A Storied Night Out

If you’re looking to find the action for a city, a place where all the locals gather, maybe you should home in on the local bookstore.

It’s hard not to be inspired by the awesome local bookstore. It hosts readings and talks, brings out the community, and holds shelves upon shelves of knowledge, entertainment, and advice, breeding a creative atmosphere. Communities with indie bookstores just seem to be smarter places. Here are a few of our favorites.

SC bookshop entrancePhoto courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz’s local spot for bibliophiles, called simply Bookshop Santa Cruz, also sells the colorful socks of quirky brand Sock It to Me and the wordy mugs, lunch boxes, and stationary (this notebook gets us) of Happy Jackson. Alongside bestsellers and an extensive used book collection, Bookshop displays current newspapers and magazines from all over the world.

booksmith - flickrPhoto by Steve Rhodes via Flickr

San Francisco is an indie bookstore town. The Haight’s The Booksmith calls in all types of writers for events in-house and—when the need for a larger capacity arises—at the nearby Roxie Theater. Next up: Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal (a term first coined by Betty Davis), one of the most successful online clothing stores in the biz. The self-made cultural icon-slash-millionaire will be dishing out advice on the road to success at the Roxie October 8 to celebrate the paperback release of her first book, #Girlboss.

greenapplesignPhoto by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Green Apple Books is iconic, and stretches across creaky wooden floors to equal somewhere in the neighborhood of 8,000 square feet in the Richmond location. When Dave Eggers named his favorite bookstore in the city, it was this one. Not only did it launch California Bookstore Day (which grew to Independent Bookstore Day on May 2), it is sponsoring the first Annual Moby-Dick Marathon, held at The Firehouse at the Fort Mason Center. The readings will start at noon on October 24 and will continue throughout the night, ending about noon on October 25.

Facebook first draft bookPhoto courtesy Changing Hands

For a book and a beer, look no further than Changing Hands. Just 20 minutes from Scottsdale, Phoenix’s indie bookstore is home to the First Draft Book Bar, where the Rogue Shakespeare Stout is on tap and wines like the local Arizona Angel Moscato come by the glass. Aspiring novelists should head to one of the workshops, where New York Times bestsellers and other award-winning authors teach classes on humor writing 101, how to make your villains truly evil, and the secrets to good storytelling.

SAMSUNG CSCPhoto via Visior7/Wikimedia Commons

Despite the name Books & Books, this Miami Beach shop is more about buildings than books. On Lincoln Road in the epicenter of Miami’s Art Deco district, Books & Books specializes in hard-to-find reads about art, design, fashion, and architecture, all within the historic Sterling Building. An even bigger draw, though, may be The Café, with burgers, salads, and sandwiches presided over by James Beard Award-winning chef, Alan Susser. Crowds line up for tables.

If you're not already a member, sign up now to start earning points toward incredible Joie de Vivre experiences and free air miles with your very next stay at one of our boutique hotels, each with its own unique brand and personality.