Pick Up a New Read at One of These Charming Shops
There’s something so nostalgic and comforting about an independent bookstore. Spending a Sunday afternoon browsing rows of books, old and new, is indisputably the perfect start to any week. Looking for a particular new romance novel? Wanting to explore a new genre? Going in plan-less, hoping something will catch your eye? Whatever the case, it doesn’t matter—you can’t have a bad time in a bookstore. We don’t make the rules. Tucked away in neighborhoods all across the city, we’ve put together a list of eight of our favorite bookstores in San Diego. So, literature lovers, crawl out of your nooks and go shop for some books!
Verbatim Books is a North Park favorite, and it’s the largest independent bookstore in San Diego. Walking down 30th Street, you can’t miss its giant mural with quirky paintings of books, toys, skeletons and antiques. The inside is cozy and eclectic, with quaint furniture, hanging chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. They even masterfully spell out the name of the store in stacks of books with toys sprinkled throughout. The best part? They’ve got tons of affordable used books (many only $5-7). Make sure you’ve got time—you could spend all day here.
Location: North Park
Also in North Park, Meet Cute Romance Bookshop has an entirely different vibe. Everything in this place is cute and colorful, with lots of pink and purple decor. Everything is neatly organized into specific and inclusive categories like Enemies to Lovers, Queer Fantasy Romance, Books by Trans Authors, and Black Romance. They have an iconic “Romance-Landia” mural on one wall, and they have lots of cute merch related to the genre for sale. They even have a little pink gumball machine filled with conversation starters! It’s the perfect place for a meet-cute, if you ask us.
Location: North Park
Libélula Books & Co is all about representation. They have an extensive library of books written by people of color. This lends a unique perspective to several fascinating topics, including social justice-driven nonfiction along with the history and stories of Black, indigenous and Chicanx folks. Beyond novels and nonfiction, they also have a large collection of art and poetry, and they even have books written in Spanish. Their focus is on creating an inclusive environment for all, and the store doubles as an event space that fosters learning and community. Plus, they’ve got a friendly kitty named Billie Books to welcome you in.
Location: Barrio Logan
The oldest family-owned and -operated bookstore in the entire US, Warwick’s in La Jolla is worth the visit—and has been for over a century. The store doubles as a gift shop, with about half the store filled with knick-knacks, collectibles, greeting cards and more. They’re especially known for their extensive stationery and fountain pen and ink selection if you’re looking to get a little crafty. It’s just a few blocks away from La Jolla Cove as well, so it’s perfect if you want to grab a new book and go cozy up in the sunshine.
Location: La Jolla
Bluestocking Books is a classic bookstore in the heart of Hillcrest. They have both new and used books, all well-organized and documented in their online database so they’re easy to find. If you’re looking for children’s books, this is your spot—and it’s a fun place to take your little ones! Their inventory is always changing, so each time you come in, there’s more to discover. They order new books every week; if you get in touch with them before Monday, they can include your request in their order!
If you’re up in North County, you have to swing by Diesel in Del Mar. This one has long white walls, bright lighting and long rows of bookshelves, giving a clean, modern feel as opposed to the vintage used-bookstore vibe. Among its rows, you can find both popular favorites and rare finds. They also have little notecards with staff recommendations and a sign sharing their top-35 bestsellers. If you want to check it out (or if you’re interested in buying a bookstore yourself), stop by soon! They’re up for sale.
Location: Del Mar12/9
A local bookstore that serves coffee? Sign us up. Bay Books, in Coronado, doubles as a coffee shop, with a little seating area out front perfect for reading, socializing or getting some work done. The cafe serves your classic espresso drinks and some fun extras like their lavender matcha and vegan pastries. As for the bookstore, they have everything you could want—neatly organized rows of books across a number of different categories. You can even order online and have books delivered to your house—although why miss out on the fun of coming in?
Just down the road in South Park, you’ll find The Book Catapult—a charming little bookstore with friendly staff and an adorable reading room for kiddos. Throughout the shelves, staff members have placed thoughtfully written notecards with ideas and recommendations to help you make your choice. And if you’re still having a hard time narrowing it down (we get it: The struggle is real), they’re always happy to chat with you in person as well. They also have lots of fun gifts, puzzles and journals—you know, bookstore goodies—to browse!
Location: South Park