Virtual Literary Road Trip Stop 5: The Chicagoland Area

223392357_cf341f206d_zTaking us on our next virtual stop on the blog’s literary road trip is one of my long time favorite bloggers L. Marie. I’m super excited she’s going to be breaking down the different bookish hot spots around Chicago, since one of my best friends lives in the city. Also, I can definitely echo L. Marie’s suggestions to hit up Gino’s East for deep dish and grab some Garrett’s Popcorn. So delicious! Here is L. Marie: 

Hi. I’m L. Marie. My blog is El Space: The Blog of L. Marie. I was born in Chicago, which boasts such illustrious writers as Blue Balliett, Audrey Niffenegger, Sara Paretsky, Lorraine Hansberry, Samuel Park, Carol Brendler, Studs Terkel, Leon Forrest, Luis Alberto Urrea, Gwendolyn Brooks, and many others. Some weren’t born in Chicago, but they made Chicago their home. The Chicagoland area is well-known for books. Check out the Printers Row Lit Festival, which happens in June (so you just missed it!).

There is so much to see and do in this area. But since this post is about books, let’s get to those!

Great Places to Buy Books

Powells Bookstores Chicago (Hyde Park, near the University of Chicago):

Address: 1501 E 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

A great place to find used or rare books. Plus Hyde Park is a great place to visit, with an eclectic mix of foods. While you’re here, stop by the world-famous Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637).

Anderson’s Bookshop

One of the top independent bookstores in the country and a great place to buy new books for any age level and meet the authors who wrote them. Terry Pratchett has been here at least twice. Even J. K. Rowling has been here as have Veronica Roth, Maggie Stiefvater, Rachel Hartman, Neil Gaiman, Chris Colfer, and many, many more. I think you would be hard pressed to name an author who hasn’t signed books at an event sponsored by this store. I frequent this bookstore!

Authors List from Anderson
Authors List from Anderson’s Bookshop


This store is about 31 miles driving distance from Chicago and has three locations:

The main store: Anderson’s Bookshop Naperville (west of Chicago):

Address: 123 W Jefferson Ave, Naperville, IL 60540

Anderson’s Bookshop Downers Grove

Address: 5112 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515

Two Doors East Gift Shop (literally two doors down from the main bookshop):

Address: 111 W Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL 60540

The Book Stall (North of Chicago, off Greenbay Road):

Address: 811 Elm St, Winnetka, IL 60093 ‎

Another great place to buy new books and meet local authors. This bookstore has tons of SCBWI author events. It is around 23 miles from Chicago.

Best Indie of the Year

Chicago Rare Book Center (around 24 miles north of Chicago):

Address: 703 Washington St., Evanston, IL 60202

Looking for hard to find books, especially those out of print? You might try this bookstore. Plus, Evanston is the home of my alma mater, Northwestern University.

Chicago Rare Books

The Magic Tree Bookstore (10 miles west of Chicago off the Eisenhower [I-290]):

Address: 141 N. Oak Park Ave.,Oak Park, IL 60301

A wonderful place to buy children’s books. Plus if you love Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, Oak Park is the place to visit. (Tour info here.)

Magic Tree

The American Girl Store (in Water Tower Place—the Gold Coast area):

Address: 835 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago

If you know a kid who loves the American Girl dolls and books, this is the place to go. But be prepared to stay here forever. Getting the kid to leave will be difficult.

You also need to check out the Newberry Library at 60 West Walton Street in Chicago. This is a great research library.

Also while in Chicago, you must check out:

Garrett’s Popcorn

625 N. Michigan Avenue

Not a good idea to eat while reading a book! The cheese and caramel popcorn mix is great though. I highly recommend it.

Gino’s East (for deep dish pizza—what Chicago is known for)

162 E. Superior St.

I’ve hung out here since I went to high school ages ago.

Billy Goat Tavern

430 N. Michigan Ave (and many other places)

Home of the “cheezborger.” People from all over the world show up here!

Getting to Chicago:  

If you’re from out of state, you’ll have to fly or drive to get here. J We’ve got great airports: the O’Hare International Airport and Midway. You can get throughout Chicago via the “L” train—the elevated train that goes all over the city and to O’Hare. The Chicago Transit System is well known for buses that take you anywhere you want to go. You can also take the Metra—the commuter train. If you drive, be prepared for traffic on the Eisenhower (I-290), the Dan Ryan (I-90/94), and the Stevenson (I-55). Next time you’re in Chicago, check out The Second City (1616 N Wells St), especially if you love improvisational comedy!

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