San Francisco

You may know San Francisco as a foodie town, or as the gateway to Silicon Valley. But it is also a big literary city, and has been home to many well-known authors and other creative types over the years.

If you’re looking for places to visit where you can soak up some of the city’s writerly vibe, perhaps during a stay at Loews Regency San Francisco, here are 3 literary haunts to check out in San Francisco.

Beat Museum San Francisco | Loews Regency San Francisco Blog

Photo via The Beat Museum/Facebook.

The Beat Museum

If you’re a fan of the Beats, and want to get a glimpse into the renegade writer/artist/deep thinker scene of San Francisco in the ’50s, head to North Beach to visit this extensive collection of Beat memorabilia. You’ll see original manuscripts, personal possessions, letters and valuable first editions from big-name Beats like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, along with items from some of the collective’s less-famous creatives, too.

City Lights Bookstore | Loews Regency Blog

City Lights Bookstore

Yes, there are still wonderful independent bookstores in this age of big-box stores and Kindles and Nooks. This one has been around since the Beat era and even has its own publishing arm – Ginsberg’s Howl was published here. You can wander the stores nooks and crannies and wooden staircases and browse a huge of titles, both old and new, fiction and non-fiction. There is also a fantastic literary journal section and cases displaying City Lights-published fiction, poetry, memoir, literary translations and books on a range of social and political issues.

Mechanics Institute Library San Francisco

Photo via Mechanics’ Institute Library/Facebook

The Mechanics’ Institute Library and Chess Room

Not a mechanic? That’s OK. This historic collection has grown over the years to become a library specializing not just in mechanical arts but also in literature, art, performance, philosophy, business and finance. The institute was established in 1854, when it really did serve the needs of mechanics and their families. Today, the chance to admire the 9-story landmark building on Post Street is a highlight of a visit, along with regular author readings, film screenings and other literary events. This is also home to the oldest continuously operated chess club in the country – and you can sign up for a game yourself in the Chess Room.

For more literary spots around San Francisco, check out this great interactive map by the San Francisco Chronicle.

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