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City Lights Booksellers

261 Columbus Ave, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133-4586
+1 415-362-8193
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US$ 70.00*
and up
The Summer of Love Magic Bus Experience
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US$ 25.00*
and up
North Beach Underground Tour with Beat Museum Admission
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Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
  • Excellent73%
  • Very good20%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“book lovers” (48 reviews)
“jack kerouac” (31 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 00:00
261 Columbus Ave, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133-4586
+1 415-362-8193
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Reviews (738)
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1 - 10 of 627 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

This is just an exceptional bookstore. So rare these days, when bookstores are filled with cutesy gifts and coffee shops. This one is all about books, ideas, and culture. Even in NY you'll find few bookstores with this breadth and depth. A real treasure, everyone...More

Thank Bookistan5
Reviewed 2 days ago

If you are visiting the North Beach area you should definitely stop in to City Lights Books. It is a piece of American literary history available for you to enjoy. I am a lover of books and bookstores and this was a very fun place...More

1  Thank Amy C
Reviewed 1 week ago

The legacy of San Francisco is the home of the Beat Generation.There is a large array of literature, culture studies, and more. When so many individual bookstores have been out of business in the internet era, fortunately, this nice bookstore has been standing at the...More

Thank thomas8510
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

A book store founded by a poet. In Eisenhower's America. Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Who founded, in turn, many other poets. And a movement called the Beat Poets. Once underground, the Beat poets are now a classroom piece at Ivy League schools. Exhibit: Allen Ginsberg. Ferlinghetti was...More

1  Thank Paul K
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This is a classic book store to visit. It is mentioned in 100's of novels and plays which have San Francisco as the main setting. There are a huge number and variety of books on a huge range of topics. TIP: the books on San...More

Thank marksmail
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Apparently being the oldest bookstore in the country. If you like books and literature, probably a nice place to go. Otherwise, just take a picture in front and say: "been there, done that, took a picture and moved on"

Thank ThomasEMM
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Their selection of poetry is huge. Also, they publish poetry that might otherwise be lost or out of print. You could spend an afternoon here without realizing time had passed.

Thank robin d
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Great bookstore with an "old time" feel. Cramped with lots of wonderful books and we spent quite some time in there ! The only thing is the people that work there aren't really that friendly. But that's not why we went.

Thank lunamare62
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

A historic book shop with three stories with all kinds of books. I got this recommended by a local. If you like poetry or literature, this place will be to your liking.

Thank iernie
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

This store has been on my list of places to visit for many years, and it truly is a landmark and deserves its reputation. With all due respect, though, it's just a bookstore. Yes, a very good one, and an independent, which this country needs...More

Thank RCSColumbus
As the oldest in North America, San Francisco's
Chinatown is an exotic experience. A unique
neighbourhood decorated with colourful 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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Nearby Attractions
North Beach
244 reviews
.04 km away
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92 reviews
.05 km away
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