10 Best Bookstores in the U.S.

A good bookstore is a place to lose yourself in. From miles upon miles of books within a single store in New York City to quirky displays in Los Angeles, some of the very best bookstores in the United States set the scene for hours of perusing. It doesn't matter if you're a parent looking for the perfect book for your child or you're a collector on the hunt for the next rare edition to add to your shelves, America's best bookstores have all kinds of treasures waiting to be uncovered. Here are our favorites. 

Powell's City of Books, Portland, OR

This shop is one of the most esteemed independent booksellers in the country. Devoted to the Portland, Oregon, community since 1971, Powell's City of Books has a colossal inventory that exceeds two million volumes. Their mission? To be "the world's best destination for readers, a place that fosters a culture of reading and connects people with the books they'll love." Find new arrivals, best sellers, used books, and an unforgettable experience at Powell's.  

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Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

Located on Connecticut Avenue, Politics and Prose is an integral part of D.C. culture. A knowledgeable staff is always a valued asset of a bookstore, but Politics and Prose takes things to the next level. The staff here has earned a bit of a reputation for being highly adept at making recommendations. In fact, the original store owners Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade became recognized as "literary tastemakers." That's quite the title. A number of famous faces have made appearances here for author reading events, including the likes of Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, and Salman Rushdie. Not too shabby. 

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The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA

"What are you waiting for? We won't be here forever," teases the bookstore's website. The Last Bookstore, located in Los Angeles since 2005, is California's largest used and new book and record store. The praise is endless for this charming space, earning recognition in a documentary titled "Welcome to the Last Bookstore," and accolades as one of the 20 "most beautiful bookstores in the world." The store creates a variety of unique visual displays with the books, including an astounding arched wall of books that curves over your head as you walk through it. It's a whimsical experience.  

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Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Open since 1973, Elliott Bay is a Seattle icon. This book shop shows off over 150,000 titles on gorgeous cedar shelves. Over the years, Elliott Bay has become renowned for its engaging community events including children's story time and book group discussions. One of their biggest highlights is their author readings series which brings over 500 authors a year into the store. Keep an eye on their calendar, you just might get the chance to see your favorite writer speak in person. Don't leave without stopping by the café for a quick bite and a cup of coffee.  

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The Book Barn, Niantic, CT

Books, cats, goats…what more could you ask for? The lovely Book Barn, located in the charming coastal Connecticut town of Niantic, is a campus of adorable barn-like buildings and outdoor shelves housing all varieties of books. On a beautiful sunny day, this is a dreamy place to roam. Peruse stacks of paperbacks lined along shelves situated among their fairytale-like gardens. Pay a visit to their goats gobbling hay and their sleepy cats cuddling up in all the cozy little nooks of the place. Open 363 days of the year (closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas), the Book Barn is a sight to behold. 

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Strand Bookstore, New York, NY

Eighteen miles of new, used, and rare books. You'll have to see it with your own eyes to believe it. Open since 1927, the Strand Bookstore is a fixture of New York City. It might as well be named a National Historic Landmark. Book lover Fred Bass co-owned and managed the store for over 30 years, following in his father's footsteps. Bass once said, "It's a lotta fun—like a treasure hunt. I wouldn't be in any other business." The Strand is the kind of place you can walk through for hours on end and find thousands of titles that pique your interest. Make sure to head upstairs to witness their stunning rare book collection. It's a dream come true for avid collectors and it will open up a world of curiosities for those less familiar with the passion.    

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Books & Books, Florida

Books & Books was born in Miami in a 500-square-foot store in 1982 during a time when Time magazine declared the city a "paradise lost." Poor infrastructure and racial tensions plagued the city, but the store's founder Mitchell Kaplan had a dream to fulfill. Today, the store resides in a stunning 1927 building that's listed in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places—and it is thriving. With locations all throughout Florida, from Key West to Coconut Grove, Books & Books has emerged as a haven for book lovers of all kinds. Browse their selection of books, attend one of their exciting book signing events, or grab a cup of coffee at one of their cafés.  

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John K. King Used & Rare Books, Detroit, MI

Walk along creaky old floors and past 100-year-old windows and soak up the sight of books for as far as the eye can see. John K. King Used & Rare Books houses over a million titles across four incredible floors. The Rare Book Room itself has over 25,000 items that include all types of rarities such as historic maps, stunning illustrations, spiritual texts, autographs, and so much more. Saturated in character and history, this store is a must-visit if books are a passion of yours. 

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Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

Owned by two impressive women, best-selling author Ann Patchett and publishing legend Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books is a warm and welcoming retreat for book lovers in the Nashville area. According to their website, they "strive to complement and contribute to the rich cultural character of Nashville." The store features a great selection of works, from children's books to non-fiction, and even has a significant collection of books from local authors. Become even more connected to the store by signing up for their First Editions Club, which brings readers a signed first edition of a book 12 times a year. Join one of their book clubs for invigorating literary discussion and make sure to attend one of their great events. 

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Faulkner House, New Orleans, LA

Sitting proudly in New Orleans' captivating French Quarter, Faulkner House is a treasure trove of literary gems. The store first opened on William Faulkner's birthday, 15 years ago, and stocks an impressive selection of his works. When he was 27 years-old, Faulkner actually rented rooms on the ground floor of the same building that houses the bookstore today. In addition to Faulkner favorites, this beautiful book shop boasts a collection of other fine literature and rare editions. 

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