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16 Lovely Bookstores in Manhattan to Visit (Best NYC Bookstores)

16 Lovely Bookstores in Manhattan to Visit (Best NYC Bookstores)

New York City is full of unique and beautiful bookstores all throughout the city. From small independent shops to larger nationwide brands, NYC has a little bit of everything for readers out there.

This guide will focus on 16 of the best bookstores in Manhattan to visit. Everything from overviews to openings hours, and some photos to go along with them.

By the end of this guide you should have no trouble getting yourself to bookstores all over the city.

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List of Manhattan Bookstores

Below is a list of the Manhattan bookstores that I will be covering throughout the remainder of this guide. Each bookstore will be a little different from the next in its offerings.

From small independent shops to genre specific stores, and a little bit of everything in between, this list of NYC bookstores has you covered.

  1. Strand Bookstore
  2. Alabaster Bookshop
  3. Rizzoli Bookstore
  4. Housing Works Bookstore
  5. Namaste Bookshop
  6. Kinokuniya New York
  7. McNally Jackson
  8. The Mysterious Bookshop
  9. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
  10. Albertine
  11. Three Lives & Company
  12. Shakespeare & Co
  13. Argosy Bookstore
  14. Forbidden Planet
  15. Westsider Books
  16. Barnes & Noble Union Square
NYC Bookstores

Map of Bookstores in Manhattan

Now, to better visualize these bookstores and their location, I have included an interactive Google Maps for you to use. So, whether you will be uptown or downtown, east side or west side, there should be a bookstore close to you.

Visit these Manhattan bookshops as part of a New York City 4 Day Itinerary!

Note: I have included opening hours for each bookstore below. Be sure to check the stores’ websites for the latest hours just in case changes have been made.

1) Strand Bookstore

  • Address: 828 Broadway at 12th Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Greenwich Village
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM (Monday to Sunday)
  • Website: Strand Bookstore

The Strand was opened all the way back in 1927 by Ben Bass as a used bookstore. Today the store is still owned and operated by the family’s third generation and, it still stands as one of the most iconic bookstores in all of New York City.

While the Union Square shop is the main location, there are also three additional Strands around the city. There is one on the Upper West Side, a kiosk by the southeast entrance of Central Park, and one at Laguardia Airport.

Within the Strand you will find over 2.5 million (yes, million!) books covering a whole wide variety of topics. I have a hard time believing you won’t find a book that you want to bring home after visiting the store.

And if you would like to sell some of your own books, Strand has a buying desk that is open from Thursday to Saturday (10AM – 2PM).

Strand Books
Strand Books Manhattan
Strand Books NYC

2) Alabaster Bookshop

  • Address: 122 4th Ave
  • Area of Manhattan: Greenwich Village
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 10:00PM (Monday to Saturday; Opens at 11:00AM on Sunday)
  • Website: N/A

Just across the street from Strand you will find the Alabaster Bookshop. This is one of the smaller bookshops you will find in the area. The shelves are lined with a whole variety of used and rare books for your choosing.

It is a charming, quaint, small shop to browse through as you will literally find floor to ceiling shelves of special books ranging from art to architecture to literature.

Outside of the shop you will find several carts filled with $2 books to browse through in addition to everything else in the shop itself.

Alabaster Bookshop NYC
Alabaster Bookshop

3) Rizzoli Bookstore

  • Address: 1133 Broadway
  • Area of Manhattan: NoMad
  • Hours: 11:00AM – 8:00PM (Monday to Saturday); Closes at 7:00PM on Sunday
  • Website: Rizzoli Bookstore

Located in the NoMad / Flatiron area of Manhattan, you will find the Rizzoli Bookstore. This independent bookstore has been around for over 50 years (many of which were spent in an uptown location).

They specialize in “illustrated books on architecture, interior design, fashion, photography, cookery, and the fine and applied arts, as well as literature, and foreign language books”.

