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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 219 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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97 reviews from our community

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English first
Oslo, Norway
Top Contributor
188 reviews 188 reviews
47 attraction reviews
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

If you like books of almost any kind except the absolute bestsellers this is a place were you can easily spend hours.. The choice in books seems limitless, the staff are super knowledgeable, you can sit down and test read and prices are as should be. Every city in the world should have a place like this.

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Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
20 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Excellent place to spend time browsing the loads and loads of books. City Lights Bookstore is on the one hand a landmark with a solid place in the history of alternative culture and anti-authoritarian politics, and on the other hands a brilliant bookstore with its maze-like layout. Come for the landmark-part, stay for the ambience and don't forget to pick... More

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Fayetteville, Arkansas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2014

Being a bookworm, I'm happy to visit a local bookstore to get a feel for the city I'm in. I'm so glad I made a point to get to City Lights! This is a large bookstore, and also a publisher. I walked in to browse and walked out with two books from one of the best curated shops I've ever... More

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Seattle, Washington
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
35 attraction reviews
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2014

As I was planning my trip to San Francisco, I came across the name of this bookstore and knew that I just had to make a visit. Just about any bookstore tickles my fancy. I read as many reviews as I could then put it on my to-do list. I walked the length of Chinatown and turned right and just... More

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Tallahassee, Florida
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2014

If you're a book lover or fan of independent bookstores, this is the place for you. I personally loved all the hand painted signs found throughout the store. I left with a copy of a book by a local author, Paul Madonna.

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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Top Contributor
147 reviews 147 reviews
84 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2014 via mobile

A place were time has stiod still. No internet just books. A great selection on about every topic. If you are looking for a specialized book start here!

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Queretaro, Mexico
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2014

For a poet or writer of any kind you can't miss the City LIghts Bookstore in North Beach. It's right by Kerouac Lane and beside Vesuvio Bar where the poets hung out. Well worth a visit.

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Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
22 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2014

We spent less than 24 hours in San Francisco, but made sure to stop at City Lights. We weren't disappointed, it's a blast to browse at such a classic independent bookstore.

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Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
28 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2014

If you're a thinker, a poet, a lefty, or a globetrekker, this place is a must-visit in San Francisco. The shelves seem to radiate intellectual passion. An inspiring place to wake up your mind. (and great t-shirts for sale!)

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Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

While other teenage girls were swooning over Romeo & Juliet, I was reading Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg. Visiting this bookstore was like coming home. Moving through this bookstore was like moving through a place of worship. Quiet. Reverent. Awestruck. I came away with some terrific children's books. Let's just say they aren't the sort of children's books you find... More

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