What would a trip to San Francisco be without a look at the local bookstores? I’ve researched a couple of them before the trip and it was a good idea. I looked for the most local ones and ones that had some history. And I wasn’t disappointed! Here’s my quick tour of four bookstores I really enjoyed.
Located in the Ferry Building, Book Passage has been a famous bookstore in San Francisco for the past 40 years. They have a lot of regular book readings with new as well as famous authors. But they didn’t have to show me their credibility by hosting popular authors. When I looked around the bookstore, I noticed books that I haven’t seen anywhere else. And let’s face it – you can fine almost everything everywhere today. Even the online website is full of titles that make me want to read. (Less by Andrew Shaun Greer, I’m looking at you.)
#1 Ferry Building
Chronicle Books was born in 1967, the Summer of Love, and this years the book company celebrates 50 years since being born. Their approach was very different opposed to other bookstores. They were asking all different types of shops to sell their books – and it worked! Today, Chronicle Books sells smart and savvy books with amazing design. I’ve been a big fan of Bobbi Brown’s books who’s been publishing with them for a while now.
Their “Letters To [My Future Self/The Bride/etc.]” are an amazing idea and a gift. While I was staying at my friends’ house, I gifted Letters To My Future Self to their 9 year old daughter. She was begging me in the store to buy it for her and I must say it was hard to resist…because I loved it too!
1846 Union St
City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
Perhaps one of the most influential bookstores, and not just for San Francisco, is City Lights. Founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin in 1953, the bookstore was the first all-paperbound bookshop in the country. The bookstore became famous for publishing the Beat writers and the works of Charles Bukowski. Today, the bookstore specialises in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.
261 Columbus Ave
Alley Cat Books
I visited Alley Cat Books with my friend Sarah who’s lived in the neighbourhood for years, yet she never visit the shop. Maybe because the bookstore is more recent. It opened in 2011 and besides new titles, they sell second-hand books and a lot of Spanish literature. I left with a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, content. Sarah left with her own book, looking happy too.
3036 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA