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Seeing the world through its Bookstores & Coffee Shops

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I'd rather go to a bookstore or local cafe than a museum or famous monument.
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9 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
$$$$
Joe Coffee is a great go-to coffee shop where the product is excellent, and—wait for it—the service isn't snooty! The company prides itself on hospitality, is family-owned, and provides a well needed dose of caffeine after a long day wandering...
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3321 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105, USA
My husband and I love to read, so anytime we visit a city, we have to check out their local bookstores. Book lovers won't regret stopping at Chaucer's Bookstore. Particularly if you love reading non-fiction- Chaucer's has a great selection of a...
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3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, USA
$$$$
Portola Coffee Lab takes making a cup of coffee to a new level. But you don't have to take my word for it—it was recently voted the best coffee in Orange County by the OC Weekly. If you're interested in the artistry involved in roasting and...
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1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
An iconic name in Portland retail—as well as among readers who have never been to the city—Powell’s has multiple locations on both sides of the Willamette. The downtown store remains the one best suited for visitors to explore,...
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923 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Right around the corner from Powell's Bookstore and Sizzle Pie, the vibe here is fantastic. The walls are kind of spartan, there’s a record player in the corner, and you can roam on free Internet to your heart’s content. These guys definitely know...
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172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
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Go for the scene, not the food, and enjoy the Art Deco décor and great people-watching at this buzzy Left Bank landmark. Despite a limited menu and steep prices, the place is packed day and night. Order a chocolat chaud and sit on the...
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19 High St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Unity is what all bookstores should be: a good collection of global newspapers by the door, a room stacked to the gills with curated books and magazines, and an extremely well-read staff. Three people is a crowd here; 30 is a very civilized riot....
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150 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
$$$$
One of my favorite coffee places in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is Bakeri. Well, it is not a spelling mistake. This is the name of the an artisanal bakery in the neighborhood, with a French feel in it.
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No. 13號, Alley 40, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
A bookshop-cafe-gallery-zakka store, VVG Something packs a lot into a space the size of a closet. Part of the budding VVG lifestyle mini-empire of restaurants and boutiques, it's the perfect spot for browsing on a rainy afternoon. Among recent...
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Among the hundreds of new cafés catering to the booming market for caffeine in Shanghai, Café Aroom, hidden down a residential alley, is a local secret. Ring the doorbell to enter a space filled with vintage cameras, antique kitchen tools, and...
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479 Broadview Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 2N4, Canada
It's one of the most beautifully decorated places in the city. It's away from the tourist fray in the East End, but if you're lucky to have your cuppa here, you'll be rewarded with a sweeping view of the skyline from Riverdale Park. This is a...
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3049 20th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
$$$$
A yam sandwich? Yes. I was skeptical too, but now I’m hooked. On certain days, it’s impossible deciding if I’m in the mood for a sweet, sour or savory meal. Even more difficult is deciding whether I’m craving the comfort of something warm- perfect...
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1078 West Queen Street, Toronto, ON M6J 1H8, Canada
this longstanding little locals spot is one I've been to before and forgot about some time ago. Don't know why. Rediscovered it again this past week and still love the vibe and the unique drink they specialize in. I promise to not be a stranger. A...
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Kärntner Ring 17, 1010 Wien, Austria
When it’s December, cold and raw in Vienna, and you’ve been wandering the streets (perhaps a bit lost in search of say, Hotel Sacher), and you pass by Café Schwarzenberg for the second time—it’s a sign that you should go in and take the chill off....
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6439 California St, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA
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I had driven by Tal-y-Tara many times taking notice of the horse statue out front and knowing I would have to stop there for tea one day. By now I have been there multiple times. They have an extensive and wonderful tea list to please ever tea...
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3940 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
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They do their own blend of beans called Elbow Grease, and it’s high-octane stuff. 4033 Judah St., troublecoffee.com. This story appeared in the January/February 2012 issue.
