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Urban Bookstore Pligrimages

I realized, on this last trip, that when I travel, I inevitably end up at the certain favorite bookstores.

In Cambridge, I make a point of visiting the MIT Press Book Store, and Wordsworth.

In Chicago, I’ve got to go to Quimby’s. And the Seminary Co-op might prove necessary on future itineraries. (Thanks, Betsy!)

New York City? Gotham Book Mart. (Looks like they might be moving.)

Washington, D.C.? Kramerbooks and Afterwords cafe.

In Portland, well, it’s just too obvious.

Huh. The other cities I often return to are Austin and L.A. And while I like The Book People in Austin, it’s never been very compelling (unlike, say, sitting outside at Jo’s.)

  1. In Davis Square — two T-stops past Harvard, McIntyre and Moore is worth a pilgrimage. Great used bookstore with all of your favorite classic out of print obscurities.

  2. When I asked you about things to do in Denver, I am surprised that you didn’t mention a visit to The Tattered Cover Bookstore.

    Their inventory is eclectically impressive and they have the best selection of Bargain Books I have browsed under one roof.

  3. Is it okay that I can’t stand the Strand? I lived not far from it for a couple of years, and would be enticed by it’s massive collection, only to be deflated by what was possibly the worst “shopping experience” I subjected myself to for any length of time.

    In that neighborhood, I much prefer St. Marks.

  4. Besides Quimbys, Powell’s is also in Chicago.

    And if you are an architecture fan there is no place better than the Prairie Avenue Bookstore. They are also at, but their website isn’t very usable.

  5. I hate the Strand too for a number of reasons:
    1. The staff are friendly but usually too busy to really help you.
    2. The aisles are narrow and crowded – worse than most and makes browsing incredibly annoying.
    3. Inventory varies, you never know if they are going to have what you want. Probably this is because they are so popular but I’ve made several visits looking for something pretty basic and they didn’t have it at the moment. Surely they would in a few days but it is annoying.

    I know it isn’t in the same neighborhood but the Gotham Book Mart on 47th & 6th (west of 6th) is a much more enjoyable experience with incredibly helpful employees and a deep selection. The book buying experience is ten times better. I understand they will be moving at some point but hopefully not too far! (I live nearby.)

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