The Last Bookstore is a lot more than a bookstore. It’s a Los Angeles institution. To begin with, it’s big. The downtown location feels almost overwhelming when you step in, immersing its visitors in a library-like atmosphere that smells like books and feels historic (no, seriously, they have columns holding up the cavernous space). Despite its size, it feels almost claustrophobic in parts: there are books stacked up and around you everywhere you look. The books are not just the product, but a part of the structural architecture of the space. It’s dim enough to feel a little mysterious, like a well-traveled grandparent’s attic. It’s maze-like enough to feel intimate and cozy: it’s not hard to find a corner to yourself, even though the place is generally teeming with wide eyed book lovers armed with smartphone cameras (and, often enough, fancier DSLRs & film cameras).
At the end of the day, The Last Bookstore is just a really cool and big bookstore (the biggest of its kind in California). They sell (and buy and trade) new books, used and collectible books and records. There’s an annex dedicated to arts and rare books. Upstairs the mezzanine level is aptly called the labyrinth, featuring the classic photo ops (you’ll know when you see it) and galleries and shops for more quirky artsy stuff. It’s easy to get lost in a book in here, but probably more fun to just get lost in the store itself. And in this day and age, it’s truly a gem worth coveting.
Go here for: any of your book needs, and of course the obligatory photos
Order this: the art and rare books annex for true book lovers
Amount of time to spend: give yourself at least 30 minutes or so to wander around
When to come: any time is a good time, definitely more of a weekend destination
Parking: is never fun in this part of DTLA. If you want to try for a meter, your best bet would probably be on Main (though you can also try Spring and 5th if you’re feeling lucky). Otherwise just suck it up and park in a lot or structure, most of them aren’t exorbitant.
Other things to note:
Last visited: March 2019
Last updated: December 2020