San Francisco has an alternative kind of vibe. So while you’re here, visit some alternative kinds of museums.
The Beat Museum (540 Broadway): North Beach is the home to City Lights Bookstore, founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. History remembers him for standing trial for obscenity, after publishing Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl.” You can see a signed first edition of the book he published at the Beat Museum, also in North Beach. Along with it, you’ll find a wacky collection of memorabilia from Beatniks like Jack Kerouac, including Kerouac bobble heads, old issues of Playboy that feature Kerouac, and a 1961 check Kerouac wrote to a liquor store. Plus, you have to love a museum with a phone number like this: 800-KER-OUAC. The Campton Place Taj Hotel is close by.
Cartoon Art Museum (655 Mission Street): While many people might not view cartoons as “high art,” drawing them takes a special talent and some attract a cult-like following. Whether or not you’re following the plotlines of Batman or know the difference between Japanese Manga and Anime, you’ll enjoy the range of styles found at the Cartoon Museum. And, by the way, the museum’s phone number is 800-CAR-TOON. Stay at the St. Regis San Francisco and you’ll be around the corner from this Yerba Buena Center museum.