My family and I are just back from a quick trip to New York City. Manhattan, really—we were only briefly in Brooklyn and didn’t visit any of the other boroughs on this trip.
On this trip one of my big extracurricular goals was to visit as many bookstores as possible. Or, as many bookstores as possible without exhausting my family. Luckily, my kids were (weirdly) way more excited about visiting bookstores in strange cities than they have been in the past, so we got to visit a ton.
Here’s our tour. (Before you get too impressed at our bookishness, know that I’m including two bookstores we visited last October but didn’t make it to on this trip, because I don’t want YOU to miss them the next time you’re in NYC!)
Upper West Side
450 Columbus Ave (between 81st and 82nd Streets)
(More locations at 536 W. 112th Street and 2915 Broadway)
This is a fun bookstore with a neighborhood vibe that has a nice selection of books and a wonderful selection of bookstore sundries—journals, pens, gifts, mementos. It’s spacious by New York standards with lots of floor space and room to browse.
Books of Wonder
18 W. 18th Street
What you need to know: longtime customer Nora Ephron used this children’s bookstore as the inspiration for The Shop Around the Corner in You’ve Got Mail. Meg Ryan came here to train for a day so she could play Kathleen Kelly. Their staff set up the bookstore set in the film so it would look authentic. Also: they have a pretty great selection of children’s books.
828 Broadway (at the corner of 12th Street)
18 miles of new, used, and rare books. This was my kids’ favorite, hands-down; they loved it so much we went twice. It’s not unusual to hear a book lover use the words “Strand” and “pilgrimage” in the same sentence.
266 Bleecker Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues)
This small bookstore in the Village has a highly curated selection, great sale tables, and as a bonus is right by Murray’s Cheese Shop.
Three Lives & Company
154 W. 1oth Street
This snug neighborhood book shop has an excellent selection and compares itself to 84 Charing Cross Road. It’s beautiful inside and out, but my kids only tolerated it because no kids books.
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street
Two floors of books, a cool Espresso Book Machine for self-publishers, and a gorgeous café with awesome book art.
Housing Works Bookstore Café
126 Crosby Street
This was recommended by a fellow book lover as “the best kind of used bookstore”: used book prices + excellent curation. With gorgeous high ceilings and tall bookshelves, the store is so pretty people get married here. I can totally see why.
What are your favorites? What would you add to the list?