34 Trinity Arts & News - Atlas Obscura

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34 Trinity Arts & News

The last used bookstore in Downtown San Francisco is one of the smallest bookstores just about anywhere. 

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Like the Peephole Cinema in San Francisco, this small-scale destination for bibliophiles is similarly out of view, tucked up against a building in a tree-lined urban alleyway/POPOS (no, not police officers, but a Privately-Owned Public Open Space) in Downtown San Francisco.

The store inhabits three showcase windows just two feet deep and 14 feet wide. Once a display space for the I. Magnin & Co. department store, it’s now a thoughtfully curated selection of books, zines, art, and other paper ephemera, as well as a few book carts on wheels. The space found its second life as a bookstore in 2012, when G.F. “Rick” Wilkinson transformed the former display windows into a small bookstore. It became a fixture in the neighborhood.

When Wilkinson decided to close the store in order to focus on his online bookselling business, a new group took over running the beloved store, which was renamed 34 Trinity Arts and News.

Run by a dedicated cadre of volunteers, this diminutive oasis of reading materials (with a focus on San Francisco-based writers, authors, and subjects) provides a much-needed respite from the glass and steel monoliths that loom over it. 34 Trinity occasionally collaborates with other local businesses to host various events including art exhibitions and poetry readings.

Know Before You Go

34 Trinity Plaza runs between Bush and Sutter Streets, with the nearest cross street being Montgomery. Look for a trio of plywood barricades adorned with ROAD CLOSED signs that often stand at either end of Trinity Plaza. It's less than a mile from City Lights Booksellers & Publishers if you walk down Columbus (don't forget to stop into Cafe Zoetrope at Columbus and Kearny to get a tiny tale from the Short Story Vending Machine), and then take a slight right onto Montgomery until you hit Bush Street, just five blocks later.

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