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City Lights Booksellers

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 261 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone Number:
+1 415-362-8193
10:00 - 00:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 00:00

Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence...

Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

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Book In Advance
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and up
The Summer of Love Magic Bus Experience
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and up
North Beach Underground Tour with Beat Museum Admission

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 659 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 412
  • 108
    Very good
  • 31
  • 7
  • 0
Gets better & better

Been coming here for 40+ years. Great selection, wonderful staff, customers and selection. A true gem of San Francisco!

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Biloxi, Mississippi
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659 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 558: English reviews
Biloxi, Mississippi
Level Contributor
217 reviews
57 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Been coming here for 40+ years. Great selection, wonderful staff, customers and selection. A true gem of San Francisco!

Thank martinibill7777
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
183 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

City Lights is a literary treasure and paradise for any book lover. The store's selection is extensive and filled with unique staff recommendations. Browsing was an intellectually engaging experience. I left the store with a great book and felt good about supporting a literary institution.

Thank John D
Level Contributor
28 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

There are some simple pleasures in life; one of them is browsing through City lights - particularly the basement - in the evening, as the city pulsates with live music and people walking to and fro, to restaurants and bars or coming home from a long shift at work. It's a superb bookstore in a superb location. Luckily, Vesuvio's stays... More 

Thank Martin G
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
1,025 reviews
381 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 301 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

So if you believe you should see things that are on the endangered species list, this book shop should be on your list as a book store that harkens to a day when you could lose yourself wandering the stacks and exploring nooks and crannies to discover what to read. Crowded and exceptional. Interesting and worth the visit. Even if... More 

Thank PlatinumHoney
Vista, California
Level Contributor
142 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

So everyone knows that this is the City Lights bookstore -you know Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, Kerouac and the other beat poets so I won't talk much about that. This place is a treasure and a testament to what San Francisco used to be! Have been going here for years. It is perfectly situated located in the North Beach neighborhood of San... More 

Thank jenLeCreate
Curitiba, PR
Level Contributor
46 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The only reason I did not rate it 5 stars is because not everyone will enjoy visiting a bookstore. If you do, don't miss it! Besides having lots of interesting books, its history is about what book publishing will always be. I bet you will find at least one "gem".

Thank FabioAlberto
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
1,545 reviews
676 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,203 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I love visiting here! It even smells of books the moment you walk in the door. It's a place you can browse and buy nothing but equally a place you can walk out of with arm loads of books! Definitely worth a visit.

Thank Travellover6128
Greenwood Village, Colorado
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Wonderful place to spend hours reading and relaxing. Make sure you spend time upstairs in the poetry section

Thank betzxoxo
Level Contributor
238 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Lots of books to choose from. They have hard cover and paperbacks. A few chairs available for sitting. Near Chinatown and Little Italy.

Thank aloha2055
Santa Rosa, California
Level Contributor
99 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

If you love books you really shouldn't miss a visit. Browse around, ask questions if you like, buy almost anything you could want. It even has that wonderful bookstore smell. There's a lovely bar right next door that sells absinthe if you really want an experience. Or hike up the hill to little Italy, sit at a sidewalk table and... More 

Thank rachaele30

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Staying in Chinatown

Neighbourhood Profile
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, tourist shops, jewelry stores, fortune tellers, temples and restaurants come together to create a world unto itself in this historic neighbourhood.
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