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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 #2 of 222 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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110 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
653 reviews 653 reviews
390 attraction reviews
273 helpful votes 273 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2014

As someone who grew up reading the beats, this was a place that has always been on my list. I finally managed to visit and was amazed by the range of books. Historical context aside, the shop is huge and sells a vast range of books. It is an unusual beast in that it is a successful bookshop. In these... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
25 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014

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.

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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
34 helpful votes 34 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
16 helpful votes 16 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

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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
30 reviews 30 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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San Ramon, California
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
49 attraction reviews
65 helpful votes 65 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
43 reviews 43 reviews
14 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 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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