A unique bookstore that's full of surprises
There are many wonderful surprises inside the Center for Architecture, the home of the Philly chapter of the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”). First is the AIA Bookstore, easily one of the best stores in all of Philadelphia. It stocks an incredible selection of art, architecture, and design books, but you’ll also find a fun and amazing array of creative toys, gifts and novelty items, men’s and women’s accessories and jewelry, picture frames, household items, and unique postcards and Philadelphia-themed items. But the biggest surprise to all who enter is that it also houses a neon museum with gloriously luminous vintage neon signs salvaged, restored and on loan from Philly local Len Davidson of Davidson Neon. Don’t miss the dripping faucet neon sign hidden in a corner of the store’s front window. Behind the store is a separate exhibition space that hosts rotating exhibits, the most recent of which displayed over 50 classic construction and building toys. Admission to the exhibitions is free. The AIA Bookstore is at the top of my list of Philly gems. I have to be dragged or thrown out of the store every time I visit because I find it impossible to leave!