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City Lights Booksellers

Closed Now: 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Open today: 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
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What Makes It Special
Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
Closed Now
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Traveler Overview
  • Excellent72%
  • Very good21%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“book store”(89 reviews)
“beat generation”(64 reviews)
“book lovers”(50 reviews)
261 Columbus Ave, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133-4586
+1 415-362-8193
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All reviews book store beat generation book lovers jack kerouac love books independent bookstore great bookstore beat poets great selection of books staff recommendations book selection non fiction historic landmark poetry ferlinghetti literature browse
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1 - 10 of 833 reviews
Reviewed 4 days ago

Home to the original Beat Generation in SF, City Lights honors its founders and original iconic patrons. At the same time, it has all the most current books and magazines - a huge selection that can keep you browsing and intrigued indefinitely. It's located in...More

Date of experience: September 2019
Thank Mike K
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

It has 3 levels and there are many many many books! Just so neat the tall shelves and everything. Reasonable prices for books just like other stores but the architecture is what makes it unique.

Date of experience: September 2019
Thank c0lliR
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This is the largest book store I've ever shopped. Overall I enjoyed the wonderful selection, of course, but it was so big it was too easy to get lost (I have a rotten sense of direction). God help you if you get separated from your...More

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank lindakQ3430HW
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I visited this bookstore on my last trip to San Francisco 16 years ago. This time we stumbled across it after a lovely meal in Little Italy. You don't see as many bookstores around these days, so it was a real oasis of calm to...More

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank Vanessa B
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

A well laid out and historic bookstore, with a decidedly left political leaning. But that doesn't mean you can't find general literature and books about the history and sights of San Francisco.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank David C
Reviewed August 13, 2019

Helpful staff, great book choices. Wish I lived near something as storied as this place (no pun intended).

Date of experience: June 2019
Thank SmallTownWorld
Reviewed August 10, 2019

Inspiring real world book store where minds can wander across titles not preselected/suggested for review. Although a bit cramped, the range and depth of the store is impressive. It is a bit sad that this is now so much more unusual an activity to browse...More

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank cmc082019
Reviewed July 29, 2019

This bookstores history is very unique and you can feel still that very dynamic (and artsy literary) past the moment you set foot in the place. It is very difficult to make a decision what to buy, the choice is overwhelming and all subjects a...More

Date of experience: June 2019
Thank BrigitteUAE
Reviewed July 25, 2019

City Lights might very well be the most famous bookstore in America. Begun in the 1950’s by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and friends it became the place of choice for the “Beat Generation.” Most of the names you’ve heard of from the era hung out there. I’m...More

Date of experience: July 2019
Thank Ames_IowaCoach32
Reviewed July 21, 2019

City Lights is a place to find books about the locals in SF. I found some books here that cannot be found anywhere else.

Date of experience: July 2019
1  Thank MJPStan09
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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,
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Questions & Answers
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May 9, 2018|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from victorag2016 | Reviewed this property |
I don’t think so, but just call to confirm.