It’s no secret that walking into a bookstore can be a magical and delightful experience.
The real question is: Can you ever have too many beautiful bookstores in your life? Yelp identified the best bookstores in the country by looking at both the number of reviews and the star-rating, then hand-selected the most dazzling stores from that list.
So here are 19 incredible bookstores you need to see for yourself, as told by the Yelp users who love books and ambiance just as much as the rest of us.
“This is an open-air bookstore open until sunset every day that provides hours of entertainment (if you’re a bookworm like me). There is a great mix of new and used books here and the selection is impressive.” —Yelper Kat F.
“Do not miss the cookbooks located in what was once the kitchen of the old house. Through the kitchen lies the special edition, higher priced books.” —Yelper Debra R.
2. Faulkner House Books, New Orleans
“The bookshelves are beautifully designed and use the small space very efficiently. They seem to focus on literary authors and have a good bit of poetry but also carry some ‘local interest’ too.” — Yelper Jen B
“The most adorable bookstore that used to be Faulkner’s home. How awesome is that?! It isn’t a huge store but what it lacks in size it makes up totally in charm.” —Yelper Sana J.
“You know when you walk into a place and there’s an immediate, visceral reaction that would make you do nearly anything to have that place exist forever and ever? The Writer’s Block is such a place and despite not planning on buying a book I bought one anyway as a sort of pledge to to the continued existence of this place — I hope to all that is good and decent in this world — forever and ever and ever. ” —Yelper Jon-Paul B.
“It’s small, but crammed full of new and interesting books. I caught eye of many of the latest in literary fiction, cool art books, and just all sorts of excellent selections. For the nerds out there, they even had a copy of Hyrule Historia for sale!” —Yelper Shay B.
4. Idlewild Books, New York City
“Idlewild is more than just travel guides. Amongst the Lonely Planets, there are novels and collections of travel writing, all arranged by country. If you’re planning a big international trip, this store is a must.” —Yelper Jennifer H.
“This world needs more specialty independent bookstores. Idlewild specializes in ‘travel books,’ in the most all-encompassing sense: they do an excellent job of curating both the essential tour guides and other types of literature (fiction, essays, history) about the country you’re (dreaming about) visiting.” —Yelper Elaine W.
“Situated in an old New England mill overlooking a rushing river cascading over falls and rocks, a giant compound which basically consists of a bookshop with an AMAZING selection of second-hand books, a cafe, a restaurant, a music and film shop AND a local artist’s co-op and gallery, I could easily spend an entire day here and lose all track of time and space.” —Yelper Bobby A.
“This place is a hidden gem! An incredible location, just the perfect place to linger and browse the stacks and stacks of books on nearly every subject! There are plenty of comfy chairs situated near windows that overlook a river flowing below.” —Yelper Mj W.
“An amazing collection of both vintage and older used books fill multiple floors of this amazing barn. There is a big collection of military and political books as well as the usual fiction, art, photography, medical, travel, local interest, and cookbooks among the shelves.” —Yelper L N.
“Cats. We found at least two well-fed cats wandering the property… Well, one wandering, and the other sleeping inside. The wandering one greeted everybody that got out a car or walked in from the road. Very friendly!” —Yelper Jude T.
7. Brattle Book Shop, Boston
“Too freakin cute. An open air bookstore wedged between brick buildings in downtown Boston. You’ll find everything from used gardening books to classics and everywhere in between. There’s also a small indoor section but the books under the sun steal the show.” —Yelper Brittany S.
“They have a large number of books from $1 to $5, including entire book sets. These are ‘bargain’ books displayed in a small lot adjacent to the actual book shop.” —Yelper Dee L.
“Ahhhh, City Lights! Classic indie bookstore and San Francisco gem. Tucked away in Chinatown amidst a spectacle of neighboring night clubs, bars, trendy coffee shops and eats. It’s perfectly grungy yet hip enough to satisfy any book lover’s dream.” —Yelper Rachel Ann C.
“This is a quite large, three-story bookshop that you can really get lost in. I love that it has plenty of rooms with natural light (a rarity in most bookshops). Sitting in the rocking chair in the poetry room, I wanted to spend all day there reading.” —Yelper Jordan T.
“Holy mother of guacamole, I love this place. I am a longstanding sucker for any place that sells books/coffee/book-related novelty and BookBar brings all this together into a wonderful smoothie of delightfulness.” —Yelper Xan P.
