As you may know from my previous articles I have just returned from a week long holiday in San Francisco! The experience was incredible and I have so many stories from it – because when I go on holiday I like to GO EVERYWHERE and DO EVERYTHING. Never a dull moment.
I like to explore the world on my own terms, doing what I want when I want and how I want to; a lot of the time hanging off the beaten path. That being said I’m a HUGE beat writer fan and spent most of my time following the San Franciscan footsteps of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the like – which is not something that is on too many tourists agendas. So the point of this article, aside from just wanting to tell everyone about my trip, is to open you all to new possible experiences that you can experience on your own time and in your own way. No pressure, you don’t have to do any of these.
I am always open to suggestions and people sharing their experiences with me, as everyone has to have a base of information when they take a trip, but as the great Sinatra once said … “I did it myyyy wayyyy” (Or Paul Anka, Elvis, or Sid Vicious – whomever you prefer).
A short list of my faves:
Musee Mechanique – A very cute little arcade situated just of to the side of Fisherman’s Wharf. All the arcade games are turn of the century – meaning that if you want a machine to tell you just how desirable you are or have a puppet tell your future for just 25 cents. This is the place to go! (Note: You may just recognize this from a certain scene in The Princess Diaries)
Naked Lunch – A bar/eatery in North Beach dedicated to, you guessed it, William S. Burroughs. I always believe in knowing the history of a place such as this, in this case it’s named after the work of a famous beat writer. But in case that’s not quite your thing then trust that you will have the opportunity to be served a 6 pack of beer for $12, play some pool, eat some yummy food, and chat up the bartender.
Peddle Boating in Golden Gate Park – Something that I found out very quickly about GGP, everything there costs a lot of money. The park itself is free, but if you want to check out the gardens, the Japanese Tea Gardens, or any of the museums, you’re going to have to shell out. Peddle Boating isn’t exactly free either, but for $28 and an hour of time out on a lake watching birds and going under bridges and looking at waterfalls, you’re going to be glad you said yes.
City Lights Bookstore/ Bound Together Anarchist Collective Bookstore / Needles and Pens – You’re not going to find any Nicholas Sparks in these places; but if you’re looking for an entire floor of books dedicated to beat writers, a room dedicated to anarchist and counterculture lit, or a collection of zines written by a death row inmate at San Quentin, then these are the places to check out. Of all the money I spent in Frisco, I spent the most on books. Fact.
Chinatown – This IS a touristy place, I get it. But it’s also one of the most beautiful Chinatown’s I’ve ever been to. While you’re there grab some fresh cookies from the Fortune Cookie Factory or get a massage from L’amore (Just kidding, I just saw the sign when I was there and had a chuckle).