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here’s 5 local, independent bookstores in Chicago you need to check out now

Aug 26, 2022

Maybe it’s just the English major in me, but I LOVE books and literature of all kinds and little makes me happier than finding a cute, local, indie bookstore to get lost in. These are my top FIVE must-visit bookstores that I’ve found here in Chicago.

1. Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery

Semicolon is right at the top of my list. It is a Black women-owned shop in the heart of Wicker Park. Their space is amazing— it is, not only, home to a bookshop, but also to a gallery space and a literacy-focused non-profit. They also have an awesome kids section!

Their 1st annual Lit Fest is also coming up on October 22nd from 12pm-8pm! Hope to see you there!

Store Hours: Tues-Sun from 12PM-6PM

2. Exile in Bookville

Exile in Bookville is an absolute hidden gem. It’s located inside the historic Fine Arts Building on Michigan Ave. Almost the entire shop is floor to ceiling books of all genres and an impressive collection of vinyls. Make sure to check out their Events Page for in-person and virtual events like their Authors on Tap series!

Store Hours: Mon-Sat from 10AM-7PM, Sunday from 11AM-4PM

3. Unabridged Bookstore

A staple in the Lakeview East neighborhood for almost 40 years, Unabridged is known for their unparalleled book selection, including their award-winning kids section and extensive LGBTQ+ selection. This is a shop you could truly spend all day in.

Store Hours: Daily from 10AM-7PM

4. City Lit Books

This was one of the first bookstores I went to when I moved to Chicago in 2016. I went to a reading for an author from Iowa City and the rest is history. City Lit reopened last year after briefly closing during the pandemic. They specialize in contemporary fiction & non-fiction and have wonderfully curated collections of everything from children’s lit to poetry. It’s also home to a beloved lit community including book clubs, events, and more.

Store Hours: Monday from 10AM-3PM, Tues-Fri from 11AM-7PM, Saturday from 10AM-6PM, Sunday from 10AM-5PM

5. RoscoeBooks

Nestled in the heart of Roscoe Village, this quaint independent shop is the perfect spot to pop in to grab your next trending read or join one of their many book clubs! RoscoeBooks is mama-owned and run, which you know I absolutely love. It also has the cutest kids area in the back!

Store Hours: Mon-Sat from 10AM-7PM, Sunday from 11AM-6PM

Honorable Mention: Women & Children First Bookstore

This shop has been on my to-visit list, so I figured I’d add it to the list! I’ve heard only great things about this inclusive, woman-owned/run, feminist/kid/LGBTQ+-focused shop. It is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country and located on the north side of Chicago in Andersonville. It was opened as welcoming space in the community for learning, dialogue, and reflection. I’m looking forward to visiting soon!

Well, next time you’re looking for a local bookshop to check out, I hope this list comes in handy and you get the chance to fall in love with one of my favorites, too!


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here’s 5 local, independent bookstores in Chicago you need to check out now

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