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.
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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
Created by Minnesota author Louise Erdrich (The Birchbark House), Birchbark Books specializes in books about indigenous people and Native culture, 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.
214 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
This Northeast neighborhood bookstore 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
This store has a trade-in program for used books, making it a good bet for last year’s best sellers and fun fiction. Be sure to check their Trade-In page before visiting, you may not be able to trade that former favorite children’s book.
3038 Hennepin Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN 55408
If the Red Balloon is Gianna’s magical place, Magers & Quinn in Uptown Minneapolis 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
A small, but well-curated book store always has something perfect for both kids and adults. Geek Love Café has is currently closed, but we hope to see it reopen in 2023. We also hope to see story times return.
2720 West 43rd Street, Minneapolis, MN, 55410
Wild Rumpus is the rogue bookstore of the bunch — complete with pet rats and chinchillas (currently no chickens). 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
Formerly Common Good Books, the staff of this store 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 MN 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.
Find Local Children's Book Authors
Meet some of our favorite Minnesota children’s book authors in our BookHounds Author directory: We love our wonderful community of local children’s book authors in Minnesota. Minnesota kids books cover all types of books from fiction to nonfiction. There are books about penguins, books about the ocean and, of course, books about Minnesota. Whatever you
Independent Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 29th. Pick up a passport at participating bookstores. Then see how many stamps you can get. There will be fun activities and author readings at many of the bookstores. Find all the details at Rain Taxi.
- Babycake’s Book Stack
- Birchbark Books
- Black Garnet Books
- Boneshaker Books
- Chapter 2 Books
- Comma, a bookshop
- Cream & Amber
- DreamHaven Books & Comics
- Excelsior Bay Books
- Lake Country Booksellers
- Magers & Quinn Booksellers
- May Day Books
- Milkweed Books
- Moon Palace Books
- Next Chapter Booksellers
- Paperback Exchange
- Red Balloon Bookshop
- Subtext Books
- The Thinking Spot
- Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction Bookstore & Uncle Edgar’s Mystery Bookstore
- Valley Bookseller
- Wild Rumpus
Map: Twin Cities Kid-Friendly Indie Bookstores
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.
We understand that sometimes it is just easier to go to Amazon for our book needs. If you do, we appreciate you using our affiliate link so we can earn a small commission and keep our site free.