City Lights Bookstore

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus Ave (at Broadway), San Francisco, CA 94133, United States
Closed until 10:00 AM (Show more)
  • Mon–Sun
    • 10:00 AM–Midnight
Credit Cards:
Yes (incl. American Express)

Based on 332 votes

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72 tips. Filter by taste:

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  • kerouac
  • ginsberg
  • selection of books
  • bookstores
  • museums
  • historic buildings
  • beach
  • arts
  • Tiana D.

    This place is magical. Get lost in it. And take a flick by the door- you'll know which one when you see it 😉

    Tiana Danger · 1 week ago
  • Jan S.

    One of a kind. Go for the books and the history.

    Jan Shaw-Flamm · March 12
  • Rodrigo K.

    Excelente livraria. Muita variedade, bons títulos e ótima classificação. Melhor que as grandes redes, com certeza.

    Rodrigo Kanayama · January 22
  • Kirstie O.

    Cool wee bookstore. Almost get lost in.

    Kirstie O'Donnell · January 15
  • Dillon C.

    If you like to browse your books late at night, this is the place to go. Open till midnight. Staff is super helpful, they don't turn to a computer straight away to find something.

    Dillon Chen · January 9
  • Claire J.

    Lots of history

    Claire Judson · December 21, 2014
  • Claire J.

    Very cool place, love the recommendations posted

    Claire Judson · December 21, 2014
  • Mariah M.

    their book selection is great.

    Mariah M · October 16, 2014
  • squeasel

    Any bookstore where you can shop till midnight, and catch Daniel Handler in a fez playing the accordion, cannot be a bad bookstore.

    squeasel · October 8, 2014
  • Mason B.

    Excellent wide selection of books.

    Mason Batley · September 25, 2014
  • Sarah

    Amazing bookstore with a well-curated selection. Love the poetry section upstairs.

    Sarah · September 15, 2014
  • St. Martin's Press

    Meet Nayomi Munaweera on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 7:00 PM as she reads from her debut novel Island of a Thousand Mirrors. Also in conversation with Paul Yamazaki. Read more

    St. Martin's Press · August 28, 2014
  • Monica C.

    Make sure you give yourself enough time here for some thorough browsing. I could easily spend hours here.

    Monica C · August 17, 2014
  • mipadi

    Check out the basement. There's a really interesting selection of books down there, including an ample science fiction section.

    mipadi · August 16, 2014
  • Jonathan K.

    Exactly what you want from an independent bookstore. It's quiet, has charm and a good selection.

    Jonathan Kramer · August 15, 2014
  • SFist

    Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, the independent bookstore and publisher specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics. Read more

    SFist · August 3, 2014
  • Karri S.

    Beat generation bookstore

    Karri Saarinen · July 7, 2014
  • Cris F.

    I wanna a book. rsrsrs

    Cris Fianco · May 17, 2014
  • Ana M.

    Love♡♡.. phenomenal bookstore

    Ana Montes · May 16, 2014
  • Nate  H.

    simply the best

    Nate  Hermes · March 30, 2014
  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux

    Meet David Grand on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM as he reads from his new novel Mount Terminus. Also with Wesley Stace. Read more

    Farrar, Straus & Giroux · February 12, 2014
  • Mark G.

    Most arrogant staff I've ever met do not shop at this bookstore despite its story history.

    Mark G · December 3, 2013
  • Seth B.

    Obvious place to go.

    Seth Benson · September 26, 2013
  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux

    Meet literary critic John Freeman on Monday, October 28, 2013 at 7:00 PM as he reads from his new book, How to Read a Novelist. Also with Robin Sloan. Read more

    Farrar, Straus & Giroux · September 16, 2013
  • Roger M.

    Reading books may change your life!

    Roger Man Haus · August 30, 2013
  • Cristina A.

    Vai al piano superiore e leggi una poesia ..ti rimette in pace con il mondo...

    Cristina Affanni · August 19, 2013
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum

    City Lights Bookstore is the epicenter of Beat History, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin in 1953.

  • robb w.

    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

    robb wong · June 24, 2013
  • Jenny

    Learn how to look at a burrito here.

    Jenny · June 17, 2013
  • Foodie P.

    A great source for modern communist thought

    Foodie Pilgrim · June 15, 2013
  • Official smart USA

    It’s more than just a bookstore, it’s a forum for free thinking.

    Official smart USA · April 11, 2013
  • Tom E.

    This place is fantastic in its selection of books, historical significance and proximity to the Beat Museum! Worth the trip to visit.

    Tom Evans · April 7, 2013
  • Alex K.

    There's a picture with a funny caption about breakfast on the stairs that lead up to the poetry section..

    Alex Kim · March 18, 2013
  • Robert P.

    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!

    Robert Packard · March 3, 2013
  • Michelin Travel & Lifestyle

    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

    Michelin Travel & Lifestyle · February 5, 2013
  • Racked

    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]

    Racked · February 4, 2013
  • Carmen M.

    Cut across jack Kerouac alley and you travel from Italy to china

    Carmen Myers · November 21, 2012
  • Aaron D.

    Such an incredible bookstore, you'll never want to leave.

    Aaron Draczynski · October 9, 2012
  • California Girl (CG)

    Excellent bookstore and with a rich Beatnik history. Photos of Kerouac abound.

    California Girl (CG) · August 6, 2012
  • Francois P.

    Baladez vous dans les étages et les rayons de cette boutique culte ; vous pouvez même en profiter pr acheter un livre (soyons fou ;) )

    Francois Pichard · August 1, 2012
  • Alix B.

    Go in, grab a seat upstairs, and read Howl.

    Alix Bloodworth · July 8, 2012
  • Al S.

    Buy a fucking book, huh?

    Al S · July 5, 2012
  • Tiffany

    Amazing literature in translation section. One of the best I have seen in the US.

    Tiffany · June 29, 2012
  • SF Weekly

    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2012 Winner – Editorial Pick - Best Place to Buy New Books. San Francisco’s status as one of America’s best book cities was somewhat threatened by closures over the last decade... Read more

    SF Weekly · May 30, 2012
  • Laura L.

    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.

    Laura Lubarov · May 24, 2012
  • Danny S.

    Put down your Kindle and read a book here the way things were meant to be read.

    Danny Sauter · April 24, 2012
  • Mike R.

    Channel a beat

    Mike Reger · March 29, 2012
  • Dominic N.

    Buy a book by Allen Ginsberg and other Beat writers!

    Dominic Nanni · March 18, 2012
  • Erik H.

    Upstairs is where Gene Hackman's office was located in "Class Action"

    Erik Hom · February 2, 2012
  • SEGA

    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

    SEGA · January 5, 2012

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