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City Lights Booksellers

261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)
415 362 8193
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Ranked #3 of 221 Shopping in San Francisco
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Specialty Shops, Historic Sites
Activities: Shopping
Description: Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
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109 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
25 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014 NEW

I love old bookstores and this one is absolutely wonderful. Loads of books, somewhat cramped and chairs to sit and read. The staff is helpful and prices are reasonable.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Melbourne, Australia
3 reviews 3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

A fantastic range of books with a lovely atmosphere. Makes you feel as if you are going back in time. Good place for those who love poetry.

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Castle Rock, Colorado
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

Wonderful bookstore! Books you won't find other places. Downstairs, exceptional non-fiction, main floor fiction and lots of it, upstairs poetry. We went several times and sent home a lot of books. Loved it!

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Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
62 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

Appropriately located across the street from the Beat Museum, the City Lights Bookstore is a mecca for lovers of the Beat Generation of writers. The store is overflowing with literary classics and you could easily spend an entire day there just browsing, before you get your wallet out. There are areas where you can sit and browse/read before you buy... More

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Tipperary, Ireland
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2014

What's not to like? An upstairs that is simply the Poetry Room, with a Poet's Chair. But, that couldbe mere window dressing in another shop - here it's true, the selection of poetry books is superb, their buyer must have an excellent eye. Downstairs, heir categorisation is somewhat unusual - they have extensive shelves of translated fiction- these are labelled... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Manchester, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Always wanted to visit and it didn't disappoint. It's great to go in a bookshop that has it's own identity instead of being part of a chain. Could spend hours browsing.

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St. Petersburg, Florida
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
11 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

I could have spent most of my day here at City Lights. The selection of books, clearly handpicked, was spread out amongst three floors. Their selection is really unique: it is not the typical titles you find in most stores. City Lights is also a publisher, so they carry their own titles as well. They have a large selection from... More

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Carpinteria, California
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
47 attraction reviews
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2014

What I loved about City Lights Bookstore: * Friendly staff members. * An abundance of staff picks placed throughout their storefront. * Three story bookstore with interesting/unique layout. * Plenty of places to sit & read throughout their bookstore. * Wide selection of interesting books and genres. * Plenty of onsite readings & events. * Open 10am to midnight daily.... More

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Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
14 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2014

On my recent trip to San Fransisco I visited this bookshop a number of times. It is a great bookshop to browse in with a brilliant selection of books and is a must for any book lover visiting the city.

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Spring Creek, Nevada
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2014

I love City Lights and visit whenever I am in San Francisco. The books here are not the run of the mill romance/mystery found at most bookstores but a collection of intellectual fiction and non fiction and a good poetry collection. If you want a read that is not for the masses and will make you think, visit City Lights.

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