Several years ago, when my husband and I were visiting my sister in law in California, she asked us what kind of activities we would like to do so we felt like our trip was complete. At the time, I couldn’t think of anything, but now, I know for sure my first answer would be, “I want to visit some independent bookstores”.

As a child, one of the most exciting outings that my parents could take me on was a bookstore trip. I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, a city not lacking in bookstores by any means. Books a Million and Barnes and Noble both have a presence, but the place my parents took me most often was Hawley Cooke Booksellers. Since then, the company has gone out of business, along with Borders bookstores. Carmichael’s Bookstore still stands in the Highlands neighborhood and Nanny Goat Books is nestled in the heart of downtown.

When COVID-19 calms down and we can start traveling again, I hope to visit some of these unique bookstores in the USA. Without further ado, here is my USA bookstore bucket list.

Photo from The New York Times

Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway at 12th Street
New York, NY 10003

Founded in 1927, Strand carries over 2.5 million new and used books at any given time. The place is also packed with mugs, knick knacks, and everything else that is a bookworms dream.

Photo from TripAdvisor.com

The Montague Bookmill
440 Old Greenfield Road
Montague, MA 01351

The “about” for this place on Facebook says it is “books you don’t need in a place you can’t find”. This used bookstore also boasts a cafe, restaurant, and sells vinyls, CDs, and DVDs. I think both my husband I could get lost in this place.

Photo from Wikipedia

The Last Bookstore
435 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Used books in one of the sunniest places in the USA? Don’t mind if I do! Despite having lived in San Diego for a year and trailing to LA multiple times during that period, I never made it to The Last Bookstore. Next time, LA, next time.

Photo via McKays Website

McKays Books
636 Old Hickory Blvd
Nashville, TN 37209
(there are multiple locations, but this is the one I want to go to!)

This place just looks HUGE and also happens to be not too far from where my sister in law lives, so…this one may actually happen for me someday!

Photo from Trip Advisor

The Book Cellar
4736-38 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60625

The Book Cellar not only has books and a cafe, but they sell wine by the glass. I was in Chicago last summer and my biggest regret is that we didn’t go here! The photos of the inside look dreamy and there’s something really cool about Chicago’s atmosphere.

What USA bookstores are on your bucket list? I would love to hear them so I can add them to mine!

Published by jennastopreading

I read a lot of books. Find me on Instagram @jennastopreading.


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