Milwaukee is a city that loves its books. From the independent to the chain, the city offers a diverse range of bookstores that cater to every kind of reader.
Whether you're a student looking for textbooks, a collector hunting for first editions, or just someone who loves to read, Milwaukee has got you covered.
The city's bookstores are more than just a place to buy books. They're a community hub where people come together to discuss literature, attend book clubs, and attend author events.
Many of these bookstores are independently owned and operated, making them a vital part of the local economy. They also offer a unique shopping experience that cannot be found at large chain bookstores.
In this guide, we'll take a closer look at some of the best bookstores in Milwaukee. We'll explore the unique features of each bookstore and what makes them stand out.
Whether you're a longtime resident or a first-time visitor, this guide will help you discover the best places to find your next great read in Milwaukee. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and let's explore the city's best bookstores together.
1. Boswell Book Company
Boswell Book Company is a must-visit bookstore for all book lovers. With a wide range of books neatly and beautifully displayed, the store is a bibliophile's paradise.
The staff is friendly, accommodating, and knowledgeable, always ready to assist customers in finding the perfect book.
Boswell's also hosts numerous author events, making it a great place to meet and interact with your favorite writers.
The store has a cozy and inviting ambiance, perfect for browsing and discovering new books. Whether you're a casual reader or a hardcore bookworm, Boswell Book Company is the place to be.
2. Lion's Tooth
Lion's Tooth is a lovely little bookstore with a great selection of books, zines, and comics.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making for a pleasant shopping experience.
The curated selection covers a wide array of topics, providing something for everyone.
It's a great place to support local businesses and find your next favorite read.
3. Darick Books
Darick Books is a must-visit bookstore for book lovers. With a vast collection of books spanning across various genres, readers are sure to find something that piques their interest.
Darick, the owner, is always welcoming and ready to assist with any queries.
The cozy ambiance of the store makes it a perfect spot to spend an afternoon lost in the pages of a good book.
If you're in the mood for a literary adventure, Darick Books is the place to be!
4. Rainbow Booksellers
Rainbow Booksellers is a charming children's bookstore that offers a carefully curated selection of books for kids of all ages.
The inviting storefront and warm atmosphere make it a great destination for families looking for a unique shopping experience. The store is only open two days a week, but it's worth the wait to support this local business.
The friendly owner is always available to offer tailored recommendations, making it a go-to stop for birthday presents.
Competitive prices and a commitment to fostering a love of reading and learning make Rainbow Booksellers a must-visit for anyone looking for a delightful bookstore experience.
5. Rooted MKE
Rooted MKE is a cozy little bookshop with a great collection of books for both kids and adults.
Their friendly staff is always ready to help. The bookstore also offers a selection of little gifts.
It is a wonderful place to take your children for some good storytelling and art activities.
The atmosphere is welcoming, and the bookstore is a great place to make new friends. Rooted MKE is a must-visit for book-lovers of all ages.
6. Little Read Book Inc
Little Read Book Inc is a small, but well-curated bookstore with a great selection of books.
The knowledgeable staff is always eager to help customers find what they're looking for.
The store has a local flavor, which adds to its charm. In addition to books for adults, they also have a good selection of fine tip ink coloring books.
It's refreshing to have a neighborhood independent bookstore that's worth visiting.
7. Woodland Pattern Book Center
Woodland Pattern Book Center is a non-profit organization that doubles as an art center and bookstore. They have an extensive collection of poetry and prose by local and diverse authors.
The bookstore also hosts various events and classes throughout the year, some with scholarships available. They even offer to publish your work!
The American Indian section is impressive, with rare out of print books that are hard to find elsewhere. The staff is friendly and professional, and the store is well-kept and clean.
If you're looking for zines or poetry, this is the place to be. It's a great cause that deserves support, and a must-visit for anyone interested in the Milwaukee literary scene.
8. VCY Bookstore And Outreach Center
VCY Bookstore And Outreach Center is a great place to find religious books at affordable prices.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, always willing to help customers find what they need. The selection of books is well-organized, making it easy to find what you're looking for.
The store also offers great bargains and sales. Although the store is not accessible for disabled individuals, once inside, customers have a wonderful experience.
If you're looking for Christian literature, bibles, or Christian history, VCY Bookstore And Outreach Center is definitely worth a visit.
9. Bay View Books And Music
Bay View Books And Music is a small but charming used bookstore that offers a wide variety of books, CDs, LPs, DVDs, and even VHS tapes.
The store is filled with personality and character, making it a unique shopping experience.
The bearded man with glasses who runs the store is friendly and helpful, and the selection of $1 items in the hallway is impressive.
Whether you're looking for comic books, graphic novels, records, or 45s, this bookstore has it all. Bay View Books And Music is definitely worth a visit if you're a book or music lover.
10. Renaissance Books
Renaissance Books is a used bookstore with a great selection of poetry and fiction books, including science fiction.
The atmosphere is charming with books stacked and hanging off shelves. The staff is warm and welcoming.
The store has some rare items, some still in shrinkwrap. It's a great place to kill time while waiting for someone or before traveling.
The store is better organized than most used bookstores and has a superb selection. It's definitely worth a visit.
11. Outwords Books Gifts & Coffee
Outwords Books Gifts & Coffee is a great spot to pick up a book or two. The store has a cozy atmosphere and offers a variety of LGBTQ books, cards, and gifts.
In addition to books, customers can enjoy a cup of coffee and a treat while browsing.
However, some customers have reported that the owner can come off as rude.
Despite this, Outwords Books Gifts & Coffee is a unique bookstore that is worth checking out for its selection of LGBTQ literature and charming ambiance.