At Rizzoli, you will also find frequent events happening in the store with various authors coming in to talk about their work. Be sure to check out their website linked above for more information about upcoming events.

The location of Rizzoli is also tough to beat. Before or after visiting the shop, you can explore nearby highlights such as Madison Square Park (and some NYC cherry blossoms), the Flatiron Building, and take a stroll around Eataly.

Rizzoli Bookstore
Rizzoli Bookstore Manhattan
Rizzoli Bookstore NYC

4) Housing Works Bookstore

  • Address: 126 Crosby Street
  • Area of Manhattan: SOHO
  • Hours: 12:00PM – 7:00PM (Monday to Saturday); Closes at 5:00PM on Sunday
  • Website: Housing Works Bookstore

The Housing Works Bookstore is a different type of bookstore that you will come across in Manhattan. All books within the store have been donated, and the staff is almost exclusively made up of volunteers.

The mission of Housing Works is “to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.”

The bookstore earnings is just one way in which it helps get to accomplish that mission.

In addition, you will find events happening at the bookstore throughout the week, so be sure to check out their site for the latest going on.

Housing Works Bookstore
Housing Works NYC

5) Namaste Bookshop

  • Address: 2 West 14th Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Union Square
  • Hours: 11:00AM – 8:00PM (Monday to Thursday); Closes at 9:00PM on Friday & Saturday; 12:00PM – 7:00PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Namaste Bookshop

The Namaste Bookshop located just off of Union Square is a shop filled with Eastern & Western philosophy books, tarot cards, crystals, incense, yoga accessories, and plenty more spiritual related books and items.

Next door to the bookshop is also the Namaste Crystal Shop, which is geared more towards the crystals, oils, soaps, and home goods products.

Not only will you get a fantastic variety of spiritual books and accessories here, but you will also find a healing center. You can sign up for classes and workshops, and there are also book events that take place in the center too.

When it comes to this type of metaphysical products and books, you won’t find a better place than the Namaste Bookshop.

Namaste Bookshop
Namaste Bookshop Manhattan
Namaste Bookshop NYC

6) Kinokuniya New York

  • Address: 1073 6th Avenue
  • Area of Manhattan: Midtown Mahattan
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM (Monday to Saturday); 11:00AM – 7:30PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Kinokuniya New York

If you are looking for a Japan focused bookstore in NYC, look no further than Kinokuniya New York New York. Kinokuniya originally opened up in Tokyo during the 1920’s. Since then they have expanded to countries and cities around the world, including New York in 1981.

You will find a whole variety of offerings here. They have everything including anime, literature, art, and children’s books. In addition to books they also offer Japanese stationery and supplies.

Books are offered in both Japanese and English so don’t think this store is just for those who know Japanese. The downstairs of the store is more like a regular bookstore with the upstairs dedicated to the manga/anime side of things.

A visit to Kinokuniya New York can also be combined with several other activities and attractions around the area. You have Bryant Park right next door, Times Square just a few blocks away, and Top of the Rock a bit further uptown.

Kinokuniya New York
Kinokuniya New York Manhattan
Kinokuniya New York Bookstore

7) McNally Jackson Books

  • Address: 52 Prince St & 4 Fulton St
  • Area of Manhattan: Nolita / Seaport
  • Nolita Hours: 10:00AM – 8:00PM
  • Seaport Hours: 11:30AM – 9:00PM
  • Website: McNally Jackson Books

In NYC you will find 4 McNally Jackson independent bookstores. Two of those are in Manhattan and the second two are in Brooklyn. McNally Jackson was first brought to NYC as McNally Robinson (a bookstore chain in Canada) in 2004. A few years later in 2008, the store spun off into its own independent chain.

McNally Jackson is a fan favorite of NYC and you will find a wide selection of genres and books to choose from. The books and sections of the store are curated immaculately and you will find just a pleasant atmosphere in the store.

So, whether you are around the Nolita area or you are walking through the South Street Seaport, head on over to McNally Jackson to check out their selection.

