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City Lights Booksellers

Address: 261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Chinatown)
Phone Number: 415 362 8193
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92%
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Historic Sites, Specialty Shops, Sights & Landmarks, Shopping & Fashion
Activities: Shopping
Owner description: Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Attraction details
Type: Historic Sites, Specialty Shops, Sights & Landmarks, Shopping & Fashion
Activities: Shopping
Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Owner description: Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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124 reviews from our community

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Sao Paulo
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
22 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2015 NEW

My first contact with City lights and it was amazing to know that so many important poets, writers have been there! Very interesting selection of books in a very interesting ambiance. New rooms where added when it grew and they kept everything original

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Tacoma, Washington
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
5 attraction reviews
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2015 NEW

Liked: the books! The three levels. The Poet's Chair upstairs. It helped renew my interest in poetry and reminded me of why I wanted to visit San Francisco again in the first place. I am not sure I miss the City, but I miss City Lights.

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Astana, Astana, Kazakhstan
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
9 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2015

If you have a weeknight when you do not plan to hang out at a bar, City Lights Bookstore is a perfect place to stop by. It's open until midnight and not crowded at all in the later pm hours. The bookstore itself is perfect. If you like poetry, make sure to visit the upstairs room - I've never seen... More 

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san diego, ça
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2015

This landmark should not be missed . . . our teens, and us grown ups, stop in every time we visit the City. Great selection, browsing and reading encouraged. What a book store should be!

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Cape Town
Top Contributor
144 reviews 144 reviews
30 attraction reviews
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2014

This place is a real bookshop...the sort of bookshop that used to exist before the internet killed them. Its heritage is well known and I enjoyed the posters on the wall and the sense of history that it provides. You'll see books here that you've never seen elsewhere and and it has a wonderfully quirky atmosphere. Let's hope it's around... More 

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Carlsbad, California
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
11 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2014 credit card Amex Card Member Review

Like Powell's in Portland, so is City Lights a must-stop in SF. Just a fabulous book store in a fabulous city. You can find the top-sellers, but you'd be hard-pressed not to leave with a book by someone you've never heard of. The Beat really does go on.

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Santa Monica, California
Top Contributor
166 reviews 166 reviews
54 attraction reviews
191 helpful votes 191 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2014

The place isn't just a legend, it's a real life bookstore! With real life books! You can't say you've been to San Francisco if you haven't been here. Jack Kerouac Alley is next to the store and is a must see in San Francisco. Must see. Vesuvio Cafe is on the other side of the alley and is a great... More 

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San Ramon, California
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
39 attraction reviews
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2014

Yes, its a landmark bookstore, so certainly worth a visit. And I'm sure a pilgrimage for folks who especially adore those times and type of literature that made this famous. I personally felt somewhat underwhelmed though .. kinda cramped, lack of comfortable seating to just sit back and relax, not much of 'light' reading (IMO), small magazine section with almost... More 

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Mechanicsville, Virginia
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
25 attraction reviews
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2014

I love books.An afternoon browsing in a bookstore is my idea of heaven. City Lights is an absolute must see for book lovers! It's a pilgrimage of sorts. It's three floors, with lots of nooks and crannies to curl up in with a good book. It's full of quirky signs like "educate yourself. Read 14 hours a day" and "... More 

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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
17 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2014

A pilgrimage to City Lights. Wall to ceiling books, fiction, history, media, texts, poetry. Whatever you need. The book store is also home to the City Lights Press where they still to this day publish poets and counter culture writers. The beat collection is as complete as you will find any place. The basement is full of hard to find... More 

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