing things from the museum, like a poster that I absolutely fell in love with. Brandon, who also works in the Museum, was kind enough to wrap it up nicely and it survived the entire trip (about 8 + flights) in my bag - thank you dude! I will be framing it and hanging it up in my new apartment in Sydney, Aus.

Ryan also suggested that we go to two restuarants one in a Lighthouse (below sea level) and another on Mission St called La Taqueria. Both were EXCELLENT.

My friends and I loved this tour. I know I will be back soon and will be visiting there again.

From USD $ 25.00

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