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City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco

4.6
#4 of 42 in Shopping in San Francisco
Historic Site Gift & Specialty Shop
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, a funky bookstore founded by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, serves as a literary meeting place in San Francisco. Stop in and have a look around this independent bookstore/publishing house established in 1953 and famous for the obscenity trial it faced after releasing Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" in 1956. Located between North Beach and Chinatown, this bookstore became a historic landmark in 2001. You can also shop the unique book collection here, which focuses on world literature, arts, and politics. With our world travel planner, San Francisco attractions like City Lights Booksellers & Publishers can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
735 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • 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 inte...  more »
  • 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...  more »
  • 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...  more »
Google
  • Amazing selection of books. I have never seen such a great selection in one place, specifically for educational books. Staff is wonderful and they do staff book picks, so you can learn a little more about the book from someone there. They do cool events and signings. It's in a cute area that is close to good food.
  • I ended up here because I was trying to find a good angle of the Trans American Building but I'm glad that I stumbled into this store. I've never been into a more warm and welcoming place to buy books. It wasn't a spectacular large space but it felt cozy because everything was so tight nit and interwoven. Book shelves weren't over six feet so the space felt open and lively. Not to mention that they had about every single category of literature which made turning the isles fun because I would run into more categories of books. Overall a very nice experience.
  • A very soulful place. Great books, great history, and a great place to pick a book, sit and read. I did just that for 5 hours. It's so easy to lose one's sense of time in there. I will visit again.
  • You can feel the history at this store... Good selection of fiction and non fiction... I loved the 2nd floor poetry room... Some of the employees could be a little LESS pretentious, however. I asked 2 people about a book I was considering. They answered, "the book is amazing" .. when I asked a follow up question, they admitted that neither one had read the book... This is NOT what I expect from City Lights.
  • Very cute and small but it enough for exploring all your options for books. Check out the store when you can. You might find something interesting...

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From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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