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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
Closed now
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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 208 reviews
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  • 143
    Excellent
  • 49
    Very good
  • 14
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  • 0
    Terrible
Legendary

The legends of the Beat Generation reside here. This place is a time capsule of the postwar counterculture's literary legacy that brought about so many changes in our country... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 18, 2015
friendlysdinnkeeper
,
Wall, South Dakota
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208 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Wall, South Dakota
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
16 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2015

The legends of the Beat Generation reside here. This place is a time capsule of the postwar counterculture's literary legacy that brought about so many changes in our country during the '50s and '60s. A must see for all lovers of History.

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San Francisco
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
37 attraction reviews
158 helpful votes 158 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2015

Yes, City Lights is historical and famous and fabulous...And it is has a tremendous inventory and very smart, well read, staff. I dare you to walk in and not walk out with ...something.

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Toronto, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2015

Loved the references to earlier hipper times in San Fransisco. The book selection is stellar. Nothing to dislike!

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Vonore, Tennessee
Top Contributor
510 reviews 510 reviews
284 attraction reviews
619 helpful votes 619 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

This was our first visit to City Lights. We read about the bookstore's history and ties with the Beats before we came. We were delighted with the Beat collection, our own coming of age writers. However, I also spent at least an hour looking at the current literature, especially those novels recommended by the staff. The bookstore has an upstairs.... More 

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Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

Sadly so few cool bookstores left, but a must stop every time we are in San Francisco. Love the selection, alternative and small press options, the knowledgeable staff, and it is cool to have that the historic connection with some great post war American writers.... whether you are in that vibe or not!

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Philadelphia, PA
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
24 attraction reviews
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2015

This is a must-see if you are in San Francisco and like books. The posters on the wall hark back to a much different time in San Francisco's past (think hippies and Haight-Ashbury). No review can do it justice. Just go, browse, buy a book, and enjoy.

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GREEN BAY
Top Contributor
478 reviews 478 reviews
163 attraction reviews
214 helpful votes 214 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2015

Tucked among the bars, restaurants in the area is this wonderful bookstore. We were meandering so gave it by no means the time it deserves (easily could spend hours), perhaps on our next visit to SF. Did peruse the very eclectic magazine collection, very interesting.

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Boulder, Colorado
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
10 attraction reviews
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2015

No trip to San Francisco is complete without a trip to City Lights. It remains one of the best independent bookstores in the country. I never fail to find some fascinating volume that I had never heard of before.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Evergreen, Colorado
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
22 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2015

We always take the trolley down to Macy's from Ghirardelli's in the morning... walk back thru Chinatown and stop at Columbus to spend an hour plus here in this quite famous bookstore... really take the time to dig in and stand awhile. get wrapped up in the feeling of it all... this is a treasure and very special spot. We... More 

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Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
14 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2015

Popped in to this lovely little book store and fell in love. Could have stayed in there for hours! Have a look around and at the shop attendant recommendations. You have to go here just to see it not even to buy!

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Staying in Chinatown

Neighborhood Profile
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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