Whether you’re a book nerd or just love perusing local bookshops, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not that hard to find the best bookstores in New England. In fact, they’re all included in this list!
From Vermont all the way up to Maine, 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!
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.
What makes this bookstore so fun to visit is the history. Plus, who doesn’t love getting lost in a bookshop?
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 Plainville.
Gibson’s Bookstore | Concord, New Hampshire
Gibson’s Bookstore is the most popular indie bookshop in Concord that also has a cafe, just like most bookstores on this list. It’s one of the more historic bookstores in New England, though, as it dates back to 1898!
Today, the 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, especially for the children.
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 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 everything from children’s books to gifts for book lovers. 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 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 one New England bookshop you should stop by.
Hickory Stick Bookshop | Washington Depot, Connecticut
This 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 eclectic set of items for sale, including accessories, calendars, puzzles, toys, and of course, books. While the interior is quaint, it’s the perfect place to purchase a book while feeling comforted by the warm lighting.
Plus, the shop has lots of little nooks where you can stop and flip through the pages of a book that you’re interested in buying!
The Bennington Bookshop | Bennington, Vermont
One of the most underrated best bookstores in New England is The Bennington Bookshop. This small, local bookstore may be tiny but is filled with tons of books, including many local travel books about Vermont and 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.
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! 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!
This is easily one of the hidden gem best bookstores in New England!
The Montague Bookmill | Montague, Massachusetts
Easily the most unique bookstore on this list is The Montague Bookmill! It’s situated inside of an 1830s 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 as a historic place on the National Register!
Once inside, books cover every single include from floor to ceiling. It’s pretty easy to feel how historical it is, too, with the old wooden floors. 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 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, making this one of the best bookstores in New England.
This bookshop opened in 2004 and recently moved to Belfast after outgrowing its old location in Searsport.
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 recent college grad who is the founder of Volumes & Voyages, a blog devoted to books and travel. After studying abroad in Dublin for a semester, she got bit by the travel bug and has been chasing her wanderlust ever since.