San Francisco is fertile ground for creativity. A legacy of free thinking and innovation stretches as far back as the Gold Rush, when enterprising adventurers struck out to get rich at the edge of the known world. Since then, artists have been coming here to write, to be inspired and to build movements.
From Mark Twain’s iconic love-hate relationship with the city to its idolization by the Beats, San Francisco has been at the center of America’s literary scene. It’s in this spirit that the city’s premier annual literary festival, Litquake, was born. Each October, this is where San Franciscans come to quench their word thirst. Authors give talks and readings and make themselves accessible to book lovers. Litquake is headlined by some of the world’s best writers, from local novelists Michael Chabon and Amy Tan to the cult-favorite cultural critic Rebecca Solnit. Once you’ve digested all that great writing, you can move on to consuming delicious fare steeped in literary history.
Check out these three San Francisco locations perfect for stimulating your inner writer:
Tosca Cafe: Writers, actors and other creative types have been convening at this iconic literary landmark for nearly 100 years. 242 Columbus Ave., 415.986.9651, toscacafesf.com
Vesuvio: Drink with the tortured ghosts of creative history. This has been the preferred watering hole of Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Francis Ford Coppola. 225 Columbus Ave., vesuvio.com
Washington Square Park: We all know that writers often pinch their pennies, especially when starting out. Grab a panini from anywhere in North Beach and enjoy this small square patch of nature in the city. Union & Stockton Sts., sfrecpark.org