Best of SF: Top 5 Bookstores in San Francisco

By Kindred SF Homes

Reading time: 2 minutes

Many San Francisco bookstores were casualties of the internet age, but not all. Thanks to San Francisco’s large population and well-educated clientele, there are still wonderful bookstores where you can browse books as easily as you can download them. Here is a list of San Francisco’s top five independent bookstores:

1) City Lights Books
This bookstore features an impressive collection of poetry and classics, as well as modern fiction and nonfiction that highlight San Francisco culture and history. The business was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City lights famously became known for publishing beat generation literary works like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. This bookstore truly has something for every kind of reader. If you’re not sure what to pick up for yourself, go browse the “City Lights Pocket Poets” series.

2) The Booksmith
The San Francisco Chronicle has called the Booksmith “a San Francisco institution for over 40 years,” and it’s easy to see why. The bookstore is a neighborhood staple, with a bit of everything from fiction and science fiction to mystery and graphic novels. They have a great section dedicated to local authors which highlights just how much San Francisco loves books in general!

3) Green Apple Books
Kindred’s hands-down favorite and a staple of the inner Richmond district since 1967. (There’s also an inner Sunset location and sister store Browser Books in the Fillmore.) A San Francisco resident can’t go wrong here – it has fiction and classics of all kinds, as well as extensive poetry and science fiction sections. And there’s a perfect blend of new and used books, as well as lots of fun merchandise. Drop by on a rainy day and browse for a couple of hours, then drift down Clement Street in search of some delicious food!

4) Books Inc
This bookstore chain has ten locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The store had its beginning during the Gold Rush, so there’s a long history. You’ll find everything you could possibly want to read, and they often sponsor fun literary events and readings.

5) Dog Eared Books
This San Francisco favorite has been open since 1997 and features a great variety of new and used titles. If you’re looking for an eclectic range of both modern and classic volumes that all focus on San Francisco culture, then this bookstore is for you! It specializes in literature, cultural studies, and San Francisco history. Bonus: Its Valencia Street location gives you entrée to some of the best eating and shopping in the city.

When in San Francisco, stop by these five bookstores to find what San Franciscans love most: books! You’ll be inspired by these San Francisco institutions, as well as San Francisco culture and history.

Photo Credit: Fallon Michael


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