City Lights

Type of Venue: 
Bookstore
Genre: 
Not Genre-Specific
Event Types: 
Reading, Panel, Talk, Performance
Phone Number: 
(415) 362-8193
E-mail: 

Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is an independent bookstore where book lovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture’s only “Literary Landmark.” Although it has been more than fifty years since tour buses with passengers eager to sight “Beatniks” began pulling up in front of City Lights, the Beats’ legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking continues to be a strong influence in the store, most evident in the selection of titles.

The nation’s first all-paperback bookstore, City Lights has expanded several times over the years; it now offers three floors of both new-release hardcovers and quality paperbacks from all of the major publishing houses, along with an impressive range of titles from smaller, harder-to-find, specialty publishers. This venue features an extensive and in-depth selection of poetry, fiction, translations, politics, history, philosophy, music, spirituality, and more, with a staff whose special book interests in many fields contribute to the hand-picked quality of what you see on the shelves. It hosts an array of readings throughout the year.

Address: 
261 Columbus Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133