Are you the kind of tourist whose friends laugh when you head out for yet another bookstore? Instead of taking all the popular tours, visiting the galleries and museums, you’re content to look at shelf after shelf of books you’ve never read at the independent bookstores. It doesn’t mean you enjoy your vacation any less — it’s just how you explore a new city.
If that’s the case, you’ll love San Diego. It’s in La Jolla, to be exact, that Theodor Seuss Giesel — better known as Dr. Seuss — lived out his last days. Between the independent bookstores and events held by organizations created specifically for book lovers, literary lovers can read to their heart’s content...and maybe find a little inspiration themselves. Here’s your guide to the bookish side of San Diego.
When you’re visiting bookstores in a new city, there’s little point in going to the Barnes & Nobles of the world. You can find those almost anywhere. If you want to satisfy your need for books and get a sense of San Diego, check out the independent bookstores. Here are a few of our favorites:
Warwick’s. Want to visit the country’s oldest family-owned, independent bookstore? You’ve come to the right place! Warwick’s has a history that stretches back to 1867, though several decades before the bookstore would move to the bay area. In fact, you can find Warwick’s in downtown La Jolla, not far from The Bed & Breakfast Inn. They frequently have author signings so you might have the chance to meet your favorite authors, like Colleen Hoover, Kevin Kwan, or Hank Green.
Upstart Crow Bookstore & Coffeehouse. This bookstore feels more like the cozy living room of a distant relative, which makes it that much more pleasant. Not only is it a great place to buy books, it’s an ideal reading atmosphere. And with the coffeehouse part of the establishment, you can order your favorite drink and pastry and really settle in.
Verbatim Books. If you want a sample of San Diego, you have to check out Verbatim. They sell rare and used books, but they have a special place in their heart for books by local authors. There’s also a monthly open mic event at this bookstore, so if you’re ever in San Diego on the second Wednesday of the month, this is a must.
Adams Avenue Bookstore. This bookstore has everything from history to religion to children’s lit to felines. By which we mean actual bookstore cats — two of them, in fact.
Of course, if you’re only vacationing, there’s little point in getting a library card, but some libraries can serve as almost literary museums. One such library is the University of California, San Diego Giesel Library named after Dr. Seuss himself. Here you can find the massive Dr. Seuss collection — as well as personal documents from Dr. Hans Seuss, who was constantly confused with Giesel by the La Jolla postal service. If you can make it out to Coronado Island, there’s also the Coronado Library, which contains an art exhibit dedicated to L. Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz series who used to vacation on the island.
Events and Associations
Part of the reason San Diego is so exciting for book lovers is because there are already so many book lovers here. Adventures By Book was founded here and hosts a wide variety of events to help readers connect to the books they love. San Diego Writers, Inc., on the other hand, offers resources to budding writers including workshops and classes, as well as readings for the community. There’s also the annual SDSU Writers’ Conference to help book lovers who have dreams of becoming an author.
It might not be New York City, but San Diego has much to offer literary enthusiasts, whether they’re readers, writers, or both. To start planning your bookish vacation, book a room direct with The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla, and we’ll price match plus 5%.
Check back next Monday for 4 free things to do in La Jolla...