Literary City Spotlight: Los Angeles
The city of Los Angeles itself has become almost as much of a prevailing and influential character as the protagonists of the works set there. The sprawling and sunny city has always been a magnet for creativity, celebrity, and culture. Walking its storied streets — from Hollywood Boulevard to Melrose Avenue — it’s easy to feel taken back in time and swept away among the statuesque palm trees and glimmering skyline. Here are five unmissable LA bookish sites for your main character moment to unfold.
453 S. Spring St.
Housed in a 100-year-old building, The Last Bookstore is truly timeless, blending its vintage settings with an eclectic, futuristic vibe. You likely know the gigantic shop, spanning 22,000 square feet, for its illuminated book tunnel, which visitors can traverse through during their shopping. The site is a favorite for Instagram pics, bookish proposals, and more. The Last Bookstore describes their space as full of “unexpected nooks of funkiness” for people to settle in to read and write. The space also goes beyond a typical bookstore by incorporating a yarn shop, record store, comic bookstore, and several art studios.
1151 Oxford Rd.
Venturing a little further out to the LA suburbs is worth it for The Huntington, an impressive 207 acres that situates one of the best library collections in the world alongside an art museum and a botanical garden. This site stands out as a perfect example of the natural connection between literary and visual arts, as well as a testament to how nature can inform and inspire poetry. The library boasts more than 200,000 historic manuscripts and 400,000 books from the hand press era in its archives, it is a must-see for readers enamored with the art and history of bookmaking.
8818 Sunset Blvd.
If you’re wanting to catch a glimpse of literary-minded celebs and high-profile authors, Book Soup — with its slogan “Bookseller to the Great and Infamous” — might just be the place. Book Soup is all about the up-and-coming and the exclusive, with a collection of rare books, autographed books, and titles from emerging small presses. Readers with a love for a wide array of genres will also enjoy this shop, as the store focuses on stocking literary fiction, photography books, books on music, and art and film books.
630 W. 6th St.
This intimate and lounge-y bar might be cozy and small, but it’s big on vibes. The walls are lined with bookshelves and pictures of beloved writers, making it the perfect meeting spot for your book club. The menu, which changes regularly, focuses on classic cocktails with a literary twist, with names like Adventures of Blackberry Finn, Gone With the Gin, and Ready Player Rum. Visitors praise Library Bar for its relaxed and understated atmosphere, making it a great spot to stop for a drink even after a busy day of sight-seeing.
681 Venice Blvd.
If you’re wanting to go to a memorable artistic event in LA, browse the Beyond Baroque calendar. One of a few independent literary art centers in the United States – and describing itself as “a place dedicated to the possibilities of language” – Beyond Baroque regularly hosts readings and workshops with award-winning writers, as well as music, dance, and spoken word performances. In addition to its excellent and accessible programming, Beyond Baroque also houses a large bookstore with a special emphasis on poetry, considered one of the largest poetry selections in the country.
Looking for more literary destinations on the West Coast? Check out our San Francisco roundup.