San Francisco, California audio tour: Barbary Coast: Basking in SF’s Glowing Literary Lights

Barbary Coast: Basking in SF’s Glowing Literary Lights

Walking Tour

40 mins

About the Tour

This route meanders through a beautifully preserved corner of San Francisco. Through North Beach, the home of the beats, punks and jazz to Jackson Square where Gold Miners came to weigh gold, carouse and sleep.

Tour Producer


Joan Gelfand

I'm the author of three widely reviewed poetry collections and an award winning chapbook of short fiction. My work has appeared in over 100 national and international literary journal and anthologies. I received my MFA from Mills College in Oakland, Ca. and I'm the Poetry Editor for the “J,” a member of the National Book Critics Circle and blog for the Huffington Post. “The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics,” a poetry film, was featured in the 4th Annual Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece and many local venues. I have been on the faculty of the San Francisco Writer’s Conference since 2012.

Major Landmarks

  • City Lights Books

  • The Beat Museum

  • Jackson Square Historic District

  • Neibaum Coppola

Directions to Starting Point

The route begins at the corner of Columbus and Broadway. The intersection may be reached by taking BART to Montgomery Street and walking east on Montgomery, or by MUNI bus. Check for bus routes.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Stop at City Lights Books, Cafe Vesuvio, The Beat Museum, Neibaum Coppola, Cafe Pucchini and Stella Bakery.  

Best time of day

Daytime is lovely because of the bay views, but evening is magical. The cafes are bustling and the bookstores and bars offer both ticketed and free jazz, poetry readings and other entertainment.


No particular precautions. North Beach is a safe area.


Loved this tour of one of my favorite neighborhoods in SF! I'd highly recommend this tour to visitors and native San Franciscans alike as I learned a lot that I didn't know.

Posted by Kate Greer , about 5 years ago
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Barbary Coast: Basking in SF’s Glowing Literary Lights