This past year, I got to spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. I was taking an improv course at The Groundlings and would drive two or three hours each way on the weekends to attend. While I was there, I did some exploring of my soon-to-be city, hitting coffee shops, bookstores, time-travel markets, and museums alike. As an avid book nerd with an affinity for independent bookstores, I feel confident enough to say that I found some of the best ones.
One of my single favorite activities on this wonderful planet is to browse bookstores, whether it be my beloved Barnes and Noble or a rare-book collection in Galway, Ireland. Lucky for me, Los Angeles has an abundance of lovely bookstores. These were some of my favorites, although I’m sure that with time, I’ll be able to discover a lot more.
The Last Bookstore
If there were ever a hidden bunker with a precious collection of forbidden books (think The Cemetery of Forgotten Books) it would look exactly like The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles. Showcasing local art, a healthy records collection, secret rooms, and a seemingly endless maze of used books, this is definitely one of those places to get lost in.
Address: 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Mystery Pier Books, Inc
Although a bit small, this family-run book shop has a cozy and pleasant vibe, perfect for wandering around on rainy days. The shop itself is set in a cottage-type building on Sunset Boulevard (strange, I know) and has an emphasis on sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and other wonderfully nerdy things.
Address: 8826 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Booksoup is a beloved part of the Los Angeles community. They host weekly author events, sell signed best seller books, and is surprisingly clean.
Address: 8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Skylight Books is everything you ever wanted your indie bookstore to me, adorable trinkets included. It feels like you’re browsing inside a magic treehouse.
Address: 1814 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Quirky books, special events, an attached coffee shop, a large comic book section, outdoor seating, and a relaxed atmosphere. What more could you want in an independent bookstore?
Address: 1716 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake is almost exclusively for comic books and mange, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining to peruse. Also, how cool is that name?
Address: 3817 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
Pop-Hop Books and Print
Pop-Hop is a location in Highland Park that is more specifically geared towards locally-produced zines and art editions. However, they also host a prestigious print workshop, which might be fun to check out. Oh, and did I mention their adorable trinkets and gift section? It’s amazing.
Address: 5002 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Arcana: Books on the Arts
Arcana is a veteran in the L.A. bookseller game, and for good reason. Their industrial space boasts a hearty selection of rare, out-of-print books that you can find almost no where else. So if you’re on the hunt for a certain forgotten book, this should be the first place you look.
Additionally: this is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing bookstores on this list.
Address: 8675 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
So there you have it. Whether you’re on the hunt for a specific book, are working on building your own personal library, or just looking for the perfect book, you’ll do well to start at any of these bookstores.