While Seattle often conjures up iconic images of boisterous vendors at Pike Place’s fish market or hippies sipping on artisanal coffee overlooking the Space Needle, most tourists are completely unaware that the city is also home to an amazing collection of bookstores.
If you’re looking for a place to curl up and relax, these are the Seattle bookstores to do it.
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Located in the heart of Capitol Hill, The Elliott Bay Book Company is a full-service bookstore, home to over 150,000 titles, set on cedar shelves in a multi-level, inviting and unique atmosphere.
Address: 1521 10th Avenue, Seattle
Undoubtedly Seattle’s coolest used bookstore, Twice Sold Tales has been independently owned and operated for over 30 years!
The store has four live-in bookstore cats and a sprawling inventory of used, collectible, and rare titles, and it is located in Capitol Hill, a two-minute walk from the Cap Hill Link Light Rail station.
Address: 1833 Harvard Avenue, Seattle
If Pike Place Market is getting a little too noisy and rowdy for you, Lion Heart Book Store is a hidden gem at Pike. Pop by here for a quiet getaway, and wander around the quaint little local bookstore that houses hundreds of new and used books to keep bibliophiles of every kind content.
Address: 1501 Pike Place, Seattle
Ada’s Technical Books & Cafe is where “the technical mind finds what it craves,” and “a bookstore becomes a community,” according to the founders (and self-proclaimed geeks) of Ada, Danielle, and David Hulton. The store sits in Capitol Hill and is home to the kinds of books, gifts, workshops and events that will be sure to inspire and stimulate your mind.
Address: 425 15th Avenue East, Seattle
Since 1997, Ophelia’s Books has been an eclectic source of quality reading materials.
Whether you’re a poverty-stricken student, a well-heeled collector, a frantic gift shopper, or a rabid bibliophile, you’ll find something to soothe your brain at this unique store. At the very least, you can visit the sassy cats that call Ophelia’s home.
Address: 3504 Fremont Avenue, Seattle
Left Bank Books carries over 10,000 new and used books and has close to 70 sections.
They specialize in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical, and small-press titles, which span a broad literary and scholarly spectrum.
The store features various sections such as anarchism, fiction, feminist studies, immigration studies, race & culture studies, poetry, graphic novels, parenting, labor history, science fiction, sexuality, environmentalism, native studies and much more.
Address: 92 Pike Street, Seattle
Secret Garden Books is a full-service, general bookstore, featuring books for everyone, with a particular specialty in children’s books.
Located in Ballard, this beautiful brick-and-mortar independent bookstore has been owned and managed by women since 1977.
Within walking distance of cafes, galleries, and coffee shops, the store also offers free gift wrapping, discounts for book clubs and educators, shipping services, and easy special orders.
Address: 2214 NW Market Street, Seattle
The Queen Anne Book Company is a quaint neighborhood bookshop with in-store discussions, author readings, and an outdoor seating area.
Bookstores are so beloved by the community that after the previous bookstore closed in late October 2012, long-time Queen Anne residents Janis, Krijn and Judy sprung to action to fill the big hole by starting a new partnership with publishers and community members to open the Queen Anne Book Company on March 1, 2013, in the same location as the previous store.
There are probably very few independent community bookstores that have the same dedication to learning, books and community as Queen Anne Book Company!
Address: 1811 Queen Anne Avenue N, Seattle
Open Books is a 500-square-foot shop (it’s actually a renovated bungalow) brimming with more than 10,000 new, used, and out-of-print poetry books, as well as a selection of titles about poetry. You’ll find a broad range of volumes on their shelves from publishers huge, tiny, and in between.
The 21-year-old business was sold to Billie Swift in 2016 when the original owners retired. She was a regular patron who bought the store to preserve the poetry sanctuary that had become so important to her.
Address: 2414 N 45th Street, Seattle
As soon as you enter Kinokuniya, you’ll be welcomed by a giant Totoro! Kinokuniya carries not only Japanese and English books and Japanese magazines, but also K-POP CDs, and other local goods. They are also the only Kinokuniya store in the US that carries Chinese books and magazines.
Located inside Seattle’s Uwajimaya Asian grocery store, Kinokuniya is the ultimate one-stop-shop for Asian magazines, books, manga, stationery, and writing supplies. Even if you don’t understand a lick of Japanese, it’s always fun to wander around the store and peruse the cute stationery and anime apparel.
Address: 525 S Weller Street, Seattle