The Best Bookstores in Seattle
Looking for some literary fun? Here’s our list of the best bookstores in Seattle to see while you’re there.
When in a new city, the first question that comes to mind for most literary folks is “Where’s the bookstore?” In Seattle, the question will shortly change to, “How many of these can I fit into my trip?”
From a few quick google searches, you will quickly find that there are so many independent bookstores in the area, and from a few more searches, you’ll learn that they’re all pretty great too.
After making the hike up to Seattle and visiting over 15 bookstores, I narrowed it down to a few of my favorites. I was able to take some pretty dreamy photos that hardly do justice to how beautiful some of these stores are, but I hope they can at least persuade you to get up there and check out these places for yourself. In the end Seattle was one of my favorite book cities to visit!
Without further ado, here’s The Best Indie Bookstores in Seattle.”
1. Magus Books
1408 NE 42nd St. Seattle, WA 98105
Just think of the most beautiful vine-covered building and then think of what could make it even better. Books, the answer is books and the reality of that combination is Magus Books. Located on a corner in the University District, this bookstore features a mixture of mostly rare and used books that they buy back from the community. This place feels worn in and well-loved and I loved every minute of being there.
2. The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98122
This is probably the most popular bookstore in Seattle, and for good reason. The open layout, tons and tons of books and reader friendly atmosphere are just a few reasons to obsess over Elliot Bay Book Company. One of our favorite parts about this store was walking in and seeing a pretty large display of the books by authors who are involved in upcoming events at the bookstore. And they hold many events! The coffee shop In the back of the store is open and inviting. Their magazine selection is extensive. It’s just an awesome place, and almost made me forget about our beloved Powell’s here in Portland. Almost. Can you love two things equally without the other getting jealous?
3. Mercer Street Books
7 Mercer St, Seattle, WA 98109
This little bookshop has been in business for almost 40 years serving the Lower Queen area of Seattle. It features a variety of translated literature among its shelves as well as a wide variety of used books. It’s a must see if you’re in the area.
4. Ophelia’s Books
3504 Fremont Ave N Seattle, Washington 98103
Maybe it’s the cats, maybe it’s the living room like atmosphere on the top floor but this place is just homey. You almost feel like you’re walking into someone’s literary focused treehouse that you never want to come down from. Since 1997, Ophelia’s has been servicing the Fremont area, offering a wide variety of used books to accommodate a wide variety of people.When you walk in, and get over the goodness that is the main floor, you can peep the downstairs by declining down a beautiful spiral staircase, that takes you to even more books and a really sweet cat.
5. Kinokuniya Book Store
525 S Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104
If you’re in the market for Japanese books in the Seattle area then we’ve got the shop for you. Kinokuniya Book Store is sprawling with both Japanese and English titles of books, but they’ve also got a lot more in their shelves. At Kinokuniya you can also find Japanese magazines as well as Chinese books and magazines.
6. Left Bank Books
92 Pike St # B, Seattle, WA 98101
Situated right in the hustle and bustle that is Pike Place Market, Left Bank Books is a can’t miss bookstore of Seattle. This area is heavy with tourists and musicians trying to be heard over the crowd, so you can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as you enter this peaceful establishment. The walls are filled with old posters and literary signage, and up the stairs hides an awesome reading nook that looks right down onto the busy street.
*A short history lesson – Left Bank Books opened its doors in 1973, when a few members of another local bookstore decided to branch out. It runs as a collective operated business, giving all of the paid workers equal say and responsibility. They also take on volunteer workers, giving them discounted books and experience running an independent bookstore in exchange for their time. Pretty neat!
7. Third Place Books (Ravenna Location)
6504 20th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
When we arrived at this bookstore, I was most excited at all the kick-back options. They have an outdoor patio area with about a dozen tables to choose from. There’s an indoor cafe that serves Mediterranean food, a pub located underneath the cafe, and then a whole other area just for doing work and reading. It’s all the options you ever wanted to have in a bookstore.
But it makes more sense after reading about how intentional all their space is, and how it is in efforts to create a strong sense of community around books. A store after my own heart!
They also run ongoing Literary Luncheon events, hosting popular authors for a midday lunch where their work can be discussed. With your ticket you get lunch, a hardcover copy of their book and the awesome opportunity to converse with your favorite author. I didn’t get to go on my trip, but I’ll be back for it!
8. Twice Sold Tales
1833 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
This classic bookstore has been in business in Seattle for over 30 years and boasts a variety of rare and used books. Located in the heart of the Capital Hill district this store takes pride in carrying a wide selection of used titles sources from all over the world, but also from local sellers. You can look forward to running into one of their 4 live in bookstore cats as well during your visit. It’s one of the most classic used bookstores in Seattle.
Thank you for reading “The Best Bookstores in Seattle” by Jaylynn Korrell! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below. Or check out our other bookstore blogs!