The 9 Best Bookstores in Illinois!

Is there a better feeling than discovering a first-edition, rare print of your favorite book? There’s no better place to do so than in one of Illinois’ many independent bookstores. These stores draw locals and visitors alike with their wide selection of everything from women’s literature, to poetry, to children’s books. But above all, each of these 9 excellent Illinois bookstores are rich in character.

1. Myopic Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Myopic Books is an award-winning bookstore with an eclectic variety of books. Located in Wicker Park, this cozy used bookstore also has poetry readings, live music, and book buyings. Their friendly staff can even recommend books for you based on your personal preferences.

2. Uncharted Books, Chicago, IL

Uncharted Books is exactly what comes to mind when you think of an uncommon bookstore. Uncharted Books actually encourages eating, drinking, socializing, and loitering. They really appreciate rare and timeless stories, so you’ll find an expansive collection of contemporary literary fiction, poetry, women’s studies, and such.

3. Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Unabridged Bookstore is one of Chicago’s best for several reasons including their expansive book collection and friendly customer service. They offer a large selection of fiction, poetry, children’s books, and LGBT literature to name a few. You can catch regular events here, as well.

4. Sandmeyer’s Books, Chicago, IL

This family-owned bookstore has been the best in Chicago’s South Loop since 1982. Sandmeyer’s has a large collection of children’s books, travel guides, old favorites, and new releases to name a few. You’re bound to find something at Sandmeyer’s Books.

5. Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

Women & Children First is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the U.S. Located in a diverse Northside neighborhood, this family-owned bookstores carries over 30,000 books, with genres such as gay and lesbian fiction, children’s fiction, and books for and by women. They also carry journals, magazines, calendars, and gifts.

6. The Book Rack, Peoria, IL

The Book Rack has been serving the Peoria area for over 40 years. This cozy used bookstore isn’t glamorous, but it’s the perfect spot to explore and stack up on some interesting reading material. The owner is an avid reader who actually frequented the store since she was just 12 years-old.

7. 57th Street Books, Chicago, IL

This independent bookstore is one of the best in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. It’s a co-op where you can join a membership, which is free, and receive store credit. You can find a variety of science fiction, graphic novels, popular fiction, cookbooks, kids’ books, and more at 57th Street Books.

8. Powell’s Books, Chicago, IL

Powell’s Books is another top bookstore in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Here you can find hundreds of thousands of used, discounted, and rare books in all genres. They do specialize in scholarly and academic books, however.

9. The Underground Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Located in Chicago’s Southside, The Underground Bookstore is home to many rare books. They specialize in African and African American culture, but also offer a large children’s selection. If you don’t see a particular title, just let them know. They can get any out-of-print or original prints for you.

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