Whether you’re a total bibliophile or just love perusing local bookshops, you’ll be happy to know that New England has them in abundance. Exploring a cool book shop is absolutely one of the best things to do in New England, and you’ll find the best of the best bookstores in New England on this list!
All across New England, there are local bookstores spread all across this region of the United States. Each place will truly make you fall in love with where you’re visiting even more, and be sure to purchase a book to support the locals.
Without further ado, the best bookstores in New England are below!
Table of Contents
Best Bookstores in New England
Northshire Bookstore | Manchester, Vermont
The Northshire Bookstore is one of the most well-known and best bookstores in New England for a reason. Located in Manchester VT, this bookshop fills up two massive floors and even features a used books section where you can purchase thrifted books at a discount.
The bookstore hosts a wide variety of author events throughout the year too, including big name authors like Jeff Kinney and Jodi Picoult. They always have a wide variety of books and the workers are so helpful. If you don’t know what to read, ask them, and they’ll help you find your next favorite book.
Attached to the Northshire Bookstore is the Bonnet & Maine Cafe. Get yourself a tasty coffee and pastry while you peruse the shelves. It’s super easy to get lost in the books there!
Trident Booksellers & Cafe | Boston, Massachusetts
Though Trident has many locations across the United States, they also have one right in Boston on Newbury Street. This independent bookstore features tons of books in addition to a cafe on the top floor where you can get some tasty meals.
Similar to Northshire Bookstore, Trident Booksellers hosts a variety of events throughout the year. There are book signings, poetry readings, and fun holiday festivities too. What makes Trident so great is that they’re also open pretty late; you can visit anytime from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The location on Newbury, unfortunately, got partially burned due to a fire a few years ago but is now officially back open for business!
The Toadstool Bookshop | Keene, New Hampshire
Right in Keene is a great bookstore called The Toadstool Bookshop! This bookstore has a classic brick New England exterior and is filled to the brim with books on the inside. They also have locations in Nashua and Peterborough.
The Toadstool Bookshop first began in the 1970s when the owner opened the shop at just 19 years old in Peterborough. It quickly grew to become a New Hampshire staple and has now grown to multiple locations.
This cool New Hampshire bookshop hosts book signings, readings, and more at all of their NH locations, too.
An Unlikely Story | Plainville, Massachusetts
In southern Massachusetts is a quaint bookstore and cafe called An Unlikely Story. This bookstore is now famously owned by Julie and Jeff Kinney. If you recognize that name, it’s because he wrote the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series!
An Unlikely Story serves as a meeting place for authors and book lovers. With fun lighting and books flying in the air as if you’re at Hogwarts, An Unlikely Story is genuinely one of the best bookstores in New England.
Be sure to grab a coffee, tea, or beer at the cafe and peruse the shelves for a great time while visiting this cute New England bookstore.
Gibson’s Bookstore | Concord, New Hampshire
Gibson’s Bookstore is a popular indie bookshop in Concord that also has a cafe, and it’s one of the more historic bookstores in New England, as it dates back to 1898!
Today, this New England bookstore is a lot larger than it used to be. There’s even a wide range of toys and puzzles available for children. Gibson’s Cafe is also a must-stop, located right in the store. They have great seating so you can enjoy your new book while eating a snack.
Throughout the year, Gibson’s Bookstores hosts a wide range of authors and readings.
Savoy Bookshop and Cafe | Westerly, Rhode Island
The Savoy Bookshop and Cafe in Westerly is located right on the Connecticut and Rhode Island border. The interior of this RI bookstore has a very warm ambiance with an open floor plan and industrial lighting, which adds to the atmosphere.
Books cover two entire floors of the Savoy Bookshop and Cafe, and there’s a little of everything that makes a bibliophile’s heart beat faster. While this bookstore is newer, having only opened in spring 2016, it’s quickly become a must-visit spot in Westerly, Rhode Island.
The cafe is also spectacular and is located right in the shop; some say it’s even one of the best places to eat in Westerly. There is an abundance of tables and chairs, making it an excellent spot for a lovely New England bookshop meetup.
Letterpress Books | Portland, Maine
This family-owned shop is one of the best bookstores in New England! If you ever find yourself in Portland, one of the top places to visit in Maine, you should swing by Letterpress Books.
A lot of what they sell right in the bookstore is locally sourced from the state, so shopping here is a great way to support a Maine business, especially the artists. If you’re on the hunt for a new title, be sure to stop by on Tuesdays, as that’s when they’re typically put out on the shelves.
With free parking and books and gifts galore, Letterpress Books is definitely a New England bookshop you should stop by.
