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City Lights Bookstore - 14 Reviews - 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA - Books Reviews - Phone (415) 362-8193

City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus Ave (at Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-8193
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City Lights Bookstore - San Francisco, CA
City Lights Bookstore - San Francisco, CA


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My friends and I bought several books and some small chotchkie items from City Lights and had the best time hunting for obscure titles. I think the guy behind the desk got a kick ...


This was at the top of our places to visit while we were in town. It wasn't the best experience. After the way the staff treated us, I'd never give them my money. It's a neat stor...

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City Lights 4/29/2006

All that North Beach beat nostalgia is pretty played out by now… and yet, City Lights still keeps it real, still is able to rouse that be bop man oh yeah jazz baby in all of us. Lawrence Ferlinghetti is still alive and still runs the place. They host great readings here all the time. All the ensuing bullshit hasn't ruined the memories of Ginsberg et al yet... though, give it time... more

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Wanna seem cooler than you really are 9/9/2005

Are your friends not 'hep' enough to call you 'hep cat'? Is your spouse a complete L7 (square)? Hey, man, I'm not sweatin' ya. Come on down to City Lights Bookstore, man, and pretend that you were cool enough to be a bohemian, or old enough to even be born in the "Free Love" swinging 60's. All the cool cats and hip kidz hang out here, and sometimes you might hear someone drop the name of Ginsburg or Kerouac and they'll beg you to believe that THEY DID KNOW THEM (even if only through their writings). This is a bookstore, but one with STYLE, maaan.... more

City Lights Bookstore Rocks 8/20/2005

City Lights Bookstore is just a great book store in San Francisco. It's well known, and it's history...for a good reason too. They have a lot of books that you can browse through, but what I really love is the feeling you get when you're in there. The staff is extremely nice and helpful. They host a lot of readings and signings as well. Overall, this is one bookstore you must visit if you're in the Bay Area. more

Neighborhood Bookstore at Its Best! 8/14/2005

One day, while coming home from middle school years ago, I passed by a group of tourists who asked me if I knew how to get to a bookstore called City Lights. I gave them the directions, and they thanked me graciously. A few weeks after that, I met a few more tourists who was looking for a bookstore that they could not remember the name of, describing the store by using adjectives like "legendary, special, unique, famous," and "widely-known." I asked them if they were talking about City Lights, and they all nodded immediately, smiles on their faces. At the time, I could not understand why City Lights was so popular. And then I went there about a year ago, and kicked myself for not going sooner. City Lights is a neighborhood bookstore at its best. A sweet little spot that many people will pass by without noticing, but a grand palace for those who are seeking it. City Lights is, believe it or not, a San Francisco landmark of sorts, and it's only a bookstore! Filled with history, culture, politics, tradition, and - of course - lots of quality books, City Lights is probably the only place in San Francisco you probably would not mind getting lost in. more

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Eclectic Bookshop 8/11/2005

Where else can you find an entire gay/lesbian section and a sexual healing section all rolled in one? Of course here. I love the little stools set up that tell you to sit down. They have great books on the history of SF and very uniques independent magazines. Located in the heart of NOrth Beach, you will often find tourists looking through the city books or the unique Karma Sutra books. Don't be embarrassed to shop here though, there's always someone else in the store reading the same thing as you! A San Francisco classic by far. more

Books from other countries 8/10/2005

This bookstore has many books that are not originally English. They have many books by authors from other countries. Probably the only store I know that has that many books from other countries. You will be quiet amazed once you see. The staff is okay and somewhat helpful on assisting your needs. more

City Lights Bookstore. 8/6/2005

I have only been to this bookstore once, but it was a good experience. The people and staff were very helpful in helping me find a book. There are a lot of choices of christian and other religious items for sale. The prices are ok, but not the greatest. The store itself is normally lighted and carpeted floors. Highly recommend this store if you are tyring to find cards for loved ones. more

City Lights Bookstore 8/5/2005

The City Lights Bookstore is an area favorite for religious gifts, cards, books, Bibles, 1st Communion gifts, childrens' items, Christian Education resources, ministerial supplies, and the latest and greatest in Christian Music. Very helpful staff, willing to order anything they don't have (usually with a quick turn around time), able to make informed recommendations whether you're looking for some light reading, serious worship music, or just the perfect gift. Nice selection of journals, both with and without scripture on the pages. Also carries a line of Christian T-shirts. Nice gifts section, everything from coffee mugs and magnets to beautiful stained glass, pottery, and artwork. Carries Thomas Kinkaide items. Has a Spanish section, and carries many dvd/videos. If you have children with you, they'll pop in a video to entertain the little guys while you shop! Good resource for Sunday school teachers, everything from stickers to planning books and reproducible curriculum books. Large selection of gift and study Bibles, also Bible software. It's hard to leave without an armful of merchandise! I enjoy shopping there, especially for the holidays, birthdays, and just to surprise friends and family with unique items. more

Fun place 7/14/2005

City Lights is pretty far from where I live, so I usually only drop in when I happen to be around. But its always fun. Everytime I go (once every couple months), they have a bunch of "new" books. I love to browse their selection and buy four or five books everytime I go. They also apparently have free readings every month, but I always miss them so I can't comment on those. more

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A must for book lovers 6/25/2004

City Lights Bookstore is an independent bookseller in San Francisco that was highly involved in the "beatnik" movement, making it a "Literary Landmark." Immersed in alternative culture, City Lights has expanded over the years to offer paperbacks and hardbacks from major publishers and an expansive range of books from small, hard-to-find, specialty publishers, with a highly knowledgable staff to offer suggestions. Throughout the changes and growth, however, it has retained its original intimate and casual quality. It is an important and historical part of the San Francisco experience. Drop in to learn about the historical events that took place right where you're standing, or pick up an interesting read. more
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  • In Short
    This little piece of history was founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti as an outgrowth of his small-press imprint, which introduced us to Allen Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac and most...

  • 11/20/2006 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Monday To Sunday From 10:00 AM To 12:00 AM
  • Payments:

    Master Card, Discover, American Express, Visa
  • Neighborhoods:

    Northeast, Chinatown