Things to Do in San Francisco: Explore Beat Generation SitesWalk in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood and beyond. Writings from Kerouac, his fellow authors, and the Beat movement in general had a large influence on American politics and culture, and would contribute profoundly to the hippie counterculture that was to follow. The Beat movement spread out from the Bay Area from its epicenter at City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio Café. Today, following in the steps of the Beats is one of the top things to do in San Francisco for travelers of every generation who have been inspired by the Beat Generation. Ready to go on the road?
What Is the Beat Generation? Exploration, Liberation, and UnconventionalityLaunched in the post-World War II era of the 1950s, the Beat Generation was a literary movement that celebrated modern jazz, free love, casual drug use, and Zen Buddhism. It was started by a group of authors including Kerouac (who coined the "Beat" name), William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg - but soon attracted all types of young people who rejected society's conventional values in favor of hedonism and creativity. They were inspired by European romanticism, French surrealism, and early American transcendentalism. Important elements of the Beat movement include:
- Spiritual quests and religious exploration, particularly of Eastern religions
- Non-conformity, anti-authoritarianism, and the rejection of materialism
- Jazz, poetry, and spontaneous creativity
- Sexual liberation and free love
- Psychedelic drugs, especially used to enhance productivity and insight