If your ideal day involves getting lost in the pages of a good book, or among the 32 rooms of one of the largest bookstores in the country, you’ve come to the right place! Columbus is home to several, one-of-a-kind bookstores that will draw you in and keep you hooked. Grab a cup of coffee and find your next read at one of these unique spots.
The Book Loft
Bibliophiles come from miles away to explore this literary paradise. The Book Loft is home to 750,000 books, as well as cards, calendars, puzzles and more. It’s easy to get lost in the 32 – yes, thirty-two! – rooms of books in this charming, pre-Civil War building. Many of the rooms have their own CD soundtrack, which is on display and available for purchase, of course. And when you find just the right read, you can relax and enjoy turning pages on a bench by a bubbling fountain in the building’s beautiful courtyard. With independent bookstores all but a memory, the Book Loft is a dream come true.
A gathering place for readers, writers and Thurber enthusiasts of all ages, the Thurber House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the home of humorist, author and New Yorker cartoonist, James Thurber. It is now a Thurber museum and non-profit literary center. Its mission is to celebrate the written word for the education and entertainment of the broadest possible audience and to continue the legacy of James Thurber.
Teen authors can participate in the Young Writers’ Studio, or be published in Flip the Page, available on Amazon and in the Thurber Country Bookstore. Younger writers are supported through summer writing camps for Grades 2-8. The Thurber Prize for American Humor, the highest recognition of humor writing in the country, is also a program of the Thurber House. This charming place to celebrate reading and writing is a unique national treasure.
Explore your hipster side amongst thousands of books and vinyl records. Kafé Kerouack is a favorite coffee shop for the OSU crowd to read and sip. Most nights of the week, you’ll find a poetry slam, live music, spoken word or a lively speaker. There are wine, whiskey and beer tastings. You can view artwork and meet friends for board games. And you’ll discover local writers and comic book artists, along with hard-to-find small press items in their stacks. It’s “a place that loves art in all its forms.” The house coffee is locally roasted with fair trade beans. They also do their part by recycling all bottles and cans.
Two Dollar Radio Headquarters
Two Dollar Radio is a family-run publisher, founded in 2005 on a mission to reaffirm the cultural and artistic spirit of the publishing industry. In 2013 they added a film production arm, Moving Pictures. Two Dollar Radio Headquarters is the shop where they carry their own titles and other independently published literature, serve up booze from a full bar, pour locally roasted coffee, have a robust events schedule and also serve house-made, plant-based, unicorn-level food. For those in the know in Columbus, Two Dollar Radio Headquarters is the place of choice to hang out, sip some brew and find just the type of brilliant book that will change your life.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings. Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection documenting American printed cartoon art, to organize the materials and to provide access to these resources. You can benefit from this access by enjoying an afternoon exploring the collection.
Hemingway’s Coffee Nook
Tucked into the lower floor of the 175 on the Park building next to the Columbus Commons, the self-styled 1920’s Parisian style cafe is a throwback to the early 20th century neighborhood café, where literary types would hang out to sip coffee and discuss politics, literature and philosophy. Bring a book and enjoy the view, overlooking one of Columbus’ most active green spaces.
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