City Lights Bookstore

261 Columbus Ave (at Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-8193
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am
10:00am - 12:00am


  • In 1956 founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti published Alan Ginsberg's beatnik classic poem "Howl", and faced obscenity charges for it. In a landmark ruling, the poem was protected by the First Amendment.
  • City Lights isn't so much 'stocked' as 'curated'. For its size this has to be the best independent bookshop in the world. When you're finished buying go next door to Vesuvio and get drunk.
  • Look across the street behind the big tree to see a banksy piece. "at first you don't succeed -call in a airstrike"
  • Both the store and the publishers became widely known following the obscenity trial of Ferlinghetti for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential poem Howl and Other Poems (City Lights, 1956).
  • Go to the third floor and find a copy of Ginsberg's "Howl" - the book that embroiled City Lights in an obscenity trial. Sit in the Poet's Chair and read it from start to finish.
  • Relax with a book in the original Beatnik hangout, the first all-paperback bookstore in America when poet-owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti opened the doors in 1953. - Green Guide Editor
  • Cut across jack Kerouac alley and you travel from Italy to china
  • Such an incredible bookstore, you'll never want to leave.
  • SF Weeklys Best Of 2012 Winner Editorial Pick - Best Place to Buy New Books. San Franciscos status as one of Americas best book cities was somewhat threatened by closures over the last decade...
  • If you love books, this is one of the best bookstores in the world to visit.
  • Head to the third floor and look for the "poet's chair."
  • Solid fiction selection.
  • This place is fantastic in its selection of books, historical significance and proximity to the Beat Museum! Worth the trip to visit.
  • check out the postcards
  • Upstairs is where Gene Hackman's office was located in "Class Action"
  • A very good selection of cook books in the basement
  • Great selection!
  • If you like to browse your books late at night, this is the place to go. Open till midnight. Staff is super helpful, they don't turn to a computer straight away to find something.
  • Reading books may change your life!
  • Learn how to look at a burrito here.

Nearby places

255 Columbus Ave (btwn Broadway and Pacific)
601 Vallejo St (at Grant Ave)
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd (btwn Lombard & Union St)