Seattle is well-known for its many cafes and fine espresso, but it seems as if every coffeehouse you stumble upon is next to a bookshop. Whether your passion is poetry, thrillers or rare and out-of-print editions of classic works, you'll find what you want and more with this guide to the pages of downtown Seattle and Pioneer Square.
It isn't often that the library is considered one of the coolest joints in town, but Seattle's downtown library is such an architectural wonder that it is one of the city's highlights. When the building opened in 2004, its design created a rift among many locals, who either loved it or hated it. Indeed, there wasn't much of a middle ground with this giant glass cube and its diamond-patterned steel girders and strange angles. Regardless of your reaction to architect Rem Koolhaas's design, you can't help but notice that in a town known for its gray skies, this library abounds with natural light. There are also colorful spongy chairs, floors of bamboo and brushed metal, carpets printed to look like plants, and a garden designed to meld with the carpets. On the first and third Monday of each month, from noon to 1pm, you can catch "Thrilling Tales! A Storytime for Adults," a program of lunchtime readings aimed not at kids, as is usually the case, but at adults. Oh, and if you need to use the Internet, this place has hundreds of computer terminals, too.
- (206) 587-5737
- visit website
- 117 Cherry Street in Pioneer Square
No romance novels here - this is the place for fans of whodunits, true crimes, thrillers and anything else that puts you in the detective's shoes. Search the shelves for an autographed copy of your favorite mystery.© Michelle Schusterman
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Our Local Expert Says:
The Library Bar is a beautiful spot for a martini, filled with books, deep velvet booths and dark wood paneling, check out the collection of books over the bar which includes the Complete Guide to Mental Retardation. It's within walking distance of Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, downtown shopping and the Monorail.
Want to read while you eat? Introduce yourself to books and good food at the Library Bistro. Contemporary American food and a bookstore contribute to the comfortable feel at this restaurant. High backed booths, ten-foot high bookcases, and oiled oak floors will take you back to the 1940's. The drinks list consists of literary-named cocktails and an extensive wine list. The Bookstore Bar features a wide variety of microbrews, imports, wines from the Northwest, and coffee. You can actually buy the books of your choice as you wait for your order to arrive. Visit this place on a beautiful summer day and avail of the outdoor seating.