Boston is a city steeped in the rich, literary history of America, and this tradition continues to this day. If you are in Boston and don’t visit a literary site, you would be missing out on a unique experience. Whether you are a Boston resident or just visiting for a short while, be sure to explore these wonderfully bookish sites the city has to offer!
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
Support Independent Bookstores
The Children’s Book Store
My personal favorite bookstore in the Boston area specializes in, as you can guess, children’s books. The store is cozy and offers a diverse range of books. Keep an eye out for the books on display. You may end up finding your next favorite read!
This locally owned, independently run bookstore has been a fixture in Cambridge since 1932 with its massive inventory of books and author events. Particularly interesting is that Harvard Bookstore is the home of an Espresso Book Machine, a contraption that prints books on demand. There aren’t many of these machines in the world, so don’t miss your chance to see one in action!
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
Just around the corner from Harvard Bookstore is Grolier, which proudly bears the title of oldest poetry bookstore in America. Aside of selling poetry books and hosting readings, Grolier is also a press that publishes upcoming poets.
Porter Square Books
Porter Square Books is another excellent independent bookstore in Cambridge. They go above and beyond by offering a service called virtual bookseller. If you are short on time and unable to browse the store in person, you can simply submit an online form with your preferences and Porter will send you a list of personalized recommendations.
Trident Booksellers & Cafe
At the time of writing, Trident is temporarily closed due to a fire. Check back on their website for when they reopen because books and breakfast food is a combination that should not be missed.
Brattle Book Shop
One of the country’s oldest antiquarian bookstore, Brattle is located in the heart of Boston. There are multiple floors of used books to peruse. You might even find a rare first edition!
When in Doubt, Go to the Library
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
This library and museum are dedicated to the 35th president of the United States. Here you can find numerous valuable documents, including a collection dedicated to Ernest Hemingway.
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center
This exhibit is located off of the Boston Public Library and features a collection of historical maps, exhibits, and more.
Technically, the Anthenaeum is a library, but it’s also a cultural institution, an archive, a museum, and more.
Off the Pages
Make Way for Ducklings statue
Make Way for Ducklings is an iconic children’s book by Robert McCloskey about duck parents who decide to raise their ducklings in the Boston Public Garden lagoon. These statues are an homage to the classic tale.
Trumpet of the Swans bridge
E. B. White is most well known for Charlotte’s Web, but The Trumpet of the Swan is a great work in and of itself. The bridge (and swan boats!) are also located in the Boston Public Garden.
A little out of the way but nonetheless a worthwhile journey, this famed lake in Concord is the is the site that inspired Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Go submerge yourself in the nature that so captivated Thoreau.
Omni Parker House hotel
This is one of the oldest operating hotels in the country, and its legacy precedes itself. It is at this hotel where numerous literary figures met for meals and discussed literature. Guests here include Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and more (and maybe you!).
Stay lit(erary) everyone! And with that, signing off for the last time,
Cindy Nguyen-Pham, Intern