While bookstores may be a dying breed, Santa Barbara has still got some treasured spots to shop, read and explore. Whether you’re looking for a children’s classic, a new novel for the beach or an artful coffee table book for a gift, here’s our guide to the best bookstores in SB:
Chaucer’s is this city’s most beloved and cherished bookstore. Literally packed from floor-to-ceiling with everything from children’s stories to adult fiction to a curated Santa Barbara section, this charming shop is a necessary stop for all bibliophiles. Find the novel you’ve been searching for, pick up an eye-catching cover or read up on the latest political theories with the help of knowledgeable staff.
Chaucer’s Bookstore. 3321 State Street, Loreto Plaza. 805 682 6787.
Lost Horizon Bookstore is exactly where you want to go for antique books and vintage posters that transport you to a different era. Highly curated and offering a range of selected art, architecture and classic literature, the store also sells old postcards, as well as maps of California and the Santa Barbara area. Come here to peruse history and take a step back in time.
Lost Horizon Bookstore. 703 Anacapa Street. 805 962 4606.
The Book Den is the best spot to visit for used books and great deals. The staff is all about service here, so stop by when you’re in search of a new read and even find out-of-print editions. The store is well-organized making famous and obscure titles accessible, while still offering a great selection.
The Book Den. 15 East Anapamu Street. 805 962 3321.
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store is a true gem of a bookstore and gift shop that is too easily overlooked. Located Downtown right next to the Museum of Art, the shop is filled with unusual books that are sure to inspire. Come here to find fabulous gifts for friends or to pick up a timeless souvenir to remind you of your visit.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Store. 1130 State Street. 805 963 4364.
The Bookstore at the Vedanta Temple, located in the foothills of Montecito, is as beautiful as it is fascinating. With a wide collection of rare religious texts as well as incense, music and other worldly gifts, this is where you come for a quiet and contemplative afternoon.
The Bookstore at the Vedanta Temple. 925 Ladera Lane. 805 969 5697.