Posted June 22, 2021

The Coolest Indie Bookstores in Every City

Destinations Travel Tips

Faulkner House Books, New Orleans

Online convenience may be king but nothing can take the place of finding your next late night page turner at an indie bookstore. Here, time slows down and we really like it that way. We appreciate the employees who openly worship books and are unhurried in acting as our literary guardians. They’ll show you everything from bestsellers to lookalikes of your fave genres or surprise you with an unexpected staff-endorsed pick. Where else can you meet your fave author in person for readings and signings? Or spot a resident cat who knows all the best nooks, crannies and sunspots?

Local bookstores seriously need our help to continue to be cornerstones of our neighborhood. It’s tough to battle for the best prices and internet visibility but we believe it’s worth spending a few extra dollars if it’s flowing in the right direction.

Here, we’ve rounded up the bookstores that are worth pausing for. Many are also a part of Bookshop.org, where the store you pick receives full proceeds or your purchase goes towards a communal pool that benefits independent bookstores.

Asheville

Firestorm – a worker-owned bookstore co-operative and dynamic community event space

Bagatelle Books – specializes in buying and selling expertly curated used and rare books

Atlanta

Little Shop of Stories – the perfect bookstore for “for kids and the adults they become”

Charis Books & More – the oldest independent feminist bookstore in the country

Austin

South Congress Books – this rare book haven feels like your personal library

BookWoman – designed by a women’s collective to champion feminist and queer authors

Bozeman

Isle of Books – one of Montana’s largest independent used bookstores, with two stories and over 50,000 books

Country Bookshelf – enjoying over six decades and on its third generation of women owners

Chicago

Unabridged Bookstore – known for celebrating local authors and for a large selection of LGBTQ titles

The Book Cellar – wine by the glass and a serene café setting makes this a perfect date spot

Faulkner House Books, New Orleans

Cleveland

Loganberry Books – a cozy spot that feels like an antiquarian dream with over 100,000 volumes

Mac’s Backs – an eclectic neighborhood spot that includes a well-curated section of Cleveland-centric literature

Dallas / Fort Worth

Deep Vellum Books – the store specializes in small presses, diverse authors, translations and Spanish language books

The Wild Detectives – part bookstore, part bar, this spot has programmed hundreds of cultural events and counting

Los Angeles

Skylight Books – a mainstay for years, Skylight has an exceptional book selection, with a special focus on performing and visual arts

Hennessey & Ingalls – the go-to source for art, architecture, and design books

New Orleans

Crescent City Books – sells books, maps and prints from the last 500 years and located in the historic French Quarter

Faulkner House Books – located in the former home of famed American writer, William Faulkner

New York City

McNally Jackson – with storefronts in Brooklyn and Nolita, they also have a fabulous merch and stationary selection

Kitchen Arts & Letters – this eclectic store caters to the foodies with books based on food and drink (recipes, stories and techniques). Julia Child and James Beard were early customers

Omaha

Jackson Street Booksellers – a sanctuary for used, rare and out-of-print books

The Bookworm Omaha – an independent and family-owned mainstay in Omaha

The Wild Detectives, Dallas / Fort Worth

Palm Springs

Just Fabulous – features a great selection of interior design and architecture books that are quintessential Palm Springs

Interstellar Comic Books – focuses on a fun selection of graphic novels and comic books

Phoenix

Lawn Gnome Publishing – an indie zine publisher and bookstore that highlights first-time and local authors

Poisoned Pen – the perfect spot for fans of true crime and pulp fiction

Salt Lake City

The King’s English Bookshop – located in a quaint house and gas station, with a magical kid’s section

Weller Book Works – follow a natural path through book “canyons” and “arroyos” and stop by the rare book room upstairs

Santa Barbara

The Book Den – one of California’s oldest bookstores carrying a robust selection of new, used and out-of-print books

Chaucer’s Books – a mainstay for booklovers since the 70s with cards, puzzles and gifts for all ages

San Diego 

Warwick’s – the country’s oldest continuously family-owned and operated bookstore

La Playa Books – this Point Loma shop hosts engaging book discussions (with wine!)

Seattle

Elliott Bay Book Company – a sweeping selection perched on Capitol Hill, complete with the Oddfellows Cafe and top-notch events

Twice Sold Tales – remember those friendly cats we talked about? They live at this welcoming used bookstore

Washington, DC

Politics and Prose – known for their knowledgeable staff and star-studded author events

Kramers – offers a monthly book and wine subscription and was the first bookstore slash café in DC

Now that you know which bookstores to spend your Saturday mornings at, we also host a book club with our friends at Literary Hub. Every season, we curate books by diverse authors and perspectives that elevate our understanding of the communities we live in. You can join the convo virtually on Facebook and Instagram or borrow a book at one of our participating hotels next time you check in.

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