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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
Open 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

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    Very good
  • 19
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  • 2
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  • 0
    Terrible
True to its origins

This bookstore, the original home of the Beat Poets, is a landmark in North Beach. In it you can still find books which take those of us who are older straight back to the 70s... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed June 30, 2015
Hilary P
,
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

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257 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015 NEW

This bookstore, the original home of the Beat Poets, is a landmark in North Beach. In it you can still find books which take those of us who are older straight back to the 70s and its hippy culture.

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Milan, Italy
Level Contributor
26 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015 NEW

City Lights is a fascinating bookstore with a long and riveting history. You can find some great books at City Lights that are hard to find elsewhere. Even browsing aimlessly is an experience, and yetevery time I've been I've always managed to buy an interesting book. I cannot recommend City Lights highly enough.

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Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015 NEW

It's a three-story corner of a bookstore that is well stocked and brilliantly signed. Ask Wikipedia and the like for the history and brilliance of it all. Solid service and great selection.

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Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2015 NEW

This is one of those rare bookstores that can blow your mind when you walk in. It is cheek to howl with books in every nook and cranny with a lean to the socially progressive end of the spectrum. Only problem this is a place you spend an entire day exploring or you come many times to figure out what... More 

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2015 NEW

You don't have to necessarily love the Beats in order to find this special bookstore enjoyable. I found all my beloved literary classics, including a shelf dedicated entirely to Jane Austen, as well as some of my current favorites, like Elena Ferrante and Muriel Barbery. Upstairs is the section dedicated entirely to the Beats, so if you're a Kerouac fan... More 

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Utica, New York
Level Contributor
598 reviews
299 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 179 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2015 NEW

Begun in the 60s by the beat poet Ferlinghetti, City Lights is an iconic bookstore with a huge and very important history. But two things make it even better: 1) the staff are booksellers, not clerks... they are knowledgeable, they know what books you should be reading & are great at making suggestions; and 2) City Lights had not sat... More 

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Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2015 NEW

I love this book shop. The shop itself unfolds like a good book with unexpected twists & hidden rooms.

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Ogden, Utah
Level Contributor
87 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2015

If you know about City Lights, then I really don't have to tell you why to visit here. Visiting is equivalent to a pilgrimage for those of us who love Kerouac and the beats. It's a regular, independent bookstore and also so much more. There are shelves and shelves of literature from the beats and informational texts about them. The... More 

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peterborough
Level Contributor
70 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2015

This bookshop is a bit of a local treasure in SF. It's oldy worldy, a bit dusty and fu of charm. The stairs are rickety and the rooms smell musty with old books - it's lovely. It;s a little treasure trove of rare and interesting books at fabulous prices. Worth a visit if you're passing.

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Level Contributor
3 reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2015

Feel Ginzberg Howling, read about Ferlinghetti fighting the forces of literary censorship, take time to roam the shelves and peruse the pages of real books in this eclectic bookstore. Terri Gross would love it here. A literary treat.

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Additional Information about City Lights Booksellers

Address: Address: 261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number: 415 362 8193
Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  San Francisco>  > Chinatown
Open Hours:
Sunday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Monday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Tuesday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Wednesday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Thursday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Friday 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Saturday 10:00 am - 12:00 am

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?

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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