Trip Planner:   USA  /  California  /  San Francisco  /  Historic Sites  /  City Lights Booksellers & Publishers

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, San Francisco

(4.6/5 based on 600+ reviews on the web)
One of San Francisco's most popular independent bookshops and publishers, City Lights Booksellers & Publishers remains best known for its atmosphere and storied history. The store offers a wide selection of books, from world literature to political content. Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and educator Peter D. Martin, the establishment became famous when Ferlinghetti went to trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," considered an obscene book. Located at the intersection of North Beach and Chinatown, this spot still reflects the progressive ideals on which it was founded. Stop in to browse, soak up the literary history, or pick up a good read. 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.
Create a full San Francisco itinerary
map

Plan your trip to San Francisco

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans in San Francisco by other users

11 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 9 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA May, kids, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: May, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 9 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA May, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, kids, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in California BY A USER FROM CZECH REPUBLIC April, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, relaxing, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in United States BY A USER FROM FINLAND August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 27 days in California & Las Vegas BY A USER FROM FINLAND August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA September, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: September, outdoors, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 23 days in San Francisco BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans
Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This is not only the best bookstore in the Bay Area but maybe in all of Northern California, though Green Apple on Clement Street is also pretty awesome .But it doesn't compare historically to City Li...  more »
  • Came here straight after landing in San Francisco. It's an iconic store with much history and after spending so much time in its Paris 'surrogate sister' store, Shakespeare & Company, felt that I just...  more »
  • City Lights is famous across the nation for good reason: it is a very high quality, independent bookstore. It caters to a more intellectual audience, especially to people who are politically aware and...  more »
Google
  • Famous for publishing Beat Poets, this book shop has everything you'd want in a small, traditional, comfy spot. The atmosphere is close and quiet, and although the lighting is good it manages to feel yellow and warm, not white and bright like a big chain. I think it's the layout of this shop that encourages you to linger and browse - you feel like you are in a warren that goes in twists and turns with something new around every corner.
  • Book lovers and people interested in the Beat Generation and SF's cultural scene should go there. The bookshop is massive and you will find lots of interesting books on almost any subject. Recommended.
  • Such a cool shop. Amazing range of books and they are smart to sell merchandising gear for their own brand. Staff seemed a little aloof but who knows, I don't come from there.
  • 3 floors of books! The space is tight, but City Lights is definitely an SF treasure. Browse around and see what's available, and feel free to grab a book and a chair and start reading!
  • Historic spot that also serves as fantastic bookstore. Great, well organized selection with staff ready to help you if you need them.