If you love reading books, you know how hard it is to put one down, even when you're on the move. So, fellow bookworms, let's take a break from our current reads. Let's discover the must-visit bookstores in America, dive into a literary festival, or travel to the places depicted in our favorite novels. Here are our top picks for the most book-friendly cities in the United States!
So where should one go next time to find the finest books in the world?
1. Portland, Oregon
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If you love books, you'll definitely want to make a trip to Portland and visit the largest independent bookstore in the world. Powell's City of Books, which was established in 1971, can be found in the Pearl District in downtown Portland and occupies an entire city block. This bookstore has something for even the most particular readers with its extensive collection of around one million books, both new and used. For those interested in rare books, there is a special room dedicated to such treasures, although access is limited to 14 customers at a time and requires a pass. In addition, Powell's holds regular author events at its main branch, as well as at its Cedar Hills location in Beaverton. Furthermore, Portland is home to its own book festival, previously known as "Wordstock," which takes place in November. This festival features events held at various venues throughout the city, including the art museum and Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
2. Iowa City, Iowa
If you're a reader or writer, it's highly recommended to plan a visit to Iowa City. In 2008, it was designated as the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. This city is renowned for housing the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop, which offers a Master of Fine Arts degree program focused on creative writing. Many aspiring writers and distinguished authors who have studied or taught at this workshop have produced outstanding works, with over 40 of them winning Pulitzer Prizes. To further enrich your literary experience, there are regular readings, which can be found in the Live from Prairie Lights schedule. In addition, you can explore the Iowa Lit Walk, a curated route that highlights authors associated with the state. For those seeking even more inspiration, Iowa City hosts an annual week-long literary festival every October.
3. Seattle, Washington
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In addition to Iowa City, Seattle is the sole US city that has been granted the prestigious UNESCO City of Literature status. Reflecting this distinction, the Seattle Public Library is not just a functional space; it's a striking architectural marvel designed by Rem Koolhaas and Joshua Prince-Ramus. The exterior of the library features a stunning combination of glass and steel that stands out boldly. Inside, the focal point is the book spiral, which takes the Dewey Decimal System and transforms it into a seamless path of non-fiction materials, covering subjects from computer science to geography. However, the library's appeal doesn't end there. The Red Floor houses most of the meeting rooms, enveloping visitors in a fully immersive experience with rich shades of red adorning the floors, ceilings, and walls.
4. Chicago, Illinois
Printers Row in Chicago used to be the center of the printing and bookbinding industry in the Midwest. During the late 19th century, it housed several small businesses alongside industry giants like R.R. Donnelley & Sons and Rand McNally. Since 1985, the neighborhood has celebrated this historical aspect by hosting an annual literary festival. The festival attracts vendors from all over who offer a diverse selection of new, old, and rare books. In addition, it features panel discussions where hundreds of authors explore their work and other interesting topics. Despite being more famously associated with Key West, Ernest Hemingway was actually born in Printers Row, and his former home in Oak Park has been transformed into the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Museum, acting as a shrine to the revered novelist.
5. Monterey, California
John Steinbeck, renowned for his vivid stories, is particularly known for capturing the essence of Monterey's sardine-canning industry in his novel Cannery Row. However, the literary connection of the city predates Steinbeck's work. Monterey takes pride in being the first location in California to establish a public library. In 1849, individuals invested $32 each to support this groundbreaking institution. Although it faced challenges throughout its existence, such as having its collection locked away at one point and experiencing a devastating fire in the 1890s, the library persevered and remains a highly valued local resource. In addition, Monterey boasts various bookstores, including Old Capitol Books on Alvarado Street, which holds a biannual literature expo and provides regular poetry workshops and reading groups for aspiring writers.
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What is actually off-site parking?
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When you come to the entrance, the staff member pulls your baggage out of your car and loads it to the shuttle, which will take your bags and you later to the airport you're flying from. Then they will find a parking spot and park your car there for you.
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