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The Best Chicago Bookstores To Spend a Day In

Some days, you just need to take a break and cozy up with a book. Life is always hectic, and it can be hard to commit to relaxing from our own homes, especially when there’s work to do. That’s why bookstores are great to spend a day in – whether you’re relaxing or getting work done, it’s the perfect oasis to focus on what you want to do. Here are some of the best bookstores in Chicago for those days!

City Lit Books

2523 N Kedzie Blvd.

City Lit Books is everything you think of when you imagine a traditional bookstore. Stacked to the brim with books, this store features staff curated selections and lots of comfy chairs to curl up in. There are multiple book clubs, who all hold different events monthly. 

Heirloom Books

6239 N Clark St.

A cozy used bookstore featuring a lot more than books – Heirloom Books also sells an array of DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, and artwork. They also have signed and antique books available, which can be hard to find in storefronts. The store itself has a beautiful ceiling, warm lighting and plenty of places to sit down and cozy up with a book. It was first opened by Chelsea Carr Rectanus, who wanted to create a comforting and open space that would be available to all walks of life. Unfortunately, Chelsea passed away in 2020, but her legacy lives on through Heirloom books, which is currently being managed by an all volunteer not for profit staff. 

Unabridged Bookstore

3251 N Broadway

Unabridged Bookstore’s storefront is lit beautifully and the store is carefully organized by genre. Unabridged also features an extensive section on LGBTQ+ literature, including personal recommendations from the staff. The store itself is also very involved in activism, as it supports local charities every month, and encourages its patrons to ‘read and resist’! 

The Looking Glass

823 S Oak Park Ave.

Located in Oak Park, the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway, this used bookstore featuring sage green walls and long bookshelves to wander through is also an excellent stop for gift items. They have a collection of pieces from local artisans and greeting cards that are perfect for when you need a quick gift for someone, or when you’re looking to support the community. The Looking Glass also features book genre discussion groups, craft classes, and a Book Lovers Club membership. 

Sandmeyer’s Bookstore

714 S Dearborn St.

Sandmeyer’s is a true mom-and-pop shop, featuring both bestsellers and lesser known handpicked titles. The store is easy to navigate, and there’s a sitting area available with tables. It first opened in 1982, and it also sells greeting cards, blank books, and puzzles.

Sofia is from Lincolnwood, a small village bordering Chicago. She is currently majoring in Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience at LUC, and wants to attend medical school after undergrad. Her hobbies include embroidering, reading, spending time with her family and friends, and exploring the city.
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