McNally Jackson Bookstore
McNally Jackson NYC
McNally Jackson Manhattan

8) The Mysterious Bookshop

  • Address: 58 Warren Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Tribeca
  • Hours: 11:00AM – 7:00PM (Monday to Saturday)
  • Website: The Mysterious Bookshop

As the name implies, the Mysterious Bookshop is a mystery specialist bookstore located in the Tribeca neighborhood of the city (very close by to Hudson River Park). It proclaims it is also the oldest mystery inspired book store in the country!

The shop was introduced back in 1979 by Otto Penzler, who first opened the shop in Midtown before moving down to Tribeca later on.

You are always going to find the latest and greatest when it comes to mystery novels at the shop. In addition to having the most up to date mystery selection, they also have a collection of first editions and rare books. So, there is sure to be something for every mystery lover out there.

Their site also offers a weekly newsletter, if you would like to stay up to date with their latest offerings and events.

The Mysterious Bookshop NYC
The Mysterious Bookshop Manhattan
The Mysterious Bookshop New York

9) Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

  • Address: 28 East 2nd Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Bowery
  • Hours: 1:00PM – 6:00PM; times vary by week -> check website for the latest
  • Website: Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

You guessed it! At Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, you will find a wide selection of cookbooks of course. At the store you will find plenty of vintage and rare cookbooks to browse through. So even if you are looking for something specific, Bonnie Slotnick should have something for you.

Be sure to check the website for the latest hours as hours/days of the week can change constantly. She also offers private appointments in the shop, if you would like to get some more one on one time.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

10) Albertine

  • Address: 972 5th Avenue
  • Area of Manhattan: Upper East Side
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM (Monday to Saturday)
  • Website: Albertine

Located on the Upper East side of Manhattan, just steps away from Central Park, you will find the French inspired Albertine book shop.

The store has “more than 14,000 contemporary and classic titles from 30 French speaking countries.” Here you will find books written in both English and French, so there should be something out there that works for you.

The store is was opened in the historic Payne Whitney Mansion in 2014. The architecture itself is a site to see in its own right. There is a blue colored hand painted mural of the night sky with stars, planets and constellations.

Also interesting to note here that the French books at Albertine comply with French law, which states that book prices cannot be reduced more than 5%.

Albertine Bookstore NYC

11) Three Lives & Company

  • Address: 154 W 10th St
  • Area of Manhattan: West Village
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 7:00PM (Monday to Saturday); 12:00PM – 7:00PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Three Live & Company

On the corner of West 10th Street and Waverly Place, you will find the small boutique bookstore of Three Live & Co.

The store has been around for the last 40+ years as a staple of the West Village. While smaller in size, this curated bookstore has a vast selected assortment.

The knowledgeable staff are super friendly and willing to help you find the perfect next read for yourself. Whether you are looking for the latest book trend or you are hoping to place a special order, Three Lives will be able to help with it all and more.

Three Lives & Co Bookstore
Three Lives & Co NYC

12) Shakespeare & Co

  • Address: 939 Lexington Avenue & 2020 Broadway
  • Area of Manhattan: Upper East Side & Upper West Side
  • Hours: 9:00AM – 8:00PM (Monday to Friday); 9:00AM – 7:00PM (Saturday); 10:00AM – 6:00PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Shakespeare & Co

Shakespeare & Co has two Manhattan locations located in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side (one on either side of Central Park).

The bookstore was founded back in 1983 on the Upper East Side and has since expanded to three locations (Upper West Side & one in Philadelphia).

Not only will you find a bookstore and café at Shakespeare & Co, but you also will find what is called the “Espresso Book Machine”. This machine can print out books on demand from a product catalog of 7 million books.

By heading to Shakespeare & Co, you will be able to browse the collection of physical books at the store and see if anything peaks your interest. If you are having trouble finding something, or if you have a specific book in mind, then you can head on over to the printing machine.

When it comes to NYC bookstores, that is one thing that just cannot be matched by others.

