City Lights Silver Lining

One of the great joys of being in San Francisco, aside from my exceptional care, is the City Lights bookstore (Silver Lining).

I am a real sucker for independent bookstores.  I pretty much melt in a puddle whenever I have the opportunity to go in one.  Much less shop. Ohhhh, I get into real trouble.  And City Lights is no exception!


City Lights is a legendary, landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics. It was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin.



There is a legacy of anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking at City Lights, which I love. I also love the way it feels.  And smells.  I could, in the blink of an eye, lose 3 hours here.


City Lights is clearly a mecca.  I’ve been in a few times (ok, five) since I arrived to town and every time there is a tour of one sort or another. It’s an institution. And an (anti-) establishment.  If you are in San Francisco, please enjoy this Silver Lining literary meeting place!


With this bookstore-publisher combination, it is as if the public were being invited, in person and in books, to participate in that ‘great conversation’ between authors of all ages, ancient and modern.

– Lawrence Ferlinghetti



Leave a comment


  1. says

    I love City Lights corner bookstore. It was a must stop every time I visited San Francisco from Reno. I started going there in the 60's as a newly graduated teacher. In those days I read the poetry of Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Ansen, and Gregory Corso, among others. I could get lost in there for days just breathing in the atmosphere. Awww…..thanks for the memories, Hollye.

  2. Kathi says

    Thank you for spotlighting this SF institution! I think I did lose three hours there last summer… It's a Silver Lining any way you look at (or read) it. I'm so glad it's still in business and look forward to spending lots of time there next year when my daughter is at Cal. xoxo

  3. Carrie says

    Oh, I love City Lights, I spent days there in college! Doesn't it make you feel like the Beat Generation is still alive and well? It feels like you might just run into Allan Ginsburg or someone! Xoxo