10 Bookstores That Prove It's What's On The Inside That Counts

June 13, 2014

These 10 bookstores might not look like anything special on the outside, but wait until you go in...

1. City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco

amazing bookstores
Flickr: mlehmann

City Lights was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, so it makes sense that its entire second floor is a dedicated poetry space.

amazing bookstores
en.wikipedia.org

2. Word on the Water in London

amazing bookstores
pith.tumblr.com

This bookstore is on a barge, for starters. You can hop aboard to browse through its selection (and mingle with the owner's cats), or stay on the mainland to see their poetry readings and live music, which happen on the roof of the barge.

amazing bookstores
outandaboutinthecity.com

3. Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands

amazing bookstores
Flickr: 22746515@N02

Browsing books in a 700-year-old church is an experience you'll only have at Boekhandel Dominicanen. There's a mix of Gothic architecture and modern furniture to enjoy, along with all of the titles, of course.

amazing bookstores
Flickr: crossroadsmaastricht

4. The Livraria Cultura in São Paulo, Brazil

amazing bookstores
poltronaskastrup.com.br

Not only is this the largest bookstore in Brazil, but it's also a borderline playground for kids. There are massive dragon statues to play on, areas to lounge, and four stories of pure book-filled aisles to wander through.

amazing bookstores
ssaporestefanodiaz.blogspot.com

5. Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice, Italy

amazing bookstores
blog.artviva.com

This bookstore is easily one of the most memorable and quirky places in Venice. The shop itself is small, and filled with books that fall out of gondolas, bathtubs, and small boats. You can dip your feet in the canal as you read, or climb a set of steps entirely made of old books.

amazing bookstores
Flickr: 31218767@N08

6. Libreria El Ateneo in Buenos Aires

amazing bookstores
Flickr: furlin

This former theater turned bookstore is filled with all sorts of stunning architectural details, like Italian ceiling frescoes, rich red curtains, and ornate sculptures. Plus, there's live piano music playing in the background while you browse each section.

7. Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal

amazing bookstores
Flickr: renej /

If you blink you'd miss the unassuming exterior of Livraria Lello. But inside, it's filled with rich dark wood and a sweeping staircase that leads to a second floor of stained glass and floor to ceiling bookshelves. This is one of Portugal's oldest bookstores and completely worth the visit.

amazing bookstores
Flickr: renej /

8. Librairie Ptyx in Brussels

amazing bookstores
librairie-ptyx.be

Even before you walk through the doors, it's not hard to see that the Librairie Ptyx is a monument to all things art. Inside, titles are carefully curated, and the homages to famous writers covers the walls.

amazing bookstores
librairie-ptyx.be

9. The Last Bookstore in Downtown Los Angeles

amazing bookstores
Flickr: omaromar

Aside from the vaulted ceilings and enormous pillars that fill this large space, stepping inside The Last Bookstore will make you feel like you've entered another world. There's a mix of old and used books, and even an upstairs section where everything is just $1.

amazing bookstores
collegeavisual.tumblr.com

10. Librairie Avant-Garde in Nanjing, China

amazing bookstores
panoramio.com

Can you spot the yellow stripe down the center of the book rows? That's because Librairie Avant-Garde is a former garage converted into a bookstore. Pretty neat, but you'll have to find parking elsewhere!

amazing bookstores
Flickr: scchiang

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