Growing up, I spent countless hours and probably hundreds of dollars in bookstores. There is just something about the smell and the look of all of the books stacked neatly on the shelves that I find really calming. To this day they are one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon.
That being said, not all bookstores are created equal. While I appreciate the selection of the larger chains, they just seem to lack the character and the personality of the smaller boutique shops. Does anyone else feel the same way?
If so, this is the list for you! Move over Barnes & Noble, here are six American bookshops that are definitely worth a visit.
1. Battery Park Book Exchange And Champagne Bar, Asheville, North Carolina
Kicking the list off with a nod to my home state, I give you Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. This shop offers its customers “… the marriage of two of earth’s finest pleasures, books and wine, side by side. Or should we say page by glass?” With a constantly rotating selection of used books and fine wines I’d say this one is definitely worth a visit.
2. Powell’s City Of Books, Portland, Oregon
A city that bills itself as the “city of books,” which, let’s be real, isn’t nearly as cool as a City of Literature, should have at least one representative on this list. So, what could be better than including the world’s largest independent bookstore and one of Portland’s biggest attractions? With a collection of over two million volumes, Powell’s City of Books should be on every book lover’s bucket list.
3. Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, Louisiana
Located in the beautiful French Quarter of New Orleans, the charming exterior alone makes this shop worth a visit. However, if that isn’t enough for you -since you’re reading this site I’ll assume it’s not- the inside of this shop is a wonder. With gorgeous bookshelves, an unbeatable selection of “fine literature,” and rare editions, Faulkner House Books pushes New Orleans a little higher on my Places To Go list.
4. Baldwin’s Book Barn, West Chester, Pennsylvania
This one is located in an actual barn and I think that’s just about the coolest thing ever. Converted in 1946, Baldwin’s Book Barn is five stories of full shelves, cozy nooks, and wood burning stoves that could get anyone through those cold Pennsylvania winters. It’s a book lover’s little slice of heaven.
5. BookBar, Denver, Colorado
This Indie bookshop in Denver, Colorado is totally dedicated to helping its customers slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. Boasting a rotating selection of fine wines and locally sourced food, single source teas and coffee, and even a garden patio, you may come for the books but you’ll stay for the atmosphere.
6. Bart’s Books, Ojai, California
Guys, I don’t think I can properly express my excitement about this one via keyboard, but I’ll certainly do my best. This is an outdoor bookshop! Actually, it’s not just an outdoor bookshop, it’s THE outdoor bookshop, having been recognized as the largest independent outdoor bookshop in the world. Home to almost one million books with everything from specials sold using the honor system, to out of print first editions, this shop really has something for everyone. Including a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch, but it should be enough to get you started. I did my best to cover a diverse number of regions and styles of shops~ Let us know what your favorite bookstore is!
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