Beat Museum in San Francisco

Discover the History of this
Generation in SF's North Beach

The Beat Museum in San Francisco covers the history of the Beat Generation. This small attraction includes a number of original works of art, writings and other pieces of memorabilia from this generation of artists.

At this North Beach site, you can learn more about the people involved this generation. You will also learn more about how their works continue to inspire young artists today.

beat museum san francisco

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Who Was the Beat Generation?

They were a group of young artists, poets and writers in the 1950s. They lived a life that was considered alternative and radical at that time. Many of their works also didn't follow the more conservative rules of the 50s.

Most of the artists grew up on the east coast. However, many of them moved to San Francisco in the 1950s. Even at that time, the city was known for its acceptance and tolerance, which is what this group needed to continue their work.

Up their arrival, many of them settled in North Beach. At the time, it was where many other famous writers lived.

Three of the most famous people of this generation include Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

They stayed in this neighborhood for a number of years. Once it became too busy, they moved to the Haight Ashbury district. The group eventually turned into the hippie generation of the 60s and 70s.

What to Expect from the Museum

The Beat Museum in San Francisco is small. However, it includes the most comprehensive display of memorabilia for this generation in the world.

The front part is a bookstore. You will need to enter the bookstore to find the entrance. This is also where you will buy your entrance tickets.

The first floor includes several poems, pictures and articles about the Beat Generation.

beat museum sf

Here you can also see the original work by Jack Kerouac called The Visions of Cody. The book was not published until the 1970s.

visions of cody original

The first floor of the Beat Museum in San Francisco also has a small theater. The video in the theater runs continually and gives you more information on the people of this generation.

beat museum theater

After you watch the documentary, you will head up the stairs to visit the rest of the museum.

beat museum second floor

This is where you will see a display of the books written by this group and learn more about the women of this generation.

women beat generation

You will also learn all about the famous Gallery 66 poetry reading that officially kicked off this generation of artists.

This is the last exhibition area. From here, you can head back downstairs to the bookstore. The bookstore is also dedicated to the Beat Generation. This is where you can buy books written by or about this group of artists.

beat museum bookstore

Before you leave, make sure you also check out the dusty car sitting in the bookstore. It's a 1949 Hudson that was used in the screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac's book 'On the Road'.

hudson beat museum

Why is it so dusty? The director of the film, Walter Salles, gifted the car to the Beat Museum in San Francisco. His only request was that they leave the dirt and grim on the car that was accumulated while making the movie.

Location, Hours & Tickets

A visit here will only take about 45 minutes to an hour. It's the best place to learn more about the Beat Generation.

You will find it on Broadway Street near Columbus Avenue. Here is a map showing its location.

map beat museum


  • Monday - Sunday: 10am to 7pm

Ticket Prices:

You can buy your tickets once you arrive. They are usually less than $10 per person. You will find current rates on their site.

Discounted Tickets: At times, you will also find discounted tickets available on Groupon. Click here for details.

Admission to this museum is also included with the Go San Francisco card.

go sf cardThis attraction discount card includes admission to many other top SF museums such as the California Academy of Sciences, the de Young Museum and the Aquarium of the Bay.

The best thing about this card is that you can save up to 50% off the admission to almost 50 bay area attractions.

Learn more about the card, including the list of included attractions, and how you can save money today!

Other Things to Do in North Beach

coit tower
vesuvio cafe
sf north beach
All North
Beach Activities

Other Pages You Might Enjoy

A Perfect Day in North Beach: Do you want the perfect way to see all of North Beach in just one day? My "Perfect Day" itineraries allow you to do just that! These self-guided journies walk you through the district one attraction at a time. You get the chance to sample the best Italian goodies, learn more about the Beat Generation (including the Beat Museum) and climb to the top of Coit Tower.

A Perfect Day in Chinatown: Right next door to North Beach, you will find SF's Chinatown district. This "Perfect Day" Tour is similar to the one for North Beach. In one day, it takes you to all the hotspots in this district including a few of its temples, the Chinese Fortune Cookie Company and down Grant Avenue for some bargain shoppping.

Waterfront Segway Tour: Another way to catch the sites in North Beach is on the Waterfront Segway Tour. This tour covers quite a bit of ground in both Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach. It's a fun way to learn about this district's history and its former famous residents.

Boutique Hotel Recommendations: Are you looking for a place to stay that offers a more personalized experience or is off the beaten path a little? If so, then check out my Boutique Hotel recommendations. You will find a number of comfortable and inviting places to stay all around the city.

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