Jack Kerouac Alley

North Beach & Chinatown

'The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great…' This ode by the On the Road and Dharma Bums author is embedded in his namesake alley, a fittingly poetic, streetwise shortcut between Chinatown and North Beach via his favorite haunts City Lights, Vesuvio and a stool near the golden Buddha statue at Li Po – Kerouac was a true believer in literature, Buddhism, and beer.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Beach & Chinatown attractions

1. City Lights Books

0.01 MILES

No one could have predicted the cultural force City Lights would become when it first opened in 1953. Sure, it had a proletarian ethos suggested by its…

2. Beat Museum

0.04 MILES

The closest you can get to the complete Beat experience without breaking a law. The 1000-plus artifacts in this museum's literary-ephemera collection…

3. Mule Gallery

0.07 MILES

Upstart San Francisco artists buck art-world trends and kick out brave new work at the backstreet Mule Gallery. Recent shows have featured artworks by Bay…

4. Columbus Tower

0.11 MILES

If these copper-clad walls could talk, they'd name-drop shamelessly. The tower's original occupant was political boss Abe Ruef, ousted in 1907 and sent to…

5. Wentworth Place

0.13 MILES

Dragons bring this shadowy brick byway roaring to life. The narrow entryway is illuminated with 'Dragon Boats Chasing Moonlight,' a new mosaic mural…

6. Ross Alley

0.14 MILES

Colorful murals hint at the colorful characters who once roamed SF’s oldest alleyway – known during the Gold Rush variously as Mexico, Spanish or Manila…

7. Good Luck Parking Garage

0.16 MILES

Each parking spot at this garage comes with fortune-cookie wisdom stenciled onto the asphalt: 'The time is right to make new friends' or 'Stop searching…

8. Chinese Telephone Exchange

0.17 MILES

California's earliest high-tech adopters weren't 1970s Silicon Valley programmers – they were Chinatown switchboard operators c 1894. To connect callers,…