San Francisco January 16, 2017
by Julian Garr It’s Impossible Not To Love The 11 Oldest Bookstores In San Francisco
In the middle of the winter, a good bookstore can be a hideaway and distraction from the cooler weather. San Francisco has numerous options when it comes to bookstores because of the city history in music, politics, art, and innovation.
If you’re looking for a cozy and classic bookstore to inspire you then check these places out. Start with the 11 oldest and most classic bookstores in San Francisco. We have compiled the 11 oldest bookstores, so of course there are newer ones missing. Either way, start with these longstanding bookstores and browse your heart away!
1. Books Inc: Multiple Locations around San Francisco
Books Inc. has the title of the West Coast's oldest independent bookseller, with roots in the California gold rush of the 1850s. There are locations in Presidio Heights, Marina/Cow Hollow, and Civic Center. Pick a location and browse the book aisles especially for food/cooking related reads.
2. Argonaut Book Shop: 786 Sutter Street
Particularly strong on local history and also an interesting collection of old maps. The connection to Hitchcock's Vertigo is fun, too.
3. City Lights: 261 Columbus Avenue
City Lights is similar in terms of history and importance to Powells Books in Portland. Founded in 1953, City Lights is one of the few truly great independent bookstores in the United States. Also, there are 3 floors to go crazy and browse. Lastly, City Lights is the nation's first all-paperback bookstore. Wow!
4. Green Apple Books: 506 Clement Street
Founded in 1967, Green Apple Books is another favorite of longtime San Franciscans. Venture to the Richmond, explore the aisles and even buy music at their annex too.
5. Booksmith: 1644 Haight Street
Head over to the Haight street area and wander the store for a good read. This bookstore is also home to a particularly active roster of author events.
6. Bound Together Books: 1369 Haight Street
Bound Together Books is run by a team of volunteers on Haight Street. The bookstore opened in 1981 and has been vital to featuring literature dedicated to underground and radical thought. This place is truly a San Francisco experience.
7. Browser Books: 2195 Fillmore Street
Situated on a lively block of Pac Heights is Browser Books, which offers an enlightening selection.Seek out a good selection of literature and fiction, both contemporary and classic, as well philosophy and spirituality books.
8. Dog Eared Books: 900 Valencia Street or 489 Castro Street
The Mission location offers a very intimate book experience in particular in a dynamic part of the Mission district. You can read little cards peaking out of the books with little notes for staff recommended books. Check out the Castro location as well.
9. Alexander Book Company: 50 2nd Street
Near the heart of downtown and the Financial District is a wonderful bookstore with three floors and over 50,000 titles. Alexander Book Company specializes in African-American literature, children’s literature, graphic design and fiction.
10. Borderlands Books: 866 Valencia Street
Borderlands is truly unique among a city full of great bookstores. Borderlands specializes in science fiction, fantasy literature, mystery and horror. Borderlands is unparalleled.
11. Omnivore Books: 3885A Cesar Chavez Street
Omnivore Books specializes in books on food. In a city known for food it is fitting we end with Omnivore, a culinary and gastronomical dream inside four walls. If you love cooking or just love food this is the perfect bookstore for you.
Have you been to any of these bookstores? Share your opinions and let us know what you think. Also, check out
Amazing Antiques At These 11 Places in San Francisco.
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