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Boasting famous homes, quirky bookstores or art paying homage to great writers, these U.S. cities offer the most to do and see for unapologetic bibliophiles.
Austin: Austin may be the land of music and BBQ, but it’s also home to one of the largest collections of literary and visual arts. The Harry Ransom Center has worked tirelessly to preserve over 36 million manuscripts, one million rare books and five million photographs. Here, you’ll find manuscripts from all of the greats – including the Cardigan manuscript of Canterbury Tales, along with original works by William Shakespeare and James Joyce. Austin also hosts ever-popular Texas Book Festival every November, which unites literature enthusiasts worldwide.
San Francisco: Beyond the barking sea lions and the famed street cars, San Francisco was also the home to seminal writers like Jack London, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Robert Frost, Philip K. Dick and Mark Twain. After exploring such sights as the Robert Louis Stevenson Monument, Robert Frost Plaza and Jack Kerouac Alley, head to City Lights, a historic institution founded in 1953 by Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin.
Boston: Boston has been known as “The Athens of America,” thanks largely in part to the illustrious writers who once called it home. You’ll see for yourself on a literary tour, which will take you to the homes and haunts of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Charles Dickens. Boston is so proud of their book-loving heritage, they became the first city in America to have an official Literary Cultural District, which includes unique bookstores, inspired sculptures and even the birthplace of Curious George.
Iowa City: Iowa City just might be one of the most important literary locales in the country. Home to the world-renown University of Iowa, consistently named the best school for creative writing, this college town bursts at the scene with literary importance. You’ll see why the town carries a highly coveted UNESCO City of Literature stamp on a Lit Walk, which celebrates the works of 49 writers with ties to Iowa through bronze relief panels and other works of art.