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Local Experts: Chicago, Amy Tara Koch

By Local Expert Amy Tara Koch

Best Indie Bookstores in Chicago

1
Book Cellar

Book Cellar

Tucked under the EL tracks on a street populated by fellow indie shops, this bookstore and adjoining café is a beacon to the Lincoln Square community. The ambiance is perfection with window nooks for reading, flowing wine (they support small-scale producers), and the heady scent of musty books, coffee, and gooey chocolate chip cookies.

2
Open Books

Open Books

We could describe Open Books as a used bookshop, but it’s so much more than that. This nonprofit uses proceeds from donated books and its retail store to fund litearcy programs for kids throughout Chicago. Volunteers run the joint, and it’s stocked with tomes for everyone from toddlers to travel junkies.

3
57 Street Bookstore

57 Street Bookstore

Ducking into this expansive basement shop feels like discovering a secret chamber of the Hogwarts vaeiety. Five rooms—complete with cozy reading nooks—offer a cross section of general interest material and a standout kids’ section.  Both new releases and classics are curated by employees and accompanied by sweet handwritten “staff recommendation” notes.

4
Women and Children First

Women and Children First

As the name implies, this Andersonville storefront caters to women. In fact, it is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, stocking material on everything from pregnancy and childbirth to lesbian fiction. Committed to “amplifying the voice of feminists,” the shop’s calendar features kids’ programming, book signings, and community events. 

5
The Book Stall

The Book Stall

When Suzanne Collins blew into town to promote Mockingjay, she headed north of the city to famed indie book shop, The Book Stall. Ditto for Caroline Kennedy, Martha Stewart, J.K. Rowling, and President Jimmy Carter. Each time, the room was packed. Even in this digital age, nothing excites lit lovers like a killer community bookstore. 


Visit the Best Indie Bookstores in Chicago

The Book Stall
811 Elm St (at Chestnut St), Winnetka, IL 60093, United States
7.9/10

People like this place

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Women and Children First
5233 N Clark St (at Farragut Ave.), Chicago, IL 60640, United States
8.7/10

People like this place

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57 Street Bookstore
1101 E 57th St (at S Kimbark Ave), Chicago, IL 60637, United States
9/10

People like this place

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Open Books
213 W Institute Pl, Chicago, IL 60610, United States
0/10

People like this place

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Book Cellar
4736 N Lincoln Ave (btwn W Lawrence Ave & W Leland Ave), Chicago, IL 60625, United States
8.9/10

People like this place

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