Favourite Bookish Places: Adelaide CBD

Unsurprisingly I love visiting bookish places. Book stores, cafes, libraries. There is nothing better than getting lost in them and retreating from the real world for a bit. I have so many favourite bookish places around Adelaide, where I currently live, and wanted to share them with you. If you are a local, you can visit them. If you aren’t, then maybe you should come visit. Because there are so many I thought it would be easiest to split them in to two categories. Those located within the CBD of Adelaide and those in the surrounding suburbs. I’ll start with the CBD locations.


The State Library, Mortlock Wing

If we are talking bookish places in the CBD you can’t go past the State Library. The State Library was in the works from 1834, even before settlement occurred here in Adelaide. The Mortlock Wing in particular is a highlight, with a mid Victorian interior, it looks and feels like something straight out of Harry Potter. These days it also houses some interesting historical collections about South Australia and is widely acknowledged to be one of the worlds most beautiful libraries. An amazing place to visit, if only to walk around appreciating the simple beauty of the room.

Dymocks, Rundle Mall

I love nothing better than perusing the Dymocks store overtime I go in to Rundle Mall. The store is two stories of bookish goodness. The shelves are widely spaced, all the better for seeing the beautiful covers (which of course, you judge). There are always plenty of staff, who are lovely and ready to help. Not to mention a wide range of categories. I love that their top 101, bestsellers and recommended picks are conveniently located downstairs as you walk in. To be honest I struggle to walk out of these without at least one book. Thank god for the rewards system that makes me feel less guilty about spending too much money there.

Booknook and Bean, Topham Mall

This awesome little cafe is within Topham Mall, which located between Grenfell Street and Weymouth Street. They can fulfil all your cafe needs. Coffee, tea, delicious pastry treats, you name it. Added to that they had a wall of second hand books there for purchase. The best part about it? The money spent on these second hand books goes directly in to Kiva projects. Kiva is an international nonprofit organisation where you can lend funds out to people in need all over the world, who just need a hand getting started. 100% of the money goes directly to these loans and can mean the world to those it helps. If that isn’t a great reason to buy books, I don’t know what is!

New Morning Books, Frome Street

This second-hand bookstore is a little slice of heaven I came across when it was located in Unley. Everything you would imagine a second-hand book store is. Multitudes of books (probably more than I could read in a lifetime) piled in front of each other, on top of each other, wherever they will fit. You need to search for your books, earn them before you take them home. It is always an adventure coming in to this store and I have walked away with many gems for next to nothing. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Messenger by Markus Zusak, And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini, The Road by Cormac McCarthy are just a few. In fact rediscovering it once it moved was fate when I stumbled across it in the city one day. The owner is straight out of a literary description: friendly, eccentric and clearly has a real passion for books. He always has something to add about your most recent purchases. A quirky little pace full of character.

Botanic Gardens, North Terrace

Although not technically bookish, the Botanic Gardens on the edge of the CBD are a great place to spend some time in, especially with books. There are so many benches, hidden pathways, comfy places to settle in with a book. In warmer weather bring a blanket, a picnic and a good book and enjoy. Even in winter there is the Bicentennial Conservatory, Palm House and the Waterlily Pavilion, all nice and toasty and peaceful for a spot of reading. The lush gardens and beautiful landscape also provides some pretty back grounds for bookish photos (see below for a small slice of that).


Got any great places in the CBD I’ve missed? Let me know. I live for new discoveries and treasure troves.


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