For over 60 years, City Lights Bookstore has been a mainstay of free-speech and radical ideas. Co-founded in 1953 by poet-artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who, at 98, still keeps the candle dripping over the chianti bottle), it was here that Allen Ginsberg’s Howl & Other Poems was first published, putting the Beat Generation on the map. The creaky wooden bookstore and publishing house is still a center of progressive politics and indie literary voices, which it stocks alongside a huge inventory of new and used fiction and nonfiction. You’ll find the shop on the corner of Jack Kerouac Alley (so named after being renovated and reopened to the public in 2007) and across from the Vesuvio Cafe, the bar where Kerouac, Neal Cassady and other Beat heavyweights once held court.
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