In 1956 founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti published Alan Ginsberg's beatnik classic poem "Howl", and faced obscenity charges for it. In a landmark ruling, the poem was protected by the First Amendment.
Both the store and the publishers became widely known following the obscenity trial of Ferlinghetti for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential poem Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956).
Head to the third floor and look for the "poet's chair."
City Lights isn't so much 'stocked' as 'curated'. For its size this has to be the best independent bookshop in the world. When you're finished buying go next door to Vesuvio and get drunk.
Look across the street behind the big tree to see a banksy piece. "at first you don't succeed -call in a airstrike"
Walked up Columbus Ave to get me some literary refreshment. And there's an iconic view looking back towards town.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti's legendary bookstore is not to be missed. He has been a literary force since the '50s, and the store has been in North Beach since 1953. [Racked 38 Member]
Such an incredible bookstore, you'll never want to leave.
Solid fiction selection.
Relax with a book in the original Beatnik hangout, the first all-paperback bookstore in America when poet-owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti opened the doors in 1953. - Green Guide Editor
Cut across jack Kerouac alley and you travel from Italy to china
Go to the third floor and find a copy of Ginsberg's "Howl" - the book that embroiled City Lights in an obscenity trial. Sit in the Poet's Chair and read it from start to finish.
check out the postcards
Attend an author reading in the poetry room for stimulating discussion; meet cool locals and distinguished writers. Check the events calendar for details.
Upstairs is where Gene Hackman's office was located in "Class Action"
An integral part of SF's beatnik history. The original publishers of Howl, they have a great beatnik section as well as other great books. - Kellie, Community Manager
Bookstores don't get any better than this! Founded in San Francisco in 1953 during the Beat Era, it contains three floors of books, all housed in an historic building.
Go to City Lights Books, go upstairs to the Beat Generation section and buy a copy of On The Road, Howl and Naked Lunch.
Most arrogant staff I've ever met do not shop at this bookstore despite its story history.
Reading books may change your life!
This place is fantastic in its selection of books, historical significance and proximity to the Beat Museum! Worth the trip to visit.
Excellent bookstore and with a rich Beatnik history. Photos of Kerouac et.al. abound.
Buy a fucking book, huh?
Buy a book by Allen Ginsberg and other Beat writers!
Thought I wouldn't be able to find a replacement for NYC's Stand Book Store but.. this place is even better. Words, knowledge, ideas emanate from those shelves like no other.
A little piece of history in North Beach.
Check out the poetry/beat poetry room on the top floor. Grab a copy of HOWL while you're there.
Just swim in the incredible selection, fantastic feel & history, be sure to have a drink at Vesuvio's next door & read yr new book
Obvious place to go.
City Lights Bookstore is the epicenter of Beat History, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin in 1953.
Learn how to look at a burrito here.
A great source for modern communist thought
It’s more than just a bookstore, it’s a forum for free thinking.
There's a picture with a funny caption about breakfast on the stairs that lead up to the poetry section..
I wish I never had to leave this beautiful three story bookstore! It feels like taking a step back in time whenever you go in!
Go in, grab a seat upstairs, and read Howl.
Amazing literature in translation section. One of the best I have seen in the US.
I can't leave this place! Every time I try to leave another great book I've been meaning to read catches my eye! Damn you City Lights.
Put down your Kindle and read a book here the way things were meant to be read.
Channel a beat
Meet Paul La Farge on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:00 PM as he reads from his new novel, Luminous Airplanes. Presented in partnership with McSweeney's, with an introduction from Eli Horowitz.
Vai al piano superiore e leggi una poesia ..ti rimette in pace con il mondo...
Parada obligatoria en el tour literario de San Francisco. Después de estar viendo los libros, vale la pena tomarse una cerveza enfrente, en el bar Vesuvio, lugar al q solían ir Kerouac y los beatniks
Baladez vous dans les étages et les rayons de cette boutique culte ; vous pouvez même en profiter pr acheter un livre (soyons fou ;) )