If you have always considered the bookstore to be only the destination of a rainy day, you’ve been limiting your fun. Book stores are perfect spots to visit on bone-chilling days when the kids are jumping off the walls or on hot summer days when you’re searching for some air conditioning to cool down. Plus, you can kiss goodbye the days where book stores merely sold, well, books. Many now have play areas, cafes, and in-store readings for the kiddos. Every Seattle family seems to have their favorite kid-friendly bookstore and this list has bound together the best of the best.
One of the most beloved bookstores for Seattle families, Alphabet Soup sells children’s books exclusively, making them an absolute favorite for both kids and parents. Located in the Wallingford neighborhood (very close to Molly Moon’s, by the way!), Alphabet Soup sells new, used and even vintage children’s books. They also accept books for store trade on Saturdays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – a great reason to get your kids to clean out their room!
1406 North 46th Street
Elliott Bay Book Company
Elliott Bay Book Company is a bookstore staple in Seattle, and with their new location on Capitol Hill, the shop is looking better than ever. For families, Elliott Bay offers a huge selection of books to choose from, plus some of the most helpful staff you’ll find in Seattle – perfect for hunting down that book that your child insists on finding, but can’t remember the title of!
1521 10th Avenue
Green Lake neighborhood families may not want us to reveal their favorite bookstore, but we can’t help ourselves. Mockingbird Books is such a gem – the store is owned and operated by true booklovers and as customers, you will feel the love because you’ll feel welcome to browse and ask questions. As a bonus to aide your browsing concentration, kids absolutely love the play area that’s tucked within the shelves.
7220 Woodlawn Avenue NE
Third Place Books
With two locations in the Seattle area – one in the heart of Seattle in Ravenna and one on the north-end of Lake Washington in Lake Forest Park – Third Place Books brings together all of the best parts of a used bookstore, a neighborhood bookstore and a large bookstore into two special spots for book-loving families to enjoy. Both locations sell used and new books, and have that perfect library-esque smell when you walk in the door. Don’t miss places to have a bite at both locations – The Honey Bear Bakery in Lake Forest Park and Vios Cafe in Ravenna.
6504 20th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA
Lake Forest Park Location
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA
Queen Anne Books
Another charming and delightful neighborhood bookstore in Seattle is family-friendly Queen Anne Books. Even though it’s located on bustling Queen Anne Avenue, the store sits back off of the street, tucked behind El Diablo Coffee. Once you’re inside, you’ll immediately feel life slow down a bit… even with the littlest booklovers in tow! But, just because it’s peaceful in Queen Anne Books doesn’t mean you’ll be shushing your kids the entire time – they are happy to have them explore and will often engage them in discussions about their favorite reads. Be sure to check out their website – their recommended book lists, for both adults and children, are excellent!
1811 Queen Anne Avenue North
University Book Store
Last, but certainly not least in this list of independently-owned, local book stores is Seattle’s beloved University Book Store. Don’t be fooled by the Husky gear and college students wandering around buying their textbooks, the University Book Store is dedicated to helping children develop a love of books and their knowledgeable staff and extensive selection prove it. This isn’t a book store to breeze in and out of – plan a trip to the University Bookstore when you have time to really browse and let your children explore all of their cool books. Don’t forget that they also have a parking lot on the back side of the store and they’ll validate your parking! (Psst! This is a great place to pick up birthday presents for kids! And they gift wrap for free!)
4326 University Way NE and other locations around the area
Please tell us what your kids loved about these Seattle bookstores! Or, let us know about your family’s favorite bookstore in Seattle or on the Eastside, by using comments section below.
— Katie Kavulla