Bibliophile, book worm, avid reader…whichever phrase you prefer, if you are a lover of books then you have lots of options to satiate your thirst for reading in Los Angeles. From cavernous libraries to voluminous book stores, LA offers readers of all stripes lots of options to find the perfect book and of course, ample locations to plop down and start devouring! Here are some of our favorite locales perfect for book lovers.
If you’re looking to take a step back in time, then Ocean Park is the place to do it. The quaint neighborhood by the sea has been in existence for over a century and is home to one of the oldest libraries on the Westside, the Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch. The branch is just a short walk from the beach, meaning that bibliophiles can check out a book, roll out a blanket and get some reading done along the shore.
With a moderate year-round temperature, some 300-plus days of sunshine annually, and plenty of pedestrian friendly walk ways, you won’t be stuck indoors with your reading. Additionally, up and down Neilson Way, there are bicycle lanes as well as pocket parks so you can ride to a café and catch up on your favorite novel. For those that want the sunset without the sand, the Dorthy Green and Ocean View parks have the perfect sunset views.
Finally, what would neighborhood would be complete without a local bookstore, for Ocean Park, that book store is Angel City Books & Records. In addition to a broad selection of literature, covering everything from Architecture to Women’s Studies, the used book store also trades books. This is great if you’re looking to clear room on your book shelf—for more books, of course. Named the “Best Used Bookstore” on the Westside in the LA Newtimes, the store can be found at 218 Pier Avenue.
Traffic in Los Angeles can be rather rough, but when you’re in a beautiful, historic neighborhood, why sit inside a car, when you can walk? East of Hollywood and North of the 101 Freeway, Los Feliz is home to historic architecture, more green space than New York’s Central Park or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and is home to an iconic Los Angeles book store. If you crave a slice of classic Los Angeles, then this neighborhood is it. (Related: Hunting for Vintage Homes in Southern California)
Skylight Bookstore on 1818 N. Vermont Avenue is a 20-year-old book store in a neighborhood surround by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, R.M. Schindler, Richard Neutra and more. It is a short walk from Barnsdall Art Park, where you can see the Hollyhock House (built between in 1919 and 1921), and is a power walk away from Griffith Park—which boasts more than 4,200 acres of green space; a great location for dining al fresco. Skylight carries books on fiction, film, music, as well as special interest books on Los Angeles itself. With book talks and special events happening throughout the month, this neighborhood is worth getting out of the car for.
While walking through the neighborhood, one can take note of the rich architecture, such as Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument (CM) #1061, the Abraham Gore Residence; the towering Deodar Cedar street trees along Los Feliz Boulevard (CM #67.0); and the active night life—great for those who aren’t bashful about taking a book into a pub. Find out what else the neighborhood has to offer by following the century-old, Los Feliz Improvement Association.
Downtown Los Angeles
When you think of DTLA, your first thought may be City Hall, or the Los Angeles Superior Court, but the “Heart of L.A.” is more than government buildings, lofts and commercial galleries, it is home to both the Central Library and The Last Bookstore. Both are hubs for literature buffs.
Located on 630 W. 5th Street, the Richard J. Riordan Central Library is the third largest central library in the nation. The architectural gem, features Art Deco designs on its exterior, multiple wings, an auditorium, a garden, and public art galore. Not to forget, more than 2.8 million books.
For those looking to own their favorite books, The Last Bookstore is a seven-minute walk (0.3 mile) away from the Central Library, passing the Pershing Square Metro Station, and located at 453 S. Spring St. During the Downtown LA Artwalk (second Thursday of each month), the bookstore is a hub of activity, drawing in book and art lovers from around the city. Throughout the month podcasts, author readings, and book clubs are all part of the roster of events.