It is renowned for its specialist and second-hand bookshops. The section from Leicester Square tube station to Cambridge Circus is home to specialist shops such as Zwemmer's (art books), Murder One/New Worlds (crime books and romances on the ground floor, science fiction, fantasy and horror in the basement), and Comic Showcase. Most second-hand shops are found in this area, although increasingly inflated rents are leading to closures. More second-hand bookstores can be found on the nearby Cecil Court.
The top section from Cambridge Circus has more generalist shops such as Borders, Blackwells and Foyles, although specialist sports bookshop Sportspages is found here , in a small precinct to the right. Also notable are the music shops on Denmark Street (also known as Tin Pan Alley). Music venue, the Astoria is also located here as is St Martin's Arts College. A number of theatres can also be found here.
A real-life bookstore located on the street was the inspiration for the novel 84 Charing Cross Road (1970) by Helene Hanff. In 1986 the novel was made into a film with Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. The novel has also been produced as a play and a BBC radio drama.
At its southern end is a statue of Edith Cavell.