These independent bookstores in Seattle are a must-visit for readers.
These local indie bookstores are hidden gems in Seattle. Even if nowadays most of us resort to buying books online without human contact, nothing will ever be as comforting or as special as listening to the literary recommendations from the bibliophile sitting behind an enormous mahogany desk.
There are several days throughout the year that are ideal for visiting your local independent bookstore. On August 9th every year, bibliophiles can gather to enjoy National Book Lovers Day. And the last Saturday of every April, we celebrate Independent Bookstore Day. Readers from around the city get together and compete in a contest of who can visit and buy the most books from indie retailers in the least amount of time.
And of course, you don’t need an excuse to visit one of these bookstores any day of the year! We highly recommend making a rainy day activity out of it (not hard to do in Seattle!).
Here are our 13 favorite independent bookstores in Seattle:
1. Couth Buzzard Books, Greenwood
Why we love it: This independent bookstore in Greenwood has been around since 1988 but nearly closed in April 2023. Luckily, a passionate community response saved it and you can (and should!) still go there to shop for used and new books, get coffee and light bites at the cafe, and enjoy events and live entertainment.
Address: 8310 Greenwood Ave N
Hours: 10am-9pm daily (opens at 9am Saturdays)
2. Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill
Why we love it: Seattle’s largest independent bookstore has been a must-visit for readers since 1973. It has been in its Capitol Hill location since 2010, where you can visit to enjoy author readings and other events, coffee and bites at the attached Oddfellows Cafe, a cozy kids’ section, and over 150,000 titles.
Address: 1521 10th Ave
Hours: 10am-9pm daily
3. Left Bank Books Collective, Pike Place Market
Why we love it: At walking distance from Pike Place Market you can find Left Bank Book Collective. A small bookstore that has a selection of over 10,000 books divided into 70 sections. They specialize in independent, radical and small-press titles.
Address: 92 Pike St.
Hours: 10am-7pm daily (6pm closing time on Sundays)
4. Magus Books, U District
Why we love it: Located in Seattle’s vibrant University District, Magus is the spot to choose if you’re looking to sell your book collection or find the perfect unexpected gift. You can choose between a broad product range that goes from antique books to reading accessories and essential oils.
Address: 1408 NE 42nd St.
Hours: 10am-8pm daily
5. Mercer Street Books, Lower Queen Anne
Why we love it: The warm service of staff at Mercer Street Books and their quaint decoration will make you feel right at home. Walking through the aisles is almost an adventure and you’ll always be able to take a literary treasure with you at great prices!
6. Open Books, Pioneer Square
Why we love it: Open Books is the sole poetry-only bookstore in Seattle. You’ll find new, used and out-of-print poetry books that you can enjoy reading while getting cozy on one of their couches. Note: They recently moved to their new location in Pioneer Square!
Address: 108 Cherry Street
Hours: 12-5pm Wednesday through Saturday
7. Ophelia’s Books, Fremont
Why we love it: Ophelia has been open in Seattle for over 20 years, selling used books of all genres. Located in the heart of Fremont, this bookstore is a diamond in the rough. You’ll need at least an hour to go through its broad selection.
Address: 3504 Fremont Ave N
Hours: 12pm -7pm daily
8. Paper Portal Used Books, Madrona
Why we love it: This small-but-mighty used bookstore just opened in April 2023 in Madrona. Despite their small size they offer a wide variety of well-curated used and vintage books, from sci-fi and fantasy to poetry and children’s books.
Address: 1105 34th Ave
Hours: noon-7pm Wed-Fri; 11am-5pm Sat
9. Queen Anne Book Company, Upper Queen Anne
Why we love it: This charming bookstore in Queen Anne has an outdoor patio that is ideal for sitting with a book and drink from neighboring Queen Anne Coffee Company on sunny days. Luckily, it’s equally cozy inside for those rainy Seattle days.
Address:1811 Queen Anne Ave N
Hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Fri; 10am-5-pm Sat & Sun
10. Secret Garden Books, Ballard
Why we love it: It’s pet friendly! I repeat, you can browse through books in the company of your pup. With more than 40 years of experience in the indie bookstore industry, The Secret Garden is a safe bet when looking for new, used and antique children’s books.
Address: 2214 NW Market St
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-6pm; Sat & Sun 11am-5pm
11. Third Place Books, Seward Park & more
Why we love it: This general-interest bookstore sells new, used, and bargain books at its three different locations in Seattle. With an emphasis on fostering community, Third Place Books offers more than just reading material. You’ll find events, three restaurants, a community room, and more at their Lake Forest Location; and you can enjoy food and drink at attached cafes, bars, and restaurants at their Seward Park and Ravenna locations.
Locations: Lake Forest Park (17171 Bothell Way NE); Ravenna (northeast corner of 20th Ave NE and 65th Street); and Seward Park (northwest corner of Wilson Ave S and S Farrar Street)
Hours: varies by location
12. Twice Sold Tales, Capitol Hill
Why we love it: This quaint bookshop is full of used books, cozy nooks, and friendly resident cats. They’re located about a two-minute walk away from the Capitol Hill Light Rail station.
Address: 1833 Harvard Ave
Hours: 11am-8pm daily
13. Paper Boat Booksellers, West Seattle
Why we love it: This family-owned independent bookstore serves West Seattle (we didn’t forget about you, West Seattleites!). They have a wide variety of books, ongoing events, and a friendly staff that is always eager to help.
Address: 6040 California Ave SW Ste. A
Hours: 10am-6pm daily (closed Mondays)