“BookBar quickly became one of my favorite spots in Denver. Offering up fantastic reads, gifts, and trinkets, BookBar is a perfect getaway for those looking to wrap up that last-minute project while sipping on local flavors.” — Yelper Anthony S.
“Wonderful bookstore! It reminded me of Shakespeare & Company in Paris. Floor-to-ceiling books, rows upon rows. And very well organized.” —Yelper Amanda H.
“Walking through the doors transports you to another land. A land filled with BOOKS. And I’m talking about every kind of book you could possibly think of and/or desire.” —Yelper Daisy D.
“What an eclectic awesome place! Bookstore, retail space, coffee bar, tea, bar, restaurant, and private club, all in one!” — Yelper Amy Z.
“You would think they have a small book selection since they have so much to offer at this place, but the bookstore part is actually quite large.” —Yelper Christina C.
12. Armadillo’s Pillow, Chicago
“This is the kind of bookshop you read about in books! So unique and full of little surprises.” —Yelper Jessie G.
“I felt like I was in the library at Sunnydale High, with the addition of incense and cushy ottomans. Which is a huge compliment.” —Yelper Susan B. (Buffy the Vampire Slayer shout-out^)
“This bookstore is like the Weasley’s Burrow plus a historical Victorian house. There are so many cramped rooms stuffed with bookshelves winding up, down, left, right that I’m never quite sure I made it to all of them. You enter through the back garden and it’s just so quaint and picturesque that I want to melt in my literary dreamland.” —Yelper Kathy D.
“One awesome feature is that each room has its own theme music. As you step into the nature/outdoor section you are met with sounds of birds chirping and raindrops, in the fantasy room the score of Lord of the Rings or Star Wars plays, it’s such a small detail but it makes this bookstore feel magical.” —Yelper Kelly M.
14. Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, Asheville, North Carolina
“Counter Culture Coffee while sitting amongst musty books inside of a building that feels like something out of a Wes Anderson film. That’s the best simile I can come up with for this spot.” —Yelper Benjamin G.
“You’ll want to walk around and see every nook and cranny of this place before you plop down in a comfortable leather chair, with a glass of wine (from their enormous wine list), and a book. Come to stay for a while.” —Yelper Jason L.
“Just a wonderful (and frankly, given the location, jaw-dropping) selection. Tons of purposefully curated non-fiction and fiction with plenty of staff recommendations studding the shelves. And I actually really enjoyed the upper floor, which was full of thoughtful children’s games and puzzles, which pushed all my buttons as a former Klutz Press enthusiast.” —Kirtan N.
“Set inside a historic property in the center of picturesque Manchester, the Northshire is simply one of the best bookstores in America. Their inventory is impressive, but their ambiance of nooks and crannies and lovely reading benches is even more so.” — Yelper Patrick B.
“Genres are clearly labeled based on rooms and row numbers. If that perfect book still alludes you, they have a ton of info desks with employees excited to help.” —Yelper Kristen T.
“If there’s a topic you want to read about, Powell’s will have you covered. This literary labyrinth will entertain a non-reader for at least 20-30 minutes, and bibliophiles might never escape. Thankfully there are ample maps, color coded floors, and the occasional employee to act as your book sherpa, in case you find yourself truly lost in the stacks.” —Yelper Matt E.
17. Taylor Books, Charleston, West Virginia
“Taylor’s is a Charleston institution and just what local, small business is all about. Across three, long rooms, you’ll find fine art (including a large gallery of it), gifts, food, coffee, and, of course, books.” —Yelper Tina K.
“Cozy atmosphere with eclectic decor of wood floors and brick walls. I could comfortably spend a lot of time in this place.” —Yelper Tawnya W.
“This store is everything you’d want in a bookstore, with every title you could possibly want, a café, and even a little area downstairs for readings.” —Yelper Christina P.
“The large, lofty space lends itself to hours of distracted perusing with little nooks and rooms to hide out in on a rainy day. Their staff selection wall is a must-see, with each book suggestion comes a neatly noted review.” — Yelper Jane K.
“I love that all of the proceeds go to an HIV/AIDS charity, all of the workers are volunteers, and the books are all donations.” —Yelper Ava O.
“A true bookstore’s bookstore, this is the kind of place that makes you want to open every book and smell that entrancing old book smell. Atmosphere for days.” —Yelper Chaia M.
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