Our Guide to the Best Local, Independent, and Used Bookstores in Minneapolis

best bookstores in minneapolis

I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about a local, independent bookstore.

In the age of Amazon, those bookstores could use all the help they can get. Most are anchors of the Twin Cities community. They’re places where authors meet readers, readers meet authors, and people from all over get hooked on the awesome habit that is reading.

Plus, there’s just something about walking in and smelling that old book smell…

About putting your hands on a physical book…

Flipping through the pages… Discovering your next favorite read…

Clearly, I’m getting carried away.

But all this is why I decided to put together a list highlighting my favorite bookstores around Minneapolis. And not just any bookstores – I’m focusing on those independent, locally owned shops that make Minneapolis special.

Map of the Best Local Bookstores in Minneapolis

The biggest independent book store: Magers & Quinn Booksellers

magers & quinn booksellers

The Magers & Quinn storefront is located in Uptown, Minneapolis and features a fantastic selection. You’ll find row after row of bookshelves, all stocked with the latest new releases, modestly priced used copies, and even out-of-print collectibles.

Overall, it’s probably the largest independent bookstore in Minneapolis.

  • Address: 3038 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408
  • Website: Magers & Quinn

Most impressive collection of old books: James & Mary Laurie Booksellers

Wow… is this a cool bookstore…

James & Mary Laurie Booksellers specializes in old, rare books. They claim to have a collection of over 12,000 individually curated fine books. Take one step inside their downtown Minneapolis storefront, located just down the block from Target Field, and that’s an easy stat to believe.

Each shelf looks meticulously organized with old-world, hardcover prints. (Just FYI, you won’t find any paperbacks here.) They even have a massive collection of vinyl records, mostly of the classical and jazz variety. And if you’re looking for antique maps or art prints, they’ve got those too!

A super unique shop that every bookworm in the Twin Cities needs to visit at least once.

Best book shop when you want a snack: Moon Palace Books

moon palace books

As if I couldn’t love bookstores any more, this bookstore in Minneapolis’s Longfellow neighborhood is attached to Geek Love Cafe, which also happens to be one of my favorite coffee shops.

The result is one big, open, loft-like space. Inside you’ll find a great selection of books, plus a coffee shop, PLUS a pizzeria! So you can find your new favorite read, then dive into it over a famous Sourdough Pizza and a cup (or three) of coffee.

Quirkiest bookstore in Minneapolis: Wild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus is definitely the craziest bookstore in The Cities.

When you walk in, you’ll first notice the upside down canoe attached to the ceiling, with a reality warping painting designed to look like the whole store is splitting in two. Then you’ll probably meet the half-dozen or so cats lounging around the store. Eventually you’ll pass through a shed in the middle of the store, decorated with real tree branches, among other things. Once you’ve taken all that in, you might run into a live chicken roaming the aisles.

No doubt, Wild Rumpus is a magical bookstore unlike any other! And it’s something any book fan needs to experience for themselves.

  • Address: 2227 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55419
  • Website: Wild Rumpus

The best selection of used paperbacks: Paperback Exchange

paperback exchange

The name says it all. This Southwest Minneapolis spot carries stacks upon stacks of used paperback books. And if you bring your own books in, you can get a credit on your purchase! Perfect for the bookworm who powers through a large number of paperbacks.

Biggest selection of mystery novels: Once Upon a Crime

If you’re into crime fiction, you’ve gotta get to Once Upon a Crime.

From the outside, this little unassuming Uptown bookshop looks like nothing more than a basement storefront. But descend those stairs, and like a good mystery novel, a whole other world opens up.

From the subterranean space, they stocy a fantastic selection of new stuff, old stuff, best sellers, and rare books. If it’s in the crime genre, they’ve probably got it .

The most historic bookstore: The Book House in Dinkytown

Man, does this place ooze history.

For one, The Book House has been in business for nearly 50 years. It’s located in a Historic Dinkytown building. There’s a rare book room. One of the windows overlooks Bob Dylan’s old apartment. And above all, the place is packed to the ceiling with a “labyrinthine series” (the owner’s words) of used book rooms.

It all adds up to what’s arguably the most authentic, old-school book store experience in Minneapolis.

  • Address: 1316 4th St SE UNIT 201, Minneapolis, MN 55414
  • Website: Book House

Most gifts in a bookstore: Birchbark Bookstore & Native Arts

This Native American owned book shop sits in the Lowry Hill area, near Lake of the Isles. It’s unique in being part book shop, part Native American gift shop. And they have a fantastic selection of both!

Oh, and here’s one other claim to fame for Birchbark – my pick for best smelling bookstore in Minneapolis! Seriously, you’ve gotta smell it to believe it.

The oldest sci-fi and mystery bookstore: Uncle Hugo’s & Uncle Edgar’s

This business included two bookstores in one space:

  • Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore – founded in 1974
  • Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore – founded in 1980

Both were some of the most unique and amazing independent bookstores in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, both also burned to the ground during the 2020 Minneapolis protests. There’s now a GoFunMe to save the store, available here.

Best bookstore in Minneapolis’s Northeast Neighborhood: Eat My Words

Much like the Northeast neighborhood that this store is located in, Eat My Words is the type of neighborhood book shop that just oozes a welcoming vibe. Inside you’ll find cozy isles, plenty of new and used books, and even a couple of sitting areas if you want to crack open a copy and check out a sample.

The selection here definitely leans towards used offerings, especially some not-too-common copies. Which is just fine by me!

  • Address: 214 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
  • Website: Eat My Words

My favorite bookstore for hanging out: The Irreverent Bookworm

The Irreverant Bookworm is a beautiful bookstore near Lake Nokomis. The shop is peaceful and clean, with lots of natural light and plenty of sitting areas for sinking in and falling in love with a book. (They even have a miniature sitting area for the young readers! Too cute…)

All in all, I’d give it my seal for coziest bookstore in Minneapolis. Definitely a gem!

Looking for St. Paul Bookstores?

We’ve got a guide for the best bookstores in St. Paul, too!

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