Best independent bookstores in Minneapolis and St. Paul Twin Cities Minnesota book quote

Do you visit local bookstores when you travel? We do. And it’s a great way to support the local communities. Last year my husband and I observed National Independent Bookstore Day in the Twin Cities. We toured many of the best indie bookstores in the Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota metro area. This national day typically happens the last Saturday in April every year.

Indie Bookstore Day chalk drawing Minneapolis St. Paul Minnesota

This year’s Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 27, 2024.

If you’re a traveler who loves to read, check out my book review series.


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Passport to the Twin Cities Independent Bookstores Tour

Cream & Amber cafe, bar, independent bookstore in Hopkins, MN Twin Cities

We picked up our Twin Cities Independent Bookstores Passport and picked up some great book gems at a variety of bookstores. Many of the same bookstores are participating again this year on April 27, 2024. Pictured: Our passport, a couple of book purchases and pints. This picture was taken at Hopkins’ Cream & Amber – a cafe, bar, and bookstore all in one.

Collect 15 stamps on your indie bookstore tour passport to activate all store coupons (valid May 1-Aug. 31). Collect all 28 stamps and you can enter to win a grand literary prize package. Rain Taxi’s Twin Cities Literary Calendar publishes the passport. And you can pick one up at any of the participating indie bookstores (list published on their website and below).

If you’re unable to participate in the Twin Cities Independent Bookstores Tour, you can still support the local small businesses. This article highlights all of the best indie bookstores in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. So you can visit your favorite bookstores in the Twin Cities throughout the year.

List of the best indie and local bookstores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota metro area

Best independent bookstores in Minnesota Twin Cities metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul

Here is a list of the best indie and local bookstores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Many are participating in this year’s Twin Cities Independent Bookstores Tour (marked with an *).

  • Babycake’s Book Stack, St. Paul*
  • Big Hill Books, Minneapolis*
  • Birchbark Books & Native Arts, Minneapolis*
  • Black Garnet Books, St. Paul*
  • Boneshaker Books, Minneapolis*
  • Chapter One Books, Victoria, Minnesota*
  • Chapter 2 Books, Hudson, Wisconsin*
  • Comma, a bookshop, Minneapolis*
  • Cream & Amber, Hopkins, Minnesota*
  • DreamHaven Books & Comics, Minneapolis*
  • Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minnesota*
  • Lake Country Booksellers, White Bear Lake, Minnesota*
  • Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis*
  • May Day Books, Minneapolis*
  • Milkweed Books, Minneapolis*
  • Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis*
  • Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul*
  • Once Upon A Crime, Minneapolis*
  • Paperback Exchange, Minneapolis*
  • Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul*
  • Strive Bookstore, Minneapolis*
  • Subtext Books, St. Paul*
  • The Thinking Spot, Wayzata, Minnesota*
  • Tropes & Trifles, Minneapolis*
  • Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction and Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore, Minneapolis*
  • The Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minnesota*
  • The Vintage Storyteller, Maple Plain, Minnesota*
  • Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis*

Where can I find the best independent bookstores in the Twin Cities?

The Twin Cities metro area – Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN – offers the best independent bookstores. Shop small! Shop locally!

Babycake’s Book Stack, St. Paul

Babycake's Book Stack bookmobile independent bookstore in St. Paul, Minnesota Twin Cities

Catering to children’s books, Babycake’s Book Stack, is nomadic. So check their website for their bookmobile location and operating hours.

Big Hill Books, Minneapolis

One of the newer indie bookstores in the Twin Cities, Big Hill Books is a general interest bookstore. They are located at 405 Penn Ave South, Minneapolis.

Birchbark Books & Native Arts, Minneapolis

A Native-owned independent bookstore, Birchbark Books is a teaching bookstore with special displays. Birchbark Books is located at 2115 West 21st Street, Minneapolis.

Black Garnet Books, St. Paul


You can find Black Garnet Books at 1319 University Ave., West, St. Paul. They showcase literature by authors of color.

Boneshaker Books, Minneapolis

Boneshaker Books independent bookstore in Minneapolis Twin Cities Minnesota

Love the name, look, and vibe of Boneshaker Books. They describe themselves as a radical bookstore. Boneshaker Books is located at 2002 23rd Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Chapter One Books, Victoria, Minnesota

Located on the far western Twin Cities metro area, Chapter One Books’ address is 7924 Victoria Drive in Victoria, Minnesota.

Chapter2Books, Hudson, Wisconsin

Take a short drive across the river to get to this indie bookstore. Chapter2Books is located at 226 Locust Street, Hudson, Wisconsin.

Comma, a bookshop, Minneapolis

Comma, a bookshop in St. Paul, Minnesota independent bookstores in Twin Cities

So many creative names for these independent bookstores. Comma, a bookshop, is located at 4250 Upton Avenue South in Minneapolis.

Cream & Amber, Hopkins, Minnesota

Cream & Amber cafe, bar, independent bookstore in Hopkins, MN Twin Cities

A bookstore with beer – what a perfect pairing! This was our last stop on our Independent Book Store Passport Tour. Cream & Amber offers a small café where you can order hot sandwiches, baked goods, and beer or wine. This unique indie bookstore is located at 1605 Mainstreet, Hopkins, Minnesota.

DreamHaven Books & Comics, Minneapolis

This independent bookstore features new and used science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and media books, comics, and graphic novels. DreamHaven Books & Comics is located at 2301 E. 38th Street In Minneapolis.

Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minnesota

Excelsior Bay Books independent bookstore Twin Cities Minnesota

Set in a charming downtown area, Excelsior Bay Books is located at 36 Water Street in Excelsior, Minnesota.