Hickory Stick Bookshop | Washington Depot, Connecticut
This CT bookstore has been in Washington Depot for the past seventy years and features every book you can imagine! It was even voted as the best bookstore in Connecticut in 2014 by Yankee Magazine.
Hickory Stick Bookshop is known for its fantastic book selection and wide range of items for sale, including accessories, calendars, puzzles, and toys. The interior feels quaint and cozy, offering the perfect ambiance for searching for your next favorite book.
This adorable New England bookstore has lots of charming little nooks, too.
The Bennington Bookshop | Bennington, Vermont
One of the most underrated best bookstores in New England is The Bennington Bookshop. This small, local Vermont bookstore may be tiny but is filled with tons of books, including many local travel books about the surrounding area.
The shop also dates back to 1928 and recently opened up a brand new space after moving from Main Street. Their most extensive section is their children’s collection, so families especially love visiting The Bennington Bookshop.
You even get a free bookmark for your book when you check out, so you won’t lose your place while reading!
Books on the Square | Providence, Rhode Island
Books on the Square, located in Wayland Square, is Providence’s best independent bookstore to visit. It looks unassuming from the outside, and then once you go in, you’re in a magical wonderland of books!
Hideaway in one of their comfortable little nooks once you find a book you’re interested in to enjoy it. Similar to other shops on this list, Books on the Square features an extensive children’s collection and frequent storytimes for kids.
Be sure to ask about discounts when you check out, as Books on the Square has many discounts available for customers, including teachers, college students, and active military and veterans.
Porter Square Books | Cambridge, Massachusetts
Located on the outskirts of Boston is none other than Porter Square Books, one of the most popular bookstores in New England. It’s so easy to get here using public transportation, as the Porter stop on the red line is right around the corner from here.
Inside the bookstore, there’s a vast children’s selection as well as books for adults. The best part of this bookshop is the cafe that serves a lot more than coffee and tea. You can buy a tasty lunch here. Many people come to Porter Square Books for the food as well as the frequent events like readings and storytimes.
This is easily one of the hidden gem best bookstores in New England!
R.J. Julia Booksellers | Madison, Connecticut
For an absolutely darling New England bookshop experience, R.J. Julia Booksellers always comes through. This Connecticut bookstore is open and inviting, with a beautiful floor full of books and a cute cafe and bistro that is the perfect spot to grab a bite in Madison.
This indie bookshop in New England hosts frequent readings and book events for the community, and it’s location in adorable downtown Madison makes it a perfect place to stop by during your visit to this cute Connecticut beach town.
The Montague Bookmill | Montague, Massachusetts
Easily one of the most unique bookstores in New England on this list is The Montague Bookmill. It’s situated inside an 1840s grist mill and features a glorious waterfall and ample outdoor seating. The building is red with tons of space inside. The mill that it’s situated in is even recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.
Once inside, books cover every single include from floor to ceiling and the gorgeous wooden floors feel very historical. Visit during the fall in New England for a truly magnificent view of the nearby waterfall.
Left Bank Bookshop | Belfast, Maine
Left Bank Bookshop in downtown Belfast is a quaint independent bookstore for passionate book lovers. The inside isn’t as large as some of the other New England bookstores on this list, but much care goes into which books line the shelves.
They carry everything from mysteries to books about Maine travel from local authors. Of course, there is also a lovely early reading section for children. This cute Maine bookshop also welcomes well behaved dogs, so you can bring your furry bestie with you.
This bookshop opened in 2004 and recently moved to Belfast after outgrowing its old location in Searsport.
Cellar Stories | Providence, Rhode Island
This gorgeous New England bookstore is the place to go for rare books in Rhode Island. Cellar Stories is one of those little New England bookshops that feels like you’ve been transported to another era when you walk through its nondescript door and up the narrow flight of stairs that leads to the rows and rows of used and rare treasures.
You’ll find vintage paperback and rare antique collections all mingled together in this very classic feeling RI bookshop. Cellar Stories frequently offers bag sales, so keep your eyes out for signs when you enter! You never know what kind of treasure you might stumble across in a place like this rare used book bookshop.
No trip to this part of the country is complete without visiting the best bookstores in New England. No matter which state you’re visiting, you’re sure to be near a beautiful local bookstore filled with books that are just waiting to be read by you.
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Krystianna is a born and raised Vermonter and lived in the state for 22 years. She is the founder of Volumes & Voyages, a blog devoted to books and travel. After studying abroad in Dublin for a semester, Krystianna got bit by the travel bug and has been chasing her wanderlust ever since.