Independent bookstores are a staple in any city, and Chicago has them in spades. The Windy City is a literary hub with bookstores scattered across every area of the city. Each with its own personal collection and story to tell. If you’re a bookworm headed to the city of Chicago, I recommend checking out these ten amazing and unique bookstores.
Books and wine? Sign me Up! This woman-owned bookstore is located in Lincoln Square and has us thirsting for a visit. Sip Chardonnay while perusing the shelves, and then begin your new book right on their gorgeous patio. Customers can also stay for one of the many book clubs run by the store.
Since 1979, this bookstore has made it its mission to represent unheard voices through literature. The store contains over 20,000 children’s books, books about women, and LGBTQIA+ literature. This bookstore is located on the north side of Chicago and is currently one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country. Help support their mission by stopping in soon.
Located in the Lakeview neighborhood, this is the go-to bookstore for many Chicago residents. From its famous sale section to its sizeable travel room, this bookstore could have you browsing for hours. If you’re struggling to pick your next read, check out their hand-written staff recommendations or their featured book of the month. The minute the iconic pink fire escape comes into view, you will be immersed and amazed by what they have to offer.
This family-owned and pet-friendly bookstore lies in the historic Printer’s Row neighborhood. The staff’s creativity shines through with their fun displays and beautifully decorated chalkboards. You need to check out their love-at-first-sentence display. Don’t forget to bring along your furry friend as you check out the new releases.
Not only is Quimby’s an independent bookstore it also specializes in independently published works, including; Small press books, zines, comics, and ephemera. This store sits on North Ave and offers a diverse selection of literature that goes beyond just traditional novels. Quimby’s nurtures an environment that promotes up-and-coming authors by allowing writers to sell their own work under consignment. This is the perfect bookstore for new authors and those looking to support independent publications.
This bookstore is located in Wicker Park and remains the oldest and largest bookstore in the area. They focus on selling second-hand books and are known as one of the best-used bookstores in the city. The store also draws in crowds with events such as Music Mondays and poetry readings. Stop by for a visit and maybe sell some of your own books in addition to purchasing some new ones.
This bookstore is located on the 2nd floor of the gorgeous Chicago Fine Arts Building, and it holds its own in this historic location. The bookstore offers many beautiful displays, but the one you must check out is their Meet the Press Wall. Every few months, the store features a small press by sharing their story and their books. If you’re looking for a way to commemorate your visit, check out their awesome merch.
Across the street from the Blue Line Station, this store captures everything we love about comics and the social environment it promotes. The store caters to all ages, including its sidekick section dedicated to young readers of all ages. Don’t forget to check out the staff’s personal recommendations when you arrive to truly complete your experience.
In downtown Chicago, you will find a bookstore that has the best of worlds with its selection of new and used books. The store’s warm atmosphere, combined with its wonderful and diverse selection, make it a must-stop for book hunters. I recommend checking out their event calendar for fun events such as The Banned Books Club or their global poetry event.
If you’re a fan of rare books, this is the store for you. Located behind a secret door within the store lies their rare books room. The room is set up for visitors to read and browse as they take in the usual objects that lie within the room. To top off your experience, you may get to meet Ramona, the bookstore dog.