Have you ever arrived in a new city and just wanted to see the bookstores? Whether you’re a Seattleite or have never been to the rainy city, we’ve created a bookstore tour of Seattle! After scouting some of the best and most indie bookstores in the city, we visited each one to snap a few pics and really get a feel for the place. Our tour starts and ends at our Capitol Hill eNotes office, but you can jump in anywhere along the way and go for as long as you want! Depending on the time of day and how long you spend in each bookstore, this can be a proper day trip.
Download the full-resolution PDF of our eNotes Bookstore Tour of Seattle!
1. Twice Sold Tales
1833 Harvard Ave, 98122
Nested in Capitol Hill, Twice Sold Tales is a cozy bookstore that offers secondhand books at great prices. Through a maze of books stacked floor to ceiling, you’ll get to see books from every decade and every genre. Twice Sold Tales also has two little tails that roam the floors—you’ll probably make a new feline friend or two!
2. Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe
425 15th Avenue East, 98112
Ada’s Technical Books and Cafe will satiate the cravings of a technical mind and give your inner geek something to snack on. With an assortment of scientific paraphernalia available in tandem with great books to accompany them, Ada’s offers a nice atmosphere to hang out, sip, and catch up with Halley’s Comet.
3. Magus Books
1408 NE 42nd St, 98105
Magus Books is also a used bookstore but features rare and out-of-print books. Located just a few blocks from the University of Washington, Magus is a delightful smattering of shelves with books of all kinds. The store personnel are knowledgable about the books they have and enjoy talking to you.
4. Book Larder
4252 Fremont Ave N, 98103
Book Larder is every modern cook’s dream. As a community cookbook store, it features every cookbook imaginable, as well as an in-store kitchen for demos and classes. The books here are new, so you can be sure that they won’t share any marks from someone else’s kitchen blunders. With its bright and clean feeling, Book Larder is a wonderful place to peruse—just don’t go there hungry!
5. Ophelia’s Books
3504 Fremont Ave N, 98103
Ophelia’s Books is one of the coolest bookstores just in architecture alone. One straight staircase beckons readers to attend the low-ceilinged upstairs reading area, while a narrow and mysterious spiral staircase calls visitors to the downstairs where its live-in cat may be found. A quiet, soft, and inviting space, Ophelia’s is a good place to hunker down with a book you find.
6. Queen Anne Book Company
1811 Queen Anne Ave N, 98109
Queen Anne Book Company has new books and an smorgasbord of things that accompany books such as art supplies and funny socks. Both sci-fi and kids’ books have great selections here. With a reading room out back and a patio out front with El Diablo Coffee, it’s perfect for a sunny day.
7. Mercer Street Books
7 Mercer St, 98109
Mercer Street books has an eclectic feel and a book selection to match. Carrying a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Mercer comes together as a classic indie bookstore. The $0.50 books out front are a great deal, and so much fun to look through!
8. Lamplight Books
1514 Pike Pl # 14, 98101
Right at Pike Place, Lamplight Books gives an intimate indie bookstore experience. Lit by the soft lighting of lamps throughout, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the market on any given day.
9. Left Bank Books Collective
92 Pike St # B, 98101
Left Bank Books Collective is owned by its workers and is a cry of radicalism. It features many radical works alongside many used titles, with some strongly worded buttons and stickers. Not for the faint of heart, Left Bank Books is definitely a place to go to experience a different kind of indie bookstore.
10. BLMF Literary Saloon
1501 Pike Pl #322, 98101
In the heart of Pike Place Market, BLMF Literary Saloon is a remarkable secondhand books store. With books spilling out of every shelf and onto the floor, there is no lack of literature here. They encourage exploration and surely have enough interesting titles to provide.
11. Lion Heart Book Store
1501 Pike Pl #432, 98101
Lion Heart Book Store is a mix of new and used books, all of which can be recommended and found by the very knowledgable owner. Many little displays set up amongst the books make it a fun place to explore even if you aren’t going to be buying any books.
12. Kinokuniya Bookstore
525 S Weller St., 98104
Kinokuniya Books is a larger bookstore* with a spacious feeling and offers many new titles. Entire walls hold their extensive collection of Japanese Manga and other Asian books. Kinokuniya also has many art supplies, collectibles, and American books. It’s part of the Uwajimaya Asian Foods Store, so you can pair it with a great lunch!
*This isn’t technically an “indie” bookstore but we felt it unique enough to warrant inclusion in our tour. 🙂
13. Pegasus Book Exchange
4553 California Ave SW, 98116
Pegasus Book Exchange is an awesome bookstore that is especially great for finding paperback fiction, kids’ books, and unique subjects. They have their popular $5 Surprise Book deal ongoing that doesn’t allow you to see its cover until you’ve bought it! A really cool idea, and if that wasn’t entertaining enough, the little quotes that sprinkle the bookcases will keep you wandering from shelf to shelf.
14. Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave, 98122
Elliott Bay Book Company is just a huge selection of new books. In a beautiful wooden setting with sunlight filtering down through the rafters, Elliot Bay is perfect for any bibliophile. Kids will be enamored with the play castle among their books, while adults can sit at any of the wooden tables and sit in the quiet of the store. If you’re there for the long haul, be sure to stop at the Little Oddfellows cafe in the back!
And that’s it! Take this Indie Bookstore Tour of Seattle and have at it!
Very good list, though I would include Seattle Mystery Bookshop. It’s probably my favorite bookstore in Seattle, and I’m not even a big mystery reader. And University Bookstore, which is Seattle’s oldest independent bookstore. Also, Kinokuniya is not an indie bookstore, but a major bookstore chain. Still, it’s a great bookstore and worth the visit. It’s just not an indie.
Thanks for the thoughtful comment! We will have to check out the Mystery Bookshop. <3
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