the last bookstore

*the* bookstore of LA

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.

the details

Address453 S Spring St, Los Angeles 
Hours11am – 8pm every day
Price$$ – pretty much as you’d expect from an independent book store
Aestheticold library vibes mixed with a tinge of used bookstore aesthetic

good to know

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: 

  • If you come with a backpack or larger bag, be prepared to check it in at the entrance.
  • There is a buy counter that has different hours from the rest of the store (call ahead if you have books to sell).
  • New books (and curated book bundles) are available online, but you have to go in-person to peruse the used and collectible book collection.

Last visited: March 2019

Last updated: December 2020

while you're here