Top Ten Tuesday: Bookstores & Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

Posted October 16, 2018 by meezcarrie in Top Ten Tuesday / 30 Comments

Most people dream of vacations in exotic locales or famous historical sites. I dream of vacations to awesome bookstores, book towns, and libraries. (Ok, I might take a side trip to some historical sites too. But leave the exotic locales to someone else!) Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (which is exactly this) is the perfect chance to share my bookstore/book town/library travel bucket list with you!

Full confession: I’m copying the first two from my Bookish Places Bucket List post last year because i still haven’t been to these places & 2017 me said what 2018 me wanted to say lol.


I can’t believe I’ve been married for 18 years to a man whose family lives just outside of Kansas City and I have yet to go here.  Specifically, I want to see the parking garage (yes, you read that right) and the children’s section. Here’s why:

Those first two pictures are indeed of the parking garage! And that children’s area!!! If I were a kid, I would feel like I was entering a magical world and would never want to leave. Heck. I would probably feel that way even as an adult haha!


I feel this one is pretty self-explanatory. The New York Public Library is iconic, and no self-respecting bookworm would visit NYC without at least attempting to get to this bookish mecca. It’s more than just a place to house and check out books though. Observe:

  • It has a two-story UNDERGROUND BOOK VAULT. The general public rarely gets to view it but still… do YOU have a two-story underground book vault? If so, we need to be friends.
  • Winnie the Pooh. Enough said.

Powell’s City of Books

A bookstore with guided tours and over 1 million books? Yes please! It’s supposedly the world’s largest independent used & new bookstore… and you have to have a MAP to keep up with which books are in which rooms. And it looks like they have a coffee shop, so I’m assuming there is diet coke and breakfast and sandwiches… no need to leave once you get there. I could make a week’s vacation on this bookstore alone 😉

Library of Congress

The gorgeous architecture. The history represented there. ALL. THE. BOOKS. (ok, so i know fiction works are kept offsite but i don’t care because it’s so pretty! I’ve only been to Washington, DC once (way back in college) and unfortunately I didn’t get to go to the Library of Congress then. But one day I will. I’ve promised myself. ♥

Cook & Book

This bookshop in Brussels, Belgium is the size of a supermarket and is divided into 8 book sections plus a music area. Check out some of these sections below (photos from Cook & Book):

As you can see, each section has its own unique feel AND its own lunch/dinner space that matches that section’s atmosphere. What a fun way to show that reading isn’t boring 😀 It reminds me, too, of that CS Lewis quote, “Eating and reading are two pleasures which combine admirably.”

The Norwegian Book Town

A Norwegian town nestled where a fjord meets a glacier, it’s made up of 300 residents, 10 second hand bookstores (located in wooden houses, former ferry waiting rooms, the post office, banks, stables, and even outdoor shelves on the honor system) and over 150,000 used books. I’m pretty sure, with that view, that I really want to just move here. Forward my books (not for sale).

The Open Book / Scotland’s National Book Town

Wigtown, Scotland (aka Scotland’s National Book Town) boasts a unique vacation that appeals to all of us who have ever dreamed of owning a bookstore – the “ first ever bookshop holiday / residency experience”. Through Airbnb you can run The Open Book shop for a week or two and stay in the cozy flat above the store.

Wigtown is also home to this charming store, the largest secondhand bookshop in Scotland.

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

This ‘adorably cute’ book town in Wales was started by a possible ancestor of mine (ok… i actually have no idea but it’s highly possible that we at least share ancestors – same area of the United Kingdom as my ancestry & same last name). A whole town of books. And a castle. So pretty much all my dreams come true lol. Check out this blog post to see how quaint this book town really is!

The Shop Around the Corner

Let’s pretend for a moment that a) this is a real store and b) Fox Books didn’t kill it. I fell in love with this bookstore even more than I fell in love with the romance between Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox. And that’s saying a lot, given how much I love romance and Tom Hanks. If I could pick a dream bookstore to own, this would be it.

The Village Bookstore

Because who hasn’t wanted to slide on a ladder from one end of the bookshelves to the other. Bookshelves piled high with favorite books and an adorable old store keeper 🙂

Beast’s Library

I don’t really have to explain this one, right? We all get it.

And while I’m talking about fictional bookstores, I can’t wait to discover this one in May 2019 from Katherine Reay:

What about you? What are some bookstores, book towns and/or libraries on your bucket list to visit?


30 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Bookstores & Libraries I’ve Always Wanted to Visit

  1. YES!! Love seeing Katherine’s book featured at the end of this post. *heart eyes*

    Belle’s library needs to be a real place, Powell’s is on my wish list (though I know I’d be overwhelmed) and if ever I travel over seas (British, Scotland, Ireland, etc), visiting a quint book shop is a MUST! 🙂

  2. WOW! Great choice’s!!

    I fell in love with the library in Topeka! I was visiting my sister, who reads almost as much as I do, and she took me to the local library. It had almost everything; I kid you not. You could even check out Wilton cake pans-you know, the ones like bears and puppy dogs and all sorts of fun things?

    I have made it my goal in life to have a library large enough to need a ladder. Alas, I have the books (5,000 and counting-read most of them, too) but no library-just stacks-and no ladder, either. Now if we added my TBR pile to that list, well let’s just say there wouldn’t be room in our house for the people, not to mention the pets!

    Thanks for the great post.


  3. In trips to D.C. and NYC I made everyone go to the libraries. I’m so glad I can say I’ve been. Your list includes many on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I’ve been to Powell’s in Portland! It is so amazing and huge! You definitely need a map! I had no idea that they had guided tours. That will have to be done on my next trip to Portland! They do have a coffee shop inside, so there are treats and a place to start your next read while enjoying them. Powell’s is worth visiting if you’re ever in the area. 🙂 I’m happy it made your list!

  5. Amy M.

    I’ve visited the New York Public Library and it was amazing. They offer free tours and I even got a library card while there. Sure, I live in Tennessee but this card is treasured as much as any of the souvenirs I bought. Maybe even more so 🙂

  6. Patsy Curry

    Our son spent the spring semester in DC for an internship. We went to visit him in March and toured the Library of Congress. It was amazing! There was even a wedding party getting their pictures taken. Our son loves books as well. He could have studied in his apartment but he would go to the Library of Congress because of the atmosphere.

  7. Jocelyn

    Have you ever seen the movie Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn? This is the quote from IMDb – “An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk.”
    I love book stores. They just feel right 🙂

  8. Andi

    Fun post! I was sick yesterday and totally spaced TTT. I love all your choices. I’d have to join you on all of them!

  9. Winnie Thomas

    What some fun libraries! I’ve been to the Library of Congress before. Let me know when you want to visit the others, and we’ll go together!

  10. Janet Estridge

    Dear Carrie,
    I also have never been to the Library of Congress. If you ever decide to go take me with you. Did you know they have books to giveaway. All you have to do is go up and get them. Shipping the books back home might be a problem, though.
    I have been to Powell’s, twice. The first time I walked in my mouth fell open and it stayed that way during the whole time I was in there.
    Someone could make a fortune getting up tours that go to unique bookstores, bookish towns, and libraries to visit.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  11. Marilyn

    Carrie, thank you for this list. I would love to go to the New York Public Library because i could look up some info on my ancestors who lived in Manhattan and they have a great genealogy section I have been told.Hope you get to visit some of your wish list. I have been to several local libraries in New York.I did go to a library in Hempstead Long Island New York. It is located in a cemetery yard and it has a lot of information of my maternal ancestors.Carrie, your posts are always so interesting.

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