Excelsior Bay Books independent bookstore Twin Cities Minnesota

Lake Country Booksellers, White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Lake County Booksellers independent bookstore in White Bear Lake Minnesota Twin Cities

Another charming downtown location for an independent bookstore in the Twin Cities. Lake Country Booksellers is located at 4766 Washington Square, White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis

Magers & Quinn Booksellers independent bookstore in Minneapolis Twin Cities

Located in trendy Uptown, Magers & Quinn Booksellers is a popular independent bookstore. They are located at 3038 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis.

May Day Books, Minneapolis

This small independent bookstore is located at 301 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. May Day Books is considered a progressive educational space.

Milkweed Books, Minneapolis

This indie bookstore is located on the first floor of Open Books, the largest literary arts center in the U.S. Milkweed Books’ address is 1011 Washington Avenue South in Minneapolis.

Moon Palace Books, Minneapolis

Moon Place Books independent bookstore in Minneapolis Twin Cities

One of my favorite independent bookstores, the colorful Moon Palace Books is located at 3032 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis.

Next Chapter Booksellers, St. Paul


An independent bookstore in St. Paul, Next Chapter Booksellers is located at 38 Snelling Avenue South.

Once Upon A Crime, Minneapoliso

Once Upon a Crime mystery bookshop independent bookstore in St. Paul, Minnesota - Twin Cities

One of my favorite names for a bookstore. The indie Once Upon A Crime mystery fiction bookstore is located at 604 West 26th Street in Minneapolis.

Paperback Exchange, Minneapolis

Established nearly 50 years ago, the Paperback Exchange’s inventory includes more than 150,000 books in every genre. This independent bookstore is located at 2227 West 50th Street in Minneapolis.

Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul

The Red Balloon Bookshop independent bookstore in St. Paul, Minnesota Twin Cities

The Red Balloon Bookshop caters to infants to adults with weekly storytime events. This fun and magical independent bookstore is located at 891 Grand Avenue in St. Paul.  

Strive Bookstore, Minneapolis

This independent bookstore was created to offer culturally relevant children’s books and center on representing Black authors. Strive Bookstore is located at 901 Nicollet Mall.

Subtext Bookstore, St. Paul

Subtext independent bookstore in St. Paul, Minnesota

Set in downtown St. Paul, Subtext Bookstore is located at 6 W. 5th Street. Love all the inspiring quotes and seating areas at this indie bookstore.

The Thinking Spot, Wayzata, Minnesota

If you love science, then The Thinking Spot is your kind of bookstore. This independent bookstore and community gathering place is located at 3311 County Road 101, Suite 4, in Wayzata, Minnesota.

Tropes & Trifles, Minneapolis

Specializing in romance, Tropes & Trifles bookstore is located at 2709 E. 38th Street in Minneapolis.

Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction and Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore, Minneapolis

Uncle Hugo's and Uncle Edgar's independent bookstore in Minneapolis

You’re going to love these two uncles if you’re a fan of science fiction and mysteries. Founded in 1974, Uncle Hugo’s is the oldest independent science fiction bookstore in the U.S. How cool is that? The younger Uncle Edgar opened in 1980 and offers the largest collection of mystery books in the Twin Cities. You can find these two bookstores at 2716 E. 31st Street in Minneapolis.

The Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minnesota

In the charming town of Stillwater, Minnesota you’ll find The Valley Bookseller. This independent bookstore is located at 217 Main Street North.

The Vintage Storyteller, Maple Plain, Minnesota

Books and curios are what you’ll find at The Vintage Storyteller. This indie bookstore and art supplier is located at 5260 Highway 12 in Maple Plain, Minnesota.

Wild Rumpus Books, Minneapolis

A haven for young readers, Wild Rumpus Books is located at 2720 West 43rd Street in Minneapolis.


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The top 25+ independent bookstores in the Twin Cities, Minnesota - Minneapolis and St. Paul

The top 25+ independent bookstores in the Twin Cities, Minnesota - Minneapolis and St. Paul

Author

Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller

30 comments

  1. Wow, so many bookstores. A real paradise. I totally get the first sign, it’s hard to put your book down when the story is so captivating.

  2. Wow! That’s incredible how many indie bookstores are in the Twin Cities! I’m a sucker for bookstores even while traveling. I’ll definitely be checking out some of these next time we are in the area.

  3. Kudos to the Twin City independent bookstores. They are so creative at keeping their businesses attracting readers.

  4. I love posts like this… supporting local small businesses when I am a new place is important to me… and to pick up books is an added bonus

  5. I’m not from the USA, however it’s great to see bookstores coming together and provide incentives for people to keep reading actual books. Thanks also for the book review lists.

  6. Big fan of indie book stores! While I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Twin Cities yet – this will for sure be on my list when I do! There is just something magical about indie bookstores that you don’t find elsewhere.

  7. These book stores are so cool! I love that you have a passport to visit all the different stores – I have a similar one but for national parks. I’m glad to see so many bookstores thriving. Hopefully they have all been free from the book banning that is happening across the country. smh.

    1. That’s what I love about independent bookstores. They embrace all books and oppose book banning from my experience. These are super cool indie bookstores.

  8. such a cool idea- I love supporting small businesses whenever I am in a new city, and shopping ay a bookstore hadn’t occurred to me before… I’m going to start doing that.. I hope you replicate this post for other cities.

    1. Awesome! That’s a great idea to share more of the best independent bookstores where I travel in other cities.

  9. I love to read. Finding new and interesting book stores when I travel is always fun to me! I usually come home with a few new books 🙂

  10. Although I am far from the Twin Cities – I would *love* to visit many of these Indie bookstores!!

    It looks as though business is strong in your area, and hooray for the local community for supporting local businesses this way!! I was expecting to see 2 or 3 bookstores you profiled, and was surprised and thrilled to see so many on your list.

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