• City Lights Bookstore - San Francisco, California

      City Lights
      Photo by Dennis Goza
      Founded in 1953 at the height of the Beat movement, City Lights has been a San Francisco landmark bookstore, publisher and gathering spot for generations. It gained notoriety, and a big boost when its owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti, himself a distinguished poet and painter, was put on trial for obscenity for publishing Allen Ginsberg's watershed poetry collection "Howl." It was an important case for First Amendment rights, and helped put City Lights on the national map. An oddly shaped building that has expanded into adjacent spaces over the years, with many nooks and crannies of delight and wonder, City Lights has been declared an official historic landmark by the city.

      If you go:
      Located near Chinatown in the colorful Italian neighborhood of North Beach. Open every day from 10 a.m. to midnight.


      261 Columbus Avenue
      San Francisco, California 94133 USA

      Phone Numbers:

      City Lights
      +1 (415) 362-8193

      Comments 1 Comment
      1. Rick Quinn's Avatar
        Rick Quinn -
        Book stores, especially independent book stores are incredibly important. In this age when even the once heavyweight chains like Borders Books and B. Dalton have been swept away by the rising tide of the internet, the simple act of browsing the shelves in a well stocked book store, the delight of unexpected finds, it's a cherished experience that's getting harder and harder to come by. City Lights has been a ground-breaking presence on the San Francisco scene for almost as long as I've been alive. When I was a teenager, I thought Jack Kerouac's On the Road was the greatest book ever written, so I'll never forget my first visit to that crowded little book shop. It was almost like visiting a shrine. Unfortunately, that was then, and this is now. Here's a sad update on City Lights, as of yesterday:

        "A legendary San Francisco bookstore that gave voice to the Beat Generation may be forced to close its doors permanently as California's sweeping coronavirus response takes its toll on small businesses."

        You can read the whole article at this link:

        Iconic San Francisco bookstore closed by coronavirus may never reopen