City Lights Booksellers
City Lights Booksellers
4.5
Speciality & Gift ShopsHistoric Sites
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Monday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Friday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 12:00 AM
About
Famous bookstore founded and still owned by Beat Generation poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Chinatown
As the oldest in North America, San Francisco's Chinatown is an exotic experience. A unique neighborhood decorated with colorful 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 neighborhood.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,038 reviews
Excellent
747
Very good
219
Average
57
Poor
12
Terrible
3

StephenCross
Dublin, Ireland18,552 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
City Lights Bookstore is located on Columbus Street and close to Little Italy. It is a traditional old fashioned book store with real paper books!
Written October 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

eee
Cupertino, CA93 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
I don't understand the hype about this place. It's just a bookstore. Nothing special. Also not a very good book selection.
Written August 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maureen51311
Coachella, CA7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023
After visiting the Beat Museum, we walked across the street to City LIghts Booksellers. They have a unique collection of books. Check out the artwork in the alley.
Written July 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

profmom1
Douglasville, GA189 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
This legendary bostore was one of our first stops in SF. The 3 floors are full of titles one might not easily find elsewhere.
Written June 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JohnnyOrbit
Austin, TX1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Solo
This is an excellent bookstore. Sure it’s a stop for many tourists, but that doesn’t take away from its 3 floors of well curated books—both old and new.

Don’t believe the jaded reviewers with their reverse-snobbery reviews calling this a tourist trap—they can’t see what’s right in front of their eyes.
Written May 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingSoccerLoon
Saint Paul, MN3,583 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
Terrific independent bookstore with quite the history. Famous for it's role in the counterculture Beat Movement in the 1950s and now an official historic landmark.
Written May 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LuluBelle93
Sandy Springs, GA9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
Rude.
There were signs marking the different genres. I asked where to find Amy Tan books. The man at the counter said "T" .
Written April 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LeAnn H
Northville, MI34 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022
I'm a book lover and when I travel I must visit local/indie bookstores. City Lights is a well known so of course I had to visit. There are 3 floors, each with it's own theme. It's in an older building, which I love because it adds so much character to the space.
Written December 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Denise
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
Full of nooks and crannies and great books. A magical place to visit and buy books! A great span of subjects in a unique setting. My only gripe - I love mysteries and that section was not robust. But the rest of the inventory was amazing.
Written November 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheri K
Aurora, CO21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
It's a great shop! If you're an avid reader or know one, but sure to stop in. They have a huge selection and the staff is really wonderful. They'll take good care of you.
Written October 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CITY LIGHTS BOOKSELLERS: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about City Lights Booksellers

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