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City Lights Booksellers

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Address: 261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: 415 362 8193
Website
Today
10:00 am - 12:00 am
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Activities: Shopping
Description: Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence...
Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 182 reviews
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  • 125
    Excellent
  • 42
    Very good
  • 13
    Average
  • 2
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Book lovers must go

If you like poetry or just books, browse, buy, read. Especially if you are a fan of the Beat poets, it's a must go, but any readers can appreciate the great selection and history... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 29, 2015
Suzanne L
,
Denver, Colorado
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182 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Denver, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW

If you like poetry or just books, browse, buy, read. Especially if you are a fan of the Beat poets, it's a must go, but any readers can appreciate the great selection and history of this store.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Fort Worth, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015 NEW

This place is a must-browse bookstore for anyone who cares about serious literature and its history. Next door is the famous Cafe Vesuvius with a great quote by Jack Kerouac painted on the wall between the two establishments. City Lights' founder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, just celebrated his 96th birthday. Rock on, Larry!

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Oregon
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
22 attraction reviews
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015 NEW

Actually, there are chairs, wooden, hardback chairs. Uncomfortable. But did that stop me from sitting down with my pile of books and slowly reading and choosing between them? No. City Lights is a place for people who love the classic art of reading bound books with unchangeable fonts printed on old-school paper. Books with heft and a scent and a... More 

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Seattle
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
16 attraction reviews
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

... history, literature, and good food nearby. What's not to like? City Lights Books in North Beach draws you in like a magnet. Bring some cash, a bag and hours...

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Tracy, California
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

This might be one of the last great bookstores here in the US. Entering City Lights is like stepping into an entirely different era. Their selection of books is really impressive... I could browse here for days! Make sure to check out the basement as well as the poetry room upstairs.

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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

I would expect more handpicked or aw-inspiring books from this fantastically located bookstore. But....not quite

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Singapore
Top Contributor
369 reviews 369 reviews
234 attraction reviews
211 helpful votes 211 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2015

Call me old-fashioned but in this age where so much of the printed word is online, it's nice to spend time in a bookstore exploring titles, pondering themes and dreaming of a different world. Granted, it's not the place where you'll find every title under the sun, but this bookstore is such a must-do simply for its history and the... More 

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West Hollywood
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
55 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2015

You must visit City Lights - the last of the great bookstores and a slice of American history you will never be able to touch again. You can still experience (upstairs) what a poetry reading is like, and if you're lucky you'll even get to meet one of the original "beat" generation poets. There are a few still breathing. Support... More 

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San Francisco, California
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
10 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

Best place in town to find rare and alternative books which are not in your everyday book store chain. Has a lot of history and it is just plain cool to see the place! :)

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Burnaby, Canada
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
73 attraction reviews
85 helpful votes 85 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2015 via mobile

I love this bookstore, have been many times when in the city. I found a good number of books including one by Elif shafak. There are lots of world writers represented here. Well worth checking out.

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Staying in Chinatown

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Chinatown
As the oldest in North America, San Francisco's Chinatown is an exotic experience. A unique neighborhood decorated with colorful shops, historic streetlights, hanging lanterns, and pagoda roofs awaits behind the stone-carved dragon gates. Feast on dim sum at the tea houses, or meet the locals who gather at historic Portsmouth Square to play chess or practice Tai Chi. Fish markets, produce stands, tourist shops, jewelry stores, fortune tellers, temples and restaurants come together to create a world unto itself in this historic neighborhood.
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