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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 191 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 129
    Excellent
  • 46
    Very good
  • 14
    Average
  • 2
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Symbol of San Fransisco's freedom of thought

We had heard a lot abt it. So we went out of our way to take a tram and then walk down to this store. The age-old history of the bookshop has anyway impressed us. The unusual... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed April 17, 2015
sumit100051781
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Mumbai (Bombay), India
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191 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2015 NEW

We had heard a lot abt it. So we went out of our way to take a tram and then walk down to this store. The age-old history of the bookshop has anyway impressed us. The unusual collection of books, and the courteous staff, only reinforced the reputation of the store.

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Halifax, Canada
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015 NEW

An interesting bookstore to browse around with a very interesting history. If you have the time and have a interest, then check this place out.

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Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2015 NEW

Pop into Vesuvio next door for a beer ... Then take your book and read it there ... It's great for chilling out

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Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
10 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2015 via mobile

This is what a bookstore should be, 3 floors of awesome! They don't sell coffee or muffins....they sell books, lots of them. Incredible selection of every possible genre.

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Johannesburg, South Africa
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 attraction reviews
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2015

With Extranomical tour guideTony Gilbert, we took a bus up Columbus Ave to pop into the 1953 City Lights bookstore, the literary hangout of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and other counterculture beatniks. the locals were very friendly and there were tons of cheap second-hand paper backs for sale in the area. Very interesting

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Syracuse, Utah
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2015

At City Lights, I got two books, which were a little pricey, but the bookstore itself was very charming and cute. It was filled to the brim with books, which was amazing. It was definitely a place I'd put on a "must do" list of San Francisco. The bookstore isn't as touristy as you'd think, so it's interesting to see... More 

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Seattle, Washington
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2015

If you are a lit/poetry nerd, then City Lights is a MUST if you ever find yourself in San Francisco. If you don't know already, do yourself a favor and read up on the history of this place. It was amazing to see in-person - it definitely did not disappoint!

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Denver, Colorado
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015

If you like poetry or just books, browse, buy, read. Especially if you are a fan of the Beat poets, it's a must go, but any readers can appreciate the great selection and history of this store.

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Fort Worth, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015

This place is a must-browse bookstore for anyone who cares about serious literature and its history. Next door is the famous Cafe Vesuvius with a great quote by Jack Kerouac painted on the wall between the two establishments. City Lights' founder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, just celebrated his 96th birthday. Rock on, Larry!

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Oregon
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
22 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015

Actually, there are chairs, wooden, hardback chairs. Uncomfortable. But did that stop me from sitting down with my pile of books and slowly reading and choosing between them? No. City Lights is a place for people who love the classic art of reading bound books with unchangeable fonts printed on old-school paper. Books with heft and a scent and a... More 

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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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