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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
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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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Limited Time! Save 10% when you spend $350
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$25*
and up
North Beach Underground Tour with Beat Museum Admission

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Browsing the stacks on a rainy Saturday afternoon-- a book-lovers paradise.

Quite simply one of the best eclectic bookstores left in America. It still has that raw "Howl" feel to it. It's a step backward in time.

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 27, 2015
Oswald J
,
Cedar Rapids

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340 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Cedar Rapids
Level Contributor
36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2015 NEW

Quite simply one of the best eclectic bookstores left in America. It still has that raw "Howl" feel to it. It's a step backward in time.

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Thornhill, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2015 NEW

This was a trip down memory lane and a landmark my husband, in particular, was very excited to see. We were able to walk there from our hotel in Fishermans Wharf. He bought a book and learnt that one of the original owners, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, now 95 years old, is still involved with the stores operation, but unfortunately was not... More 

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Como Province, Italy
11 reviews
10 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015 NEW

A bookshop you can't miss if you are interested in the Beat Generation. If you like you can spend some time in the poet's chair on the second floor reading from the books you pick from the shelves all around you.

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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
210 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2015 NEW

I visit City Lights whenever I'm in San Francisco, it's always a great experience. Don't miss the top floor, which is the poetry reading room. Also, there's a Beat Museum across the street if you're looking for a complete experience.

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Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2015 NEW

This is THE former Beat haven. A must visit for those who are fans of this era. A wide range of books. It is really more of a "museum" of a certian era than a real bookstore. You will find archane poetry here but no best sellers. It ain't your local book store chain. A great destination spot as there... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
2 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2015

We visited in September 2013. Gorgeous building and amazing history. Went out of our way on foot to find it and really enjoyed it...until I wanted to buy something small. The man behind the counter was initially helpful but when I returned with the correct money I was thoroughly told off for standing in the wrong place at the till.... More 

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Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2015

This is a historic bookstore, it has everything you could possibly want and if not they will search or get it for you. A must see!!!

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Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2015

A must do for any book lover or any history lover that has read the beat gen books... it was great to actually see where these fantastic authors created their masterpieces. Grab a coffee or lunch at any of the awesome little cafe's nearby and take a walk down the alley beside to see the words of wisdom carved out... More 

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San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

I just love this quaint little bookstore considered sacred by all the booklovers in San Francisco and the entire USA. I've spent hours here browsing and reading all kinds of books and they encourage you to read here unlike other bookstores. It's feels very homey and I love the inscription on the wall that says, "Where the streets of the... More 

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Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2015

Probably my single favorite place in all of SF. I visit San Francisco two to three times a year and with every trip I take a leisurely walk through bustling Chinatown to the iconic bookstore to kill a few hours browsing in the delightful poetry room. Devote a few hours to exploring the origins of the Beats, stumbling across street... More 

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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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