Lassie. Clifford. Toto. Classic literature is simply rife with ruffs. Books have the power to transport you to another place and time, so why not bring your dog along? After all, if your pup had the choice between browsing the vibrant aisles of a bookstore or scrolling through Amazon from the couch, you know she’d choose the real deal. So get out to these dog-friendly Chicago bookstores and treat yourselves to a lovely afternoon of filling your snouts with “new book smell.”
Note: COVID protocols are ever-changing, so be sure to give these shops a howl before your pup just barges in like she owns the place!
1. 57th Street Books
57th Street Books offers a significant selection of general interest titles and is dog-friendly inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “This is probably my favorite bookstore in Hyde Park. The collection is large and varied and the staff are very well informed. I also like the structure, with cozy rooms and reading corners tucked away everywhere. The children’s section is great, and I also love the staff recommendations posted throughout the store.”
2. After-Words Bookstore
After-Words Bookstore offers new and used books for book lovers of all ages and walks of life. Leashed pups are welcome inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Knowledgeable owner, new and used books intermixed, great selection. Looks like they have signed and rare books as well. So lucky to have an indie bookstore tucked away in the neighborhood.”
Bookie’s offers new and used books in a wide variety of genres. Pups are welcome!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Awesome independent bookstore. Can find new and gently used books. I could spend hours perusing the books and it would seem like a few moments. Staff ready to help and can order whatever they do not have. A true neighborhood gem.”
4. Madison Street Books
Newly-opened Madison Street Books strives to be not only a retailer, but a community hub where all book enthusiasts (fluffy or otherwise) can come together to talk about what they love most. And if you’re in the business of givin’ books to human puppies, the kids’ section here is not to be missed.
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “The owner was very helpful in directing me to their cocktail/drinks section and offered up suggestions. I then found some essential of cooking and Chicago-based books to add to my own collection. They can get anything you’re looking for in a couple of days. And dog-friendly too! Support your local bookseller!”
5. Myopic Books
With three levels and tens of thousands of used books—not to mention occasional events—Myopic Books has something for just about every human and their pups.
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Very cool used bookstore! I browsed for an hour and was impressed by the amount of books and how great the quality was. They had several large art and architecture books for very fair prices. A must-see for fellow bookworms!”
6. Pilsen Community Books
Pilsen Community Books is a community-oriented bookstore that works to provide literacy services to the Pilsen area. Well-behaved pups are welcome inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “This is an awesome spot! This makes shopping for books enjoyable. The size is a perfect balance of small shop meets nice size inventory. Everyone is friendly and very knowledgeable of all the books they carry. There’s little room to sit and read but you can easily walk to the many nearby shops and restaurants with your book!”
7. Powell’s Books Chicago
Powell’s Books Chicago is a used bookstore which is best known for academic and scholarly books, and also offers general interest titles. Pups are welcome inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Only the best bookstore in the country. No joke. I’ve moved away and return each time I visit. Wonderful selection and prices, plus a truly organic browsing experience—stand on a ladder with a coffee from a shop down the street and flip through interesting books you didn’t know existed.”
Quimby’s offers unique and unusual books, comics, and more in a dog-friendly environment.
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “This is an old school independent book store. The selection is entirely unique. I found things I didn’t know existed and needed to have. I will be back!”
9. Ravenswood Used Books
Ravenswood Used Books sells unique and interesting used books, and welcomes pups inside.
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “This place is awesome. Floor to ceiling covered in books—and I mean literally! It really makes you feel like you’re in Wonderland.”
Roscoebooks is an independent bookstore featuring unique reads and top-notch recommendations. Leashed pups are welcome inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “A unique local spot, RoscoeBooks is definitely worth visit if you’re in the area. The staff is very friendly and super knowledgeable. Their book recommendations are on point!”
11. Semicolon Bookstore
Semicolon Bookstore is known for its wide selection of books, art, and community involvement! Well-behaved dogs are welcome inside and will be greeted by their precious shop pup, Semi!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Our new favorite bookstore! Semicolon is owned by a very courteous and friendly black female, and in a lovely space adorned with murals on the walls.”
12. Unabridged Bookstore
Unabridged Bookstore is known for its sales, extensive children’s section, and extensive selection of LGBTQ literature. Well-behaved, leashed pups are welcome inside!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Unabridged Bookstore is a fabulous treasure trove of books nestled on Broadway in East Lakeview. When I lived around the corner, I must have stopped in two to four times per week… did I mention I have a very darling dog, and Unabridged passes out dog treats?”
13. Uncharted Books
Unique and cozy, Uncharted is known for its focus on “the literary, the local, the strange, and the adventurous.” Leashed pups’ll enjoy the sci-fi selection, for sure!
A paw-sitive review excerpt: “Books, dogs, and kind employees that are super knowledgeable, I don’t think a bookstore could be any more perfect.”
So get going, you bookworms! There are billions of pages waiting for you to read them, and TONS of cozy spots waiting for you to sprawl out with your fluffer.
Which of these Chicago bookstores is your pup’s favorite? Woof at us in the comments and don’t furget to tag #SidewalkDog in all her literary adventures.
Featured photo: Samson Katt
Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, and join our Dog-Friendly Chicago Facebook Group.