When it comes to therapeutic travel during the Covid-19 Pandemic,  the 423 national parks sites in the US are a haven of ‘recovery’. There is nothing like an adventurous day trip in the wild to get one centered and able to cope with the challenges back home.

But there is a different type of escape which you should take into consideration when visiting the US. In this post, we will cover some charming bookstores, creative places of refuge, filled with stories and fantasy.

US has recently loosened its travel restrictions and opened its borders for citizens abroad, provided thy are fully vaccinated. In order to speed up the visa process, you can apply for an online ESTA travel authorization which diminishes the lengthen of the procedure to three days, while a normal visa acquiring operation can take months.

If your footsteps will carry you to California, South Carolina or Minnesota, keep an eye out for some amazing bookstores. These independent shops below will each guide you into their own special universe, where book discovery is enhanced only by the magic of people coming together.

# The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

Just a 7 mile trip from the Hollywood sign, The Last Bookstore can make for a day-trip on its own. This is a bookshop that is not just welcoming and creative, it is also  surprisingly big, having a total surface of 22,000 sq. feet (almost 2,044 square meters).  Open all year long, except for Christmas and Thanksgiving, this is a fantastic cultural hotspot to visit during the pandemic if you’re in California.


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The Last Bookstore features art studios, a record store and even a lovely yarn shop. There are all sorts of vaults and crannies to discover and some couples even choose to elope here and take photos under a romantic book tunnel.

# Omnivore Books, San Francisco

What an inspired idea to mix the cultural vibes of a bookstore with the sensory delight offered by great food and drinks. Omnivore Books is a lovely culinary bookshop located on the Cesar Chavez street in San Francisco.

A charming place to roam around and discover vintage books on food, culinary magazines, food-inspired design masks, old menus you can buy and various related gems.


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The bookstore also has a signed cookbook club membership, where you can enlist in order to receive 4 autographed cookbooks per year.

# Blue Bicycle Books in Charleston, South Carolina

Blue Bicycle Books is a relatively young bookstore, first opened in 1995. The bohemian shop can host events for up to 75 people and before the pandemics it was animated by around 200 authors every year.


What we absolutely love about the team behind this bookshop is their involvement in various projects such as a writing camp for children, ‘Poets in the School’ and a young adult book festival. When wondering through the shelves of Blue Bicycle, expect to discover classics, fiction, children’s books, as well as local authors of Charleston.

# Bart’s Books – Ojai, California

Welcome to the largest outdoor bookstore in the world. Bart’s Books in Ojai, California, was inspired by the owner’s love for Parisian book carts located on the edges of the Seine.

The story of Bart’s Books goes back to 1964, when owner Richard Bartinsdale built some bookcases and left books on the sidewalks in front of his house for people to check out. Passers-by could read a few lines from a book and if they wanted more, they could simply leave some coins in the coffee cans provided and ‘buy’ the particular book. This generated Bart’s Books ‘honor system’, which you can still witness today: after the shop is closed, one can just take a book from the collection outside and leave some coins in return.


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Bart’s Books currently accommodates around 130,000 books covering an impressive array of domains. These are mostly second hand books, but you can find new titles as well.

# Birch Books & Native Arts, Minnesota

The small independent Birchbark Books & Native Arts bookstore in Minneapolis has that community vibe one can instantly fall for. The tiny venue is dedicated to feeding the Indigenous local cultural life, through sponsored readings by Native writers. Moreover, the team is keen on conserving and promoting local artists and craftsmen by selling traditional baskets, dreamcatchers, totem necklaces and locally-made paintings.

Their array of books? Everything from children’s books to food, biographies, law, nature&science. Which sounds like a wonderful place to mix and match if you are ever in Minneapolis.



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