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Tour the Street

City Lights
Booksellers & Publishers

261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco , CA 94133

(415) 362-8193


Open daily from 10 A.M. to Midnight.

A Prominent San Francisco Landmark

There’s no other spot in San Francisco that embodies the beatific fifty-year history of the Beat Generation better than City Lights Books, still at 261 Columbus Avenue, in the heart of “little old wooden North Beach,” as Ferlinghetti called it. It was founded in 1953, the first all-paperback bookstore in the U.S., stocking classics of modern literature and progressive politics. In 1956, City Lights published Allen Ginsberg's seminal poem "Howl" and became the lightning rod for a new generation of untamed poets. This rare combination of bookstore and publishing house battles on as one of the increasingly rare, un-chained independent book enterprises in America. Expert bookworms stock a comprehensive selection of the best books in every field. . . . City Lights has been the head, heart, and undersoul of literary San Francisco for half a century, and—as the Gotham Book Mart in Manhattan long ago proclaimed about itself — “Wise Men Fish Here.” -from tour of City Lights

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