Jack Kerouac Alley

Jack Kerouac Alley, formerly Adler Alley or Adler Place, is a one-way alleyway in San Francisco, California, that connects Grant Avenue in Chinatown, and Columbus Avenue in North Beach.[1] The alley is named after Jack Kerouac, a Beat Generation writer who used to frequent the pub and bookstore adjacent to the alley.[2]

Jack Kerouac Alley
The alley as seen from Columbus Avenue, 2017
NamesakeJack Kerouac
LocationSan Francisco, California, U.S.
West endGrant Avenue in Chinatown
East endColumbus Avenue in North Beach


The alley had commonly been used for garbage dumping and a shortcut for trucks before poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who is the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore, presented his idea in 1988 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to transform the alleyway. The project involved repaving the alley, making it a pedestrian walkway, and installing new street lights.[1] The new look alley was reopened to the public in March 2007 and a ceremony was held in April 2007 to celebrate the reopening. The alley is now known for its engraved Western and Chinese writing, by such writers as John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, Ferlinghetti, and Kerouac himself.[2]


  1. Nolte, Carl (March 30, 2007). "Kerouac Alley has face-lift". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  2. Nolte , Carl (April 1, 2007). "Kerouac Alley is restored with cheer". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
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