If you’re a bookworm, you know you cannot really know a city until you know where all of its top bookstores are. San Francisco is home to a wealth of bookstores where you can find a broad range of publications to bring back home in your travel bag. Whether you are looking for children’s storybooks, adult novels, or instructional manuals, there is likely to be a bookstore in San Francisco that has what you want.

City Lights Booksellers and Publishers

City Lights Booksellers and Publishers opened its doors on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco back in 1953. Since its opening, this independent bookstore has become one of the most popular places in San Francisco for residents and visitors to purchase books. The hardwood floors and bookshelves of varied sizes give a sense of exploration to visitors. The shop has evolved quite a bit over the years, and today it offers three floors of the best reading in the city.

City Lights is open every day from 10:00 am to midnight, and there is parking available in either the Portsmouth Square Garage on Kearny Street or the North Beach Garage on Vellejo Street. Special features of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers include a luxurious reading basement, rare books, City Lights online gift shop, weekly readings and regular special events.

Borderlands New and Used Books

Located on Valencia Street in San Francisco, you will find one of the best fantasy and sci-fi bookstores in the city. Known as Borderlands New and Used Books, this quaint hideaway offers an excellent selection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Everywhere you look, the tall shelves are brimming with popular titles and hidden gems.

Borderlands is open every day from noon to 8:00 pm, and there is parking available in the MEDA City Garage on 21st Street. Here, you will find a friendly atmosphere with rows upon rows of books. Highlights of Borderlands New and Used Books include online shopping, author visits, and other special events.

Dog Eared Books

Open since 1992, Dog Eared Books is a playful bookstore where you will find a delightful selection of new and used books, calendars, magazines, and notebooks. The sassy book categories are handwritten on cardboard in various colours to add to the whimsical nature of the store. You will find Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Dog Eared opens every day at 10:00 am and closes at 10:00 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 pm on Sunday. Do you have books that you would like to sell? Bring them to Dog Eared Books! Dog Eared Books will offer trades or cash for select books in good condition. However, be sure to call ahead of time to make sure that the buyer is available.

Books Inc.

Books Inc. is actually a chain of bookstores located in the Bay area, and there are four of them in San Francisco. One of the most popular Books Inc. store is the one on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco’s Opera Plaza. This location is just a short walk from Nourse Theatre and offers a huge variety of books for children, teens, and adults. The big store feels roomy and comfortable if you wanted to linger a while and sample a few books before purchasing any.

In addition to a large array of books, Books Inc. also offers such great features as book signings, affiliate programs, online shopping, and regular special events. Do you enjoy writing? Books Inc. offers a unique children’s book writing group. Other highlights of Books Inc. include book fairs, book clubs and school fundraisers.

Green Apple Books

Once named Bookstore of the Year by Publishers Weekly, you can find Green Apple Books located on Clement Street in San Francisco. Known for its sardonic personality, Green Apple Books features categories like “Books Not Found on Oprah” and signs making fun of certain politician autobiographies. Green Apple has been in business since 1967 and offers a broad range of products including used and new books, DVDs, magazines, journals, LPs, tote bags, clothing, and greeting cards.

Green Apple Books also hosts various special events during the year such as author meet-and-greets, book readings, and occasional contests. The store is open from 10:00 am to 10:30pm every day with the exception of holidays. For your convenience, Green Apple offers online shopping as well.

If you’re someone who keeps extra space in your weekender for some new books on your trip, San Francisco is your mecca. There’s a sea of great bookstores in the area, and those listed above are only five of the best. Other bookstores you may want to visit are Modern Times Bookstore, Alexander Book Company, Booksmith, Cover to Cover Booksellers, and the Oakland Museum Bookstore.

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