Where: 261 Columbus Avenue at Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
When: October 2014 (repeatedly)
Wedged between Little Italy and Chinatown on the rolling hills of San Francisco sits a building filled with my favorite of things -- books. With the cool air, the there and gone again fog, and coffee shops scattered in the vicinity, this is the picture of bookish.
When I arrived at San Francisco, we were dropped off outside of this bookstore so that we could head for our hotel (which was located a block away) and immediately, I was thrilled. "We're staying near a bookstore!" I exclaimed to the beau who sighed and said we didn't have enough room in our luggage to take back more books (that was a lie, by the way).
By the first full day that we were in the city, we were in the bookstore. Three floors of books, the outside sign declares, and it's the honest truth! Large windows let in light to the middle floor while the top floor, filled with poetry, has a more pleasant light from a few overhead lights and a window in the corner.
A rocking chair in the corner, a street musician outside the open window singing, and myself, sitting and enjoying the atmosphere. While this is certainly a bookstore to shop and pick up odds and ends, it's a place rich with atmosphere and history.
They also publish, which is awesome in my humble opinion. Their books have some connection to the city of San Francisco which I find even more exciting. It's nice to find regional books in indie book shops.
The store stays open until midnight which served us well plenty of times on our trip. Not being partyers or drinkers, we found ourselves wandering the shelves of the bookstore, pulling out books and reading them to one another in funny voices, and making mental notes of what to buy.
Outside of the store is also a special place for book enthusiasts, Jack Kerouac Alley. With brightly painted walls, street musicians or music from the local bars pouring out into the street, it's pleasant to pass down this alley and look at the quotes ingrained in the concrete by famous writers.
P.S.: I bought only two books while there, we definitely had room in our luggage for more.