Bohemians, Beats, & Beyond

San Francisco has a long and distinguished history as home to pioneers of new ideas and forms of expression ‚ÄĒ artists, activists, and writers who gave voice to issues, movements, and styles that challenged the mainstream ¬†— and often went on to define an entire ¬†generation or the nation.

This tour explores the roots of those creative forces, through the streets, alleys, parks, and key cultural sights of North Beach, Jackson Square, and bits of Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, and Chinatown.  These neighborhoods were home, studio and inspiration to a succession of artists, from the Bohemians of the late 19th C, to the activist literati of the 1930s and the Beats of the post-WWII era.

  • 3 – 3.5 hours, 3 miles, on mostly flat terrain
  • We break in the middle for rest, coffee, and a light snack (included)
  • Small groups – ¬†limited to 12 participants
  • wireless personal listening devices used on all tours, ensuring privacy, safety, and the freedom to wander

Tour Highlights may vary, depending on tour schedule and client preferences, but often include:

  • City Lights, landmark independent bookstore and publisher of Allan Ginsberg’s HOWL and other works of courage
  • Site of Monkey Block, home to a generation of writers, artists, and activists
  • Grant Avenue, with its unique galleries, cafes, artisan shops, performance spaces
  • Washington Square, ¬†San Francisco‚Äôs original village green, where Dante meets Tai-Chi
  • Montgomery Street, a mix of high finance, high design, and fay royalty
  • Murals and sculptures celebrating words, music, protest, zaniness, and baseball

Private tours are available  by appointment.  Contact us to discuss your particulars, request a quote, or book a date.

Public tours  take place May through October, most Saturdays starting at 9:30 a.m.  General Tickets are $45/person. Discounted tickets are available for students 30 and under, and for teachers.  Advance purchase required.   Dates for the  season are posted on Brown Paper Tickets.  See the side bar on this page for a link.


In memoriam:  Saul Galin, 1926-2011

The Bohemians, Beats & Beyond Tour is dedicated to the memory of ¬†Saul Galin, beloved friend and teacher. ¬†Like many Beat poets and writers, Saul came to San Francisco from ¬†New York. ¬†Was born in the ’20s. ¬†Fought in WWII. Used his GI Bill to attend graduate school at Columbia University, where he enrolled in the renowned Lionel Trilling and Jacques Barzun seminar, and earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. Founded and edited Odyssey Review, one of the first journals in America to offer translations of new modern poets from all over the world. ¬†For over 40 years a professor of poetry and drama at CUNY Brooklyn, Saul mentored generations of young writers and artists, and was a silent colleague and collaborator to many nationally known literary figures. ¬†Saul moved to North Beach late in life. ¬†He loved the noise and the crowds and the zaniness of it all, and the old fashioned spaghetti dinners. ¬†Saul encouraged us ¬†to live ¬†“with a hard, gem-like flame”, and embodied the best of the Bohemian spirit. ¬†He is missed by all who knew him.

The fine print

Our underwriter made us do it.  The City and County of San Francisco requires it.  You, too, may be happy to learn that we are a fully insured and licensed tour company.  With the following disclaimer:

Genius Loci Tours and its respective employees, agents and representatives do not own or operate independent suppliers whose goods and services are made available to its tour participants, and therefore accepts no responsibility, in whole or in part, for any personal injury liability, personal liability, physical damage, loss, accident, delay, or irregularity which may occur by reason of (1) any wrongful, negligent, willful, or unauthorized acts or omissions on the part of any of the independent suppliers or other employees or agents, (2) any defect in or failure of any vehicle, equipment, instrument owned, operated or otherwise by any of these suppliers, or (3) any wrongful, willful, or negligent acts or omissions on any part of any other party not under the supervision or control of Genius Loci Tours. No responsibility is accepted for any damage or delay due to illness, pilferage, labor dispute, machinery failure, quarantine, governmental restraints, weather/natural forces, or other causes beyond their personal control. Genius Loci Tours also disclaims any responsibility for personal injury liability, personal liability and/or physical damage arising from acts of negligence of any member of a group participating in a Genius Loci Tours program.