A Bookworm's Guide to the Best Bookstores in Arizona
New York City has The Strand. Portland has Powell's. Arizona has its share of legendary bookstores, too, at which to while away the day.
411 N 4th Ave., Tucson (520) 792-3715
The first 100% solar-powered bookstore in the United States and a popular mainstay in downtown Tucson's Fourth Avenue district, Antigone Book's reading selection emphasizes local authors and independent thought, as well as championing feminist and LGBTQ+ authors and subjects.
Bisbee Books & Music
2 Main St., Bisbee (located in the Copper Queen Plaza near Bisbee Coffee Company) (520) 353-4009
This little shop doubles as a community gathering place and the go-to store for books about the former mining town/current artist enclave, Bisbee. You'll also find musical instruments and a carefully curated selection of vinyl records, plus art supplies and gifts. A recently launched "Artist Series" supports local creatives by giving them space in the shop during busy weekends and holidays to promote their work.
Bookmans boasts the largest selection of used books in the state, but that's being humble; the store's vast collection of books (used and new), rare books, movies, music, collectibles and video games rivals that of the infinite world of online shopping. Meaning: You can always find what you're looking for—and some of what you weren't.
Bright Side Bookshop
18 N San Francisco St., Flagstaff (928) 440-5041
Visit Bright Side for the young reader in your life. Adults love the shelves of new fiction, literary classics and books about northern Arizona at this downtown community hub, but kids go crazy for Bright Side's impressive offering of children's books for all ages—from board books to YA.
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr., Tempe (480) 730-0205
300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix (602) 274-0067
Changing Hands caters to browsers. Its Tempe location has armchairs situated throughout the store for reading, while the Phoenix store lures in book-lovers with a roaring fireplace and a beer-and-wine bar called First Draft. Time your visit with a signing event by a local or national author, offered at both locations.
6208 E Speedway Blvd., Tucson (520) 571-0110
Looking for autographed copies of your favorite books? Stop by Mostly Books, a store known for its lineup of signed books from all genres. The store also hosts weekly book clubs that cater to varied interests and literary-themed events. Book bonus: It's just a few doors down from Bookman's eastside store.
The Poisoned Pen Bookstore
4014 N Goldwater Blvd., Scottsdale (480) 947-2974
Mystery-book collectors like this store for its impressive list of author appearances, signed first editions and British imports. If you're interested in Arizona-based stories, check out the section of novels set in the Southwest. Poisoned Pen operates its own publishing imprint, Poisoned Pen Press, of which nearly two-thirds of the business is out-of-state and global.
15 N Leroux St, Flagstaff (928) 774-6813
For the discerning reader, there's Starrlight. Every book on the shelves at this small store is hand-picked. You'll come across vintage, rare and hard-to-find books, plus funky finds, like vintage paperback sci-fi novels with some fantastic 70s and 80s-era cover art.
About the Author
Elena Acoba and Jessica Dunham
Freelance writer Elena Acoba enjoys traveling to the four corners of Arizona, where she counts the natural wonders and the rich historical sights among her favorite sights.
Jessica Dunham is a travel, food and fitness writer whose work has been published in Runner's World, Phoenix New Times, Modern Luxury Scottsdale and more. She is passionate about all things Arizona, especially spontaneous Saturday day trips around the state.