Shakespeare & Co Bookstore
Shakespeare & Co Books
Shakespeare & Co

13) Argosy Bookstore

  • Address: 116 East 59th Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Upper East Side
  • Hours: 11:00AM – 6:00PM (Monday to Saturday)
  • Website: Argosy Bookstore

If you are looking for old and rare books, look no further than Argosy Bookstore on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

This bookstore has been around for three generations after openings its doors in 1925. Since then, it has amassed a rare collection of thousands of books that fill its shelves.

It is the place to go to if you are looking for first editions, antique prints, autographed copies and more historical books.

Not only does it have some rare books to browse through, but you can also find a vast map collection with thousands of maps from around the world.

Stepping into Argosy and it will feel as if you are stepping back in time.

Argosy Bookstore Manhattan
Argosy Bookstore
Argosy Bookstore NYC

14) Forbidden Planet

  • Address: 832 Broadway
  • Area of Manhattan: Greenwich Village
  • Hours: 10:00AM – 6:00PM (Saturday to Tuesday); 10:00AM – 8:00PM (Wednesday to Friday)
  • Website: Forbidden Planet

A visit to Forbidden Planet will be a bit different of a bookstore experience in NYC. Instead of just a store full of books, you will find a whole variety of toys, comics, games, manga, and more.

This sort of bookstore will appeal to any movie lovers, game lovers, and those that just want a bit more of overall variety.

The store in located just off of Union Square (close by to some of the other stores mentioned on the list), and has a little bit of everything for your interests.

The walls, floor displays, and book racks are packed with things to purchase. Whether it is newer merchandise or more of an older product, you can find plenty of options all throughout the store.

If you come by once to Forbidden Planet, odds are you will be coming back plenty more to check out all that they offer.

Forbidden Planet Manhattan
Forbidden Planet Bookstore
Forbidden Planet NYC

15) Westsider Books

  • Address: 2246 Broadway
  • Area of Manhattan: Upper West Side
  • Hours: 11:00AM – 7:00PM (Monday to Thursday); 11:00AM – 9:00PM (Friday & Saturday); 12:00PM – 6:00PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Westsider Books

A small bookstore located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Westsider is another vintage place to check out. This hidden gem of a store, has floor to ceiling shelves full of rare and used books to browse through.

Everything from fiction & literature to science & mystery, the shelves of Westsider have it all and more.

And if you are a music fan, don’t forget to check out their record store located just 10 blocks away on 72nd Street.

Westsider Rare & Used Books
Westsider Books NYC
Westsider Books Bookstore

16) Barnes & Noble Union Square (+ the view!)

  • Address: 33 East 17th Street
  • Area of Manhattan: Union Square
  • Hours: 9:00AM – 9:00PM (Monday to Thursday); 9:00AM – 10:00PM (Friday & Saturday); 10:00AM – 9:00PM (Sunday)
  • Website: Barnes & Noble Union Square

The most well-known of bookstores on this list is the nationwide Barnes & Noble bookstore. While there are a few locations in NYC, the Union Square one is the one to visit.

Throughout its four floors you will find books, games, magazines, toys, a café, and plenty more.

They have a whole calendar of in store events with authors coming in on weekly basis. You can find multiple events per week so there is something bound to be going on there during your time in NYC.

While most people who visit the store do so for the books, there is also the opportunity to enjoy one of the best views of Union Square from its upper levels.

Take the escalators all the way up and head to the windows at the front of the store to see the park’s beauty from above with the surrounding NYC skyline views all around.

Barnes And Noble NYC
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Barnes & Noble Union Square

When it comes to NYC bookstores, there is a never-ending list of ones to enjoy throughout the city. Each one of these will be unique in its own regard and will offer particular books (and more) that visitors are looking for.

While you may not relate to every bookstore on this list, I am sure at least one of them will be exactly what you are looking for.

Be sure to check out some more New York itineraries and guides to learn more for your time in the city.

Hope you enjoy!

Bookstores in NYC

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