The Twin Cities area is home to several wonderful independent bookstores and, although they are not exactly a place to let your children run unchecked, they can be a low pressure, quiet outing when you would prefer to be indoors. We all know the national bookstores, and they are definitely good places to take kids, but this is a list of some independently-owned stores to check out. Some — like Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus — specialize in kids books. Others have a more expanded catalog.
The experience of these bookstores can’t be matched online or by the national chains. They are cozy, homey book spaces waiting to help you find your next book! Many of these books offer story hours. Find them here: Top Kids Storytimes in the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis Independent Bookstores
2115 West 21st Street, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Birchbark Books specializes in books about indigenous people, including children’s resources spanning from early grades to high school. They also host various events throughout the year. Watch our calendar for family friendly events.
2002 23rd Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55404
Boneshaker Books has been on my radar for awhile, signaled by the respectable fact that it is 100% volunteer-run. Near and dear to its heart is a mission to connect and educate readers with social justice issues.
214 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
Considering this store is in my own neighborhood, it took me altogether too long to get there. It has a very friendly staff. The kids area is tucked in a back corner and kind of feels like a hidden space because you have to wind through stacks of books to find it. This store carries mostly used and rare books, so it is a nice place to discover books you have forgotten from your own childhood that you could now share with your kids.
5163 Bloomington Ave S., Minneapolis MN, 55417
We have not had a chance to get to this store yet, but the newsletters are exciting. The Irreverent Bookworm will be trading store credit for used books, which means they will likely also have a nice selection of used and vintage books to buy. I can’t wait for a chance to visit.
3038 Hennepin Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
If the Red Balloon is Gianna’s magical place, Magers & Quinn is mine. Although it only opened a couple years before I moved to Minnesota, it felt like it had been there forever. It was my favorite place to hide out. The smell and feel of shelves and tables of full of old books just relaxed me. I don’t think of it as a kid’s bookstore, but it does have a nice-sized children’s section, and there are always surprises to be found.
3032 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
I believe that Moon Palace is the only store on this list with a cafe – serving specialty pizzas, salads and even breakfast – so you could plan an outing around mealtime for a treat.
2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55410
Wild Rumpus is the rogue bookstore of the bunch — complete with chickens and chinchillas. The store is staffed with fun people who can make personal recommendations for books, have personal opinions of authors who are visiting (not just the standard press release stuff), and a tiny kid-size door that is just too tempting to not enter. On the downside, their event calendar upkeep often last minute, so it is hard to plan for author events. We highly recommend joining their email list if this is a store you would like to visit often.
Saint Paul Independent Bookstores
38 Snelling Ave S, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55105
The staff at Common Good is incredibly friendly and they were really great about me ducking in with my four kids when we found ourselves with several hours to kill in St. Paul on a cold evening after everything else in my arsenal had closed. I will be forever grateful to them for that.
891 Grand Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105
Red Balloon Bookshop is an FFTC favorite. The Red Balloon offers the most author visits of all the stores and the most options for story hours. It is a bright roomy space, whereas most independent bookstores I’ve visited are more cluttered and dimly lit (a good thing in my introverted world). When visiting with kids in tow, the bright roomy space may feel easier to take on.
Twin Cities Metro Bookstores
36 Water Street, Excelsior 55331
If you don’t want to deal with city traffic and parking, this is an indie bookseller not in the heart of Minneapolis or St Paul but on a sweet shopping street in downtown Excelsior only a block from Lake Minnetonka.
3311 County Road 101, Suite #4, Wayzata, MN 55391
This bookstore is specially curated with science-themed books for both kids and adults. Visitors are encouraged to lounge and read and to meet and discuss. They also offer events and talks by scientists, engineers, makers and thinkers. Sign up for a FREE Pioneer membership to get a newsletter with events or a little more for an Explorer membership, which includes access to in-store games.
Online Shopping Options
These two book shopping options support Family Fun Twin Cities and helps us to keep our website running and free to families:
We now have a great way to shop online, support your favorite independent book store and support Family Fun Twin Cities. Bookshop.org is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. Family Fun Twin Cities also receives a small commission on books ordered through our link. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, find them on this map and they’ll receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Learn more here.
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