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Literary San Francisco

Take a bookworm tour of San Francisco

Lovers of the Beat generation should stop by the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, where writers such as Jack Kerouac used to hang out.
San Francisco is a city with a rich literary history and culture. The city was home to several famous authors, including Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and Beat poet Allan Ginsberg. Today, book-lovers have several options for experiencing San Francisco’s literary highlights.

The city’s beloved City Lights bookstore in the North Beach district is a must-see for fans of the Beat generation. Jack Kerouac, Allan Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady used to meet up here to read and exchange ideas. Other spots to visit include café and bar Vesuvio, another Beat haunt, and Caffe Trieste, famous for being the place where Francis Ford Coppola wrote most of the screenplay of “The Godfather.”

Literature-minded travelers should take a themed walking tour of the city. Options include a self-guided Beatnik Walk and a book-themed tour run by Dashiell Hammett enthusiast Don Herron. For $20, Herron takes visitors to all the San Francisco sites from Hammett’s books. The author’s most famous work is the classic novel “The Maltese Falcon,” which was turned into a 1941 movie starring Humphrey Bogart. The tour meets near the San Francisco main library, and tour dates are available online.

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