Book It to These LA Literary Spots Now!

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As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, I find myself traveling between the realities of an all-consuming novel or real life: going to grad school, covering/attending events, or hanging out with friends.

The ideal situation for someone like me is when these two worlds collide–when a place is quite literally lined with literary motifs and I can go about my daily activities while enjoying such a spot. What if I told you that such an enchantment exists in LA where this is possible–and that there’s multiple of them?

Well chicsters and fellow bibliophiles, here is my extensive, but by no means exhaustive list of my frequented literary spots in LA. Whether you’re looking to study somewhere, get a good cup of coffee, or get some drinks with friends, I’ve got you covered:

Libraries:

1. USC’s Doheny Library:

Built in the 19th century, USC’s architecture is other-worldly compared to the majority of Southern California. The Doheny Library is a touchstone of that distinction. The second you enter the library foyer, you become wrapped up in a travertine blanket. Look up and you will find historic stained glass windows with monarchical crests. But once you enter the main reading room, you definitely will do nothing but look up at the ornate ceiling filled with geometric shapes of gold, powder pink and grey.

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2. USC’s Hoose Library:

Less known to the general public, but just as exquisite, is the Hoose Philosophy Library. Located on the edge of campus and only visited by the occasional philosophy major, this spot is reminiscent of ancollegiate Library in the United Kingdom: one where philosophers are painted on the walls in idyllic scenes in between grecian columns and cherrywood bookshelves. Tables and chairs are sandwiched between the columns, so you can be encapsulated by the smell and view of books for hours while studying for your next class. Just don’t get too distracted by the gorgeous chandeliers and stained glass windows!

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3. Los Angeles Central Library:

Downtown Los Angeles’ main library has so much to offer from aesthetics to free screenings, lectures and classes. Sometimes I’ll wander in here for fun in the middle of the week and stumble on a really interesting one like a Tarzan screening and Q&A with a Tarzan legend historian. But if lectures are not your thing, even coming in here for the architecture is worth it. My favorite room is the children’s reading room, with its Americana wall murals and a gorgeous wooden ceiling painted like a Persian carpet. And since it’s a children’s reading room, you may see some adorable, giant teddy bears hugging the lamps.

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Bookstores:

1. Iliad Bookshop:

This place is my favorite bookshop in Los Angeles. EVER. The Last Bookstore comes in a close second (which is also on this list). If the ginormous archaic book sculptures that line the exterior or the wall murals featuring your favorite children’s book characters don’t entice you, then go inside and feast your eyes on the shop’s infinite collection. They have titles for everyone–from classic literature, to fantasy, young adult, art and fashion . My favorite additions, being an avid book collector, are the leather-lined tomes with gold-lined pages. Most bookshops only have a few, but Iliad has so many old books to choose from that I was close to leaving the store with all of them. So. close.

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2. The Last Bookstore:

It would be a true sin not to include The Last Bookstore on this list. This LA landmark is a bookstagram heaven: a book arch to a peak-a-boo hole in the middle of the book wall, and just a medley of actual books to fall in love with and take home. They also have little artisan shops upstairs and an art gallery, so you can spend an entire day here. And if you get hungry, the Grand Central Market is just a short walk away.

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3. Skylight Books:

Nestled in Los Feliz, Skylight Books is an airy open space with many genres to peruse. If you prefer crisp, new copies of books, poetry readings, and author Q&As, this is the place for you. A couple streets over, you’ll find a bookish wall tribute American-German poet’s Charles Bukowski titles. Perfect for an #ootd snap! The culotte and book spine coordination on this photo was unintentional, believe it or not!

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Coffee Shops and Cafes:

1. Blue Bottle Coffee, Downtown Los Angeles:

This is the spot to draft the next great American novel. While Blue Bottle is a chain, the DTLA location is incredibly unique with its exposed brick wall filled with inked treasures. I love coming here just to write to the rhythm of background noise with a delicious iced oat milk latte. And if writer’s block ensues, I just pop next door to the Bradbury building. The trip will do wonders to your written word, I promise!

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2. BBCM Cafe, USC:

Surprise, surprise: another USC recommendation! I am a fan of the BBCM location in West Hollywood too. The WeHo location probably the favorite among LA influencers, but I tend to favor the one at USC and not just because it’s conveniently located for a grad student like myself! The USC location swept me away with it’s bookshelves featuring well-curated titles and little knick-knacks like old typewriters and vintage landlines. If I’m not doing homework with friends, I love taking the books off the shelves and discovering something new in one each time. Plus, the cafe’s Breakfast bowl and Iced Tahitian Vanilla Latte with Almond milk are reasons on their own to keep coming back!

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3. The Hart and the Hunter

This place will steal your ‘hart’ as it stole mine. The old portraiture contrasted by glossy baby blue tile and tan leather chairs seems like the perfect bookish setting in itself: but don’t you worry: the lobby of the Pali Hotel that leads you into the cafe has stacks of books on the floor and on the lobby desk. Plenty of bookish corners to choose from. Plus, you can get your eggs Benedict with a side of a good read by selecting a magazine or newspaper from the lobby’s magazine rack.

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Dinner and Nightlife:

1. NoMad Restaurant at the NoMad Hotel:

The second I found out NoMad’s restaurant was practically a twentieth century evoking library, there was no competition for my 22nd birthday festivities! The vintage books, the white columns, blue velvet chairs, the hanging greenery–AND THE FOOD. I highly recommend this place to anyone. Even if you hate books (Which, if you do I hope this post changes your mind!) then make a reservation just for their Chicken for Two, Moscow Mule and Baked Alaska.

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2. Library Bar, Downtown Los Angeles

The name says it all. The inside of this cozy drinking hole seems like something that should be on the other side of a secret passageway in a novelist’s home. The entire wall is occupied by books and hallmarks to literary legends: a Mark Twain photograph and a Shakespeare bust are some you can find among the mix. Grab some cocktails here with some friends to chat or you’re in reading mood (and your friends are too) then this wouldn’t be a shabby place for a book or writing club. Inklings 2.0? I support by all means.

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3. Taix Restaurant

Okay, THIS PLACE IS EVERYTHING. Step right in and feel like you’re transported to a cute Brasserie in France. Start your evening with a fine Cabernet, some pea soup and get the Steak Frites because wow–it’s delicious. Once your taste buds have been properly danced on by food, pop into Taix’s banquet room. It has bookshelves with vertical stripes, sepia photographs and gorgeous books. Lord knows, I did!

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This bookish post is in collaboration with one of my favorite online book clubs ever, Belletrist (Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss’ book Club). Be sure to give their Instagram a follow. They read a cool new book every month and showcase the bookshelves of really cool people on their Instastories!

Keeping it Krischic,

Kristin Vartan

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Forward thinker with a Vintage Soul. Editor and traveller with a love affair with words and whimsical wardrobes. Follow me on my journey to amazing sights through the lens of personal style.

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