Welcome to New York, the bookstores have been waiting for you. Bright lights, big city. New York City is the literary capital of the world––and we mean the good kind of capital, not The Hunger Games kind––and we can’t wait for you to visit the city we call home!
Below you will find an infographic that details the best bookstores to visit, best places to read, authors that live in The Big Apple and the quintessential YA books set NYC! (Want to print out the guide below? Click here to download the PDF!)
Keep scrolling for links and a breakdown of this city guide to help guide you on your book nerd adventures in The City That Never Sleeps!
The 8 Best NYC Bookstores
The Strand (Union Square) – No “best bookstores of NYC” list is complete without including The Strand. This is THE bookstore of New York City with it’s famous claim of having over 18 miles in books. Before you head inside the store, spend a decent amount of time digging through their $1 carts outside because you’ll never know when you come across a true gem for only a buck!
Books of Wonder (Flatiron) – Only a couple of blocks north of The Strand is Books of Wonder. Without a doubt, this is the best children’s only bookstore in all of New York City! This is the mecca for all young adult book nerds (clearly that’s you if you’re reading this post)––they have almost every single YA book you could ever think of and so many of them are signed too! Stick around in the evenings, because there are usually events happening with all of the big names in YA!
McNally Jackson (Nolita) – This charming bookstore/coffee shop nestled in the heart of downtown Manhattan’s shopping district is the perfect place to stop for a scone and a new book while you’re out on a shopping spree! While their young adult section is on the smaller side, they have been increasing their number of YA events including trivia nights!
Housing Works (Soho) – If you love sifting through used paperbacks and hardcovers, then you should visit one of the Housing Works locations (we especially like the Soho one). Bonus points for this store because all proceeds go to help combat homelessness and AIDS/HIV. You can read more about that here!
Three Lives & Company (West Village) – When you think of a New York City bookstore you probably think of a place that is warm, snug, filled with books every where you look, little nooks and crannies to hunker down and read a few a pages, the perfect place to escape to when it rains on a fall day. Three Lives is such an idyllic bookstore, you absolutely must stop by this West Village haunt on your next visit to NYC!
Book Culture (Upper West Side) – As if pulled form a movie (shout out to the fave 90s rom/com “You’ve Got Mail”), Book Culture is the quintessential Upper West Side book destination. The staff is well versed in all things bookish and always willing to offer recommendations (which to date, have proved 100% successful).
Word Bookstore (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) – Don’t be scared to bridge or tunnel it to Brooklyn, my book nerd friends, there are some amazing bookstore that await you in the outer boroughs! The staff at Word are so fun, easy to talk to and not condescending at all. They love books just as much as you do, even YA! Plus, they were cool enough to let us film some Book Nerd Problems videos there!
Book Court (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) – Further south in Brooklyn you should stop by Book Court in Cobble Hill! This family-friendly, extremely adorable bookstore gets all of the points because it’s a dog-friendly bookstore! Come in for the 30% off the best-sellers, and stay for the cozy atmosphere!
The 8 Best Places to Read in New York City
The New York Public Library (Midtown) – If there is only one bookish place you can visit while you are visiting The Big Apple, please let it be the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building – aka the main branch of the New York Public Library. Holy mother of beautiful books.
The High Line (Chelsea) – The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. This place gives you some of the most unique views in the city, and has plenty of places to sit and read. Just a fair warning: it does get pretty crowded, so if you are an easily distracted reader, perhaps the NYPL (above) is a better place for you to read!
Central Park – There’s a reason why so many movies and TV shows film in Central Park––it is an oasis in an urban jungle and what an oasis it is. Want to read in the woods with no one around? You can do that. Want to read in the middle of a lake on a canoe? You can do that. Want to read under trees while millions of interesting people stroll by? You can do that. While you’re there, don’t forget to stop by the Shakespeare Garden!
MTA Subway – The subway in NYC is both a blessing and a curse. You honestly never know when it will arrive and what you’ll find when it does show up, but if you have a long ride ahead of you, it’s one of the best places to get some reading done. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for some hot dudes reading!
Tompkins Square Park (East Village) – This park isn’t quite like Central Park, but it has a charm all its own. The best place to read here is in the half circle in the center, under the giant, famous elm tree but you can also hunker down on the lawn for some solid reading! Don’t forget to stop by the dog park on your way out and pay your respects to the canine leaders of the East Village!
Stumptown Coffee (Greenwich Village) – Honestly, any coffee shop in NYC is an excellent place to read but if you find yourself in Greenwich Village, get a cup of joe at Stumptown!
The Cloisters (Washington Heights) – Want to read in a medieval abbey? Yeah you can totally do that (and for free) in New York City! Head north, waaaay north, to get there. This place is totally worth it for the art, solace and gardens!
Grand Central Station (Midtown East) – Okay so it might actually be a pretty difficult to read here but if you can manage it, it’s totally worth it. That ceiling tho.
10 Young Adult Books Set in New York City
- City Love by Susane Colosanti
- Tiny Pretty Things by
- Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu
- Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
- The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
- Beastly by Alex Flinn
- The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
- City of Bones by Cassandra Claire
- The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
- Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
We’re loving these YA quotes about New York! Check out this video:
Author Spotting in New York City
Keep an eye out for these authors while you’re out on the town, they all live here!
- Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium
- Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay
- Adam Silvera, author of More Happy Than Not
- Jenny Han, author of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
- Scott Westerfeld, author of Uglies
- Danielle Paige, author of Dorothy Must Die
Need a map of all these wonderful places you should visit? Here you go! We made this Google map just for you:
What city should we create a guide for next? Tell us in the comments below! Are you a New Yorker with places and books to add to this guide? Share your recommendations below!
Look out for more Book Nerd City Guides coming soon!