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Jl. Raya Tebongkang, Singakerta, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia
If you're a caffeine freak get ready for some seriously salacious coffee when visiting Ubud. Green School student parent and local entrepreneur, Asher Yaron (he has a coffee bar at the school palapa while you're waiting for your tour) decided to...
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Grüners gate 1, 0552 Oslo, Norway
Tim Wendelboe is a micro roastery in a happenin' little neighborhood in Oslo called Grünerløkka. It's a cozy place with only a few chairs, but you can order and stand at the bar or take a cup to go as you stroll the streets. You won't find sugary...
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1218 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
$$$$
The AIA Bookstore, one of the most unique shops in the city, holds a million surprises. It stocks a vast selection of art, architecture, and design books, but also offers an amazing array of fun and creative toys, gifts, and novelty items, as well...
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3350 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408, USA
$$$$
Bull Run Roasting is a locally owned, Minneapolis-based coffee roasting company and bar. This place boasts a casual yet charming atmosphere and crafts the perfect cappuccino. I drink my coffee simply—black, no cream, no sugar. But, when it comes...
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San Miguel, La Paz, Bolivia
Okay, so it's hard to find a bad cup of coffee in Bolivia. But if you're in the San Miguel area of La Paz, you can check out the Roaster Boutique. Not only can you get a cup of coffee and a slice of cheesecake, but you can also sign up for classes...
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601 Vallejo St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
$$$$
Caffe Trieste is hardly a "hidden gem" some may even say it's a tourist trap, but considering the amount of locals that came in, and I'm not talking about young hipsters only, it's worth ambling in. Moody, atmospheric, original. Sit upfront by the...
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Av. Santa Fe 1860, C1124 CABA, Argentina
Buenos Aires is a city of readers—it supports more bookstores per capita than any other place in the world. The crown jewel of the librerías here is the Ateneo Grand Splendid. Housed in a theater where music legends such as Carlos...
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8818 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069, USA
It’s easy to miss the discreet sign for “Book Soup” after passing the more obvious marquees for Sunset Strip’s famous nightlife and entertainment destinations. This cozy, out-of-place bookshop feels endless as it lures you in and slows down time...
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8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, UK
Over the past two centuries, the covered market at Borough, not far from London Bridge, has become one of the country’s most famous foodie spots. From Wednesday to Saturday each week hundreds of traders gather to sell homemade breads,...
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6 Amagertorv København K, 1160 København, Denmark
The rainy or cold weather can make walking down the famous Strøget in Copenhagen, Denmark in the off-season a little tiring. There's a little bit of magic just off the main walking street in the form of the Royal Cafe. The high pink walls and...
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29-3 Sarugakuchō, 渋谷区 Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0033, Japan
$$$$
My wife’s favorite coffee shop in Daikanyama has an open terrace that’s perfect for people-watching. The space was inspired by 18th-century Italian cafés. —Kashiwa Sato 29-3 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, 81/(0) 3-3770-9517. This appeared in the...
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Tempt fate at the Monkey Paw’s Book-O-Matic machine, where for the price of a toonie you’ll be delivered an archaic tome in the vein of Elementary Arabic, Vol. 3. I’ll let you know how my studying gets on. The Monkey’s Paw...
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35 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V 2P2, Canada
These guys know coffee and they do it right. The space is Scandinavian minimalist minus the ginormous mural of a hammer-wielding Thor. In addition to your espresso, there's a number of paninis and delightful desserts that change on a regular...
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801 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
$$$$
When thinking of coffee shops in Los Angeles, Intelligentsia likely comes to mind. While they have the corners of creativity covered on opposite sides of town (Venice and Silverlake), Coffee Commissary, in the new 801 North complex on Fairfax...
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1100-139 Alfama, Portugal
Walking throughout Lisbon one is struck by the well known 'blue hues' decorating the city with the exquisite tilework. They are indeed lovely in tone and vary in color temperature. Important to note is the welcoming yellow hue that has gained...
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111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 Paris, France
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It isn't uncommon to see large tour buses idling in front of Merci, one of the city's most popular home and design shops, as visitors alight, armed with canvas shopping totes and credit cards at the ready. The store's philanthropic mission brings...
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Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
While living in Seoul, exploring was something I would often do. I would ride the subways and pick a random stop, get off then walk as far as I could. In my opinion there is no better way to gather a sense of place in a foreign land. One area I...
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N Fillmore St, Arlington, VA 22201, USA
Artisan Confections is a chocolate shop in the nearby D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia. It sells quality crafted chocolates made on location. I enjoyed one of its delicious monthly classes with lessons on the background of chocolate and hands-on...
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5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
For 50 years, it has been growing in the basement of the seminary located at 5757 South University Avenue. Back in 1961, 17 book lovers each pitched in $10 a piece and founded The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. When you arrive, you won't think you're...
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84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW, UK
Daunt Books really is special. Even if you are not a big reader, it is well worth a visit because the space is so beautiful and filled with exceptionally well-chosen books. Daunt is the ultimate antidote to the Amazon generation and connects you...
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835 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
My favorite independent bookstore, located in Seaport Village, is Upstart Crow—a mix of eclectic nostalgia items amongst coffee drinks and stacks of books. Here is where you find peace amid the tourist busy bodies.
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828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, USA
$$$$
“18 Miles of Books” is the slogan at this nearly century-old Union Square bookshop—and it’s not hyperbole. The Strand’s warren of high-ceilinged rooms contains more than 2.5 million new and used titles, and browsing...
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1673 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
$$$$
Coffee lovers in San Francisco are a hard to please. We don't just want Blue Bottle on our way to work, we expect it. Keep your venti Starbucks to the suburbs, this city's coffee is serious. Stanza Coffee in the Haight, and now the Mission, brews...
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Calle de Cervantes, 10, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Obviously most of the books that you find in Spain are written in the Spanish language (a no brainer, I know) but you can find lots of English ones too. Libros is a chain bookstore, much like Barnes & Noble back in the USA, and they always have a...
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5931 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA
$$$$
This bohemian coffee shop is located in L.A.'s Franklin Village, a tiny line of restaurants and shops located on Franklin Ave. On the outside, it is camouflaged by the vine wrapped building, but on the inside it stands out from any other coffee...
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Lille Øvregaten 14, 5018 Bergen, Norway
This gorgeous place in the heart of Bergen was just begging to be an AFAR highlight. Board games, books, homemade cupcakes, vintage gramophones, folk indie music and disparate couches and tableware are precisely what makes this small café so...
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18, Komedieplaats, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
$$$$
Even if you aren't hungry, it's worth stopping for a drink at the stunningly beautiful De Foyer cafe in Antwerp. You'll feel like royalty under the magnificent dome of the the 19th century Bourla Theater . The stained-glass, rich velvet curtains...
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185 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
$$$$
This is what a coffee shop should be. Well crafted drinks that are swift, but not rushed. Plenty of seating for locals to chat, read, and caffeinate for the day. Because they offer soups it can get crowded at the lunch hour!
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211 Rue Bernard O, Montréal, QC H2T 2K5, Canada
Possibly the most important and influential publishers of graphic novels in the last 20 years, Drawn & Quarterly has a must-visit shop in the cool Mile End neighborhood. It sells work from the extensive D&Q catalog (which includes Joe...
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180 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montréal, QC H2T 2L4, Canada
Formerly a members-only spot, this is now the place where old Italians and young hipsters meet for expertly pulled espressos and a seat in a sunlit window.
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621 W 6th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
$$$$
This morning I headed to Kaladi Brothers Coffee. A 20-ounce latte with four shots of espresso? Yes, please! It was amazing and should keep me awake for the next 36 hours. The young ladies working there are all extremely friendly, just like...
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90 Railroad Ave, Danville, CA 94526, USA
$$$$
This little coffeehouse and kitchen is located in the historic Danville Hotel. I have to say, with so many great places in the San Francisco Bay Area to get local homemade food, this has to be in the top. All the recipes come from the owner and...
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7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
$$$$
The Grounds café—run out of a former pie factory in the warehouse district of Alexandria—makes coffee, juices, smoothies, baked goods, and rustic breakfast and lunch dishes with equal care. Order a flat white (a cross between a...
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3088 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103, USA
$$$$
Cafe Bassam is amazing—it feels very magical, as though you've stepped into a place where time stops and the rest of the world has disappeared completely. They are the oldest coffeehouse in San Diego. The cafe is larger than the image shows, and...
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R. das Carmelitas 144, 4050-161 Porto, Portugal
A blend of neo-Gothic and art nouveau, the enchanting Livraria Lello bookshop dates to 1906 and is rumored to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s Hogwarts in Harry Potter
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161 Prince St #1, New York, NY 10012, USA
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During my year living in Soho, I went to my fair share of coffee houses but it was Cafe Borgia on Prince Street that first caught my eye. Prince Street is notoriously crowded but luckily, the cafe lies just beyond the crowded boutiques. Walking...
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Situated just a few blocks from hectic Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima, this café provides the perfect sanctuary for an afternoon coffee. The ambience is incredibly tranquil and is almost never full. The café offers a full line of small sweet and...
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453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA
When the Last Bookstore debuted in 2005, the name was meant to be ironic. Now, in a world of Kindles and iPads, digital books (or at least digital bookstores) are the norm, and brick-and-mortar establishments such as the Last Bookstore are a dying...
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154 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014, USA
Three Lives bookstore in the historic West Village caters to serious book-lovers. The individually owned store and its employees are warm and full of character—it feels like you wandered into your best friend’s (large) library in which...
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437 Memorial Dr SE A5, Atlanta, GA 30312, USA
$$$$
As a freelance writer, I'm always looking for a place other than my couch to do work. My requirements are free wireless Internet, plenty of outlets and quality beverages. Octane Coffee succeeds on all fronts. Although they have locations...
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51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA 94925, USA
Book Passage is well-known in the Bay Area for it's annual travel writing and photography conference that happens every August. But that's just once a year. For those who love good travel writing and photography, visit Book Passage anytime and...
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Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 16, 00153 Roma RM, Italy
A great place that is open all day long, You will find it in the large, open, Piazza Santa Cecila in Trastevere. The sunshine streams in, there are comfy chairs, great coffee and pastries, terrific music playing and walls lined with beautiful...
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Via Chiaia, 1/2, 80132 Napoli NA, Italy
The most famous café in town, this historic spot oozes period charm and maintains much of its original Belle Epoque decor. The main bar is for stand-up coffees and aperitivi, but there are several cozy salons for a sit-down treat. The terrace is a...
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1603 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702, USA
$$$$
Using Sightglass coffee, Bartavelle serves the BEST latté in Berkeley! Opened in late 2012 this unassuming café already has a local following. Small place with stand-up only zinc counters inside plus outdoor seating. The small plate menu uses...
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6 E Liberty St, Savannah, GA 31401, USA
Nothing makes me happier than stumbling upon a really great bookstore, and this one in Savannah takes the cake! While strolling down East Liberty Street in gorgeous Savannah—my favorite of all the beautiful Southern cities—my husband...
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Auguststraße 28, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Do You Read Me? is one of the most fabulous bookstores/magazine shops in Berlin. While living in Berlin, I stumbled upon this find purely by chance as I was walking home from a friend's place. I was already on a quest to find the latest editions...
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736 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
$$$$
You couldn't find a union more perfect if you tried. Bread wizard Josey Baker, who mastered the art of crafting whole wheat flour into complex, delicious loaves of bread