If you love Beatnik literature, booking a Mexico City trip will transport you back in time to hear the sounds, smell the smells,
and see the sights that inspired Beat heroes such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and others.
Though names have changed and places have slightly evolved, many of the bars, apartments, and landmarks that inspired some of the most legendary Beat works still exist and are not marked with tourist-friendly signs or plaques – just as the anti-establishment authors would have wanted.
- Monterrey 122, on the corner of Chihuahua Street, is the anonymous building in which William Burroughs shot and killed his wife in an attempt to William-Tell a glass off of the top of her head. Burroughs later credited the incident as the catalyst of his writing career.
- Below the apartment where Burroughs killed his wife was the now legendary Bounty Bar, where ex-pats and Beatniks would drink until the sun came up. The bar still stands, but is now a cantina called Krika’s.
- You can also visit another then hang out for the Beats, Plaza Luis Cabrera, on Orizaba at Zacatecas Street. The plaza, filled with trees and a fountain, as well as the cafes that surround it were often the setting for Beats’ drug and alcohol induced conversations, which would later lead to some of literature’s most famous works.
- Chapultepec Park, which is Mexico City’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park, is where Jack Kerouac suggested the name for Burroughs’s novel Naked Lunch.
- Near Tacuba Metro station is the Panteon Americano cemetery. At the very back of the cemetery, lie the remains of Burroughs’s wife, marked with a little inscription that reads: “Joan Vollmer Burroughs, Loudonville, New York, 1923, Mexico D.F. Sept. 1951.”
Read more about the Beatnik authors in Mexico City at The San Francisco Chronicle