Seattle is known for many things, and their bookstores should be one of them. After visiting this city a few times, I decided to spend a day wandering their independent bookstores exclusively. I love a Barnes and Nobles as much as the next person, but there’s something about an indie bookstores that takes a room full of books and turns it into an experience. If you’re in the area, or plan on visiting soon, these are the best bookstores in Seattle, Washington to go see!
A version of this blog was written by me (Jaylynn Korrell) for IndependentBookReview.com
1. The Elliott Bay Book Company
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 my 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?
2. Left Bank Books
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.
3. Ophelia’s Books
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.
4. Magus Books
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. *Fun Fact – They recently celebrated their 40 year anniversary, so congratulate them when you go in.
5. Third Place Books (Ravenna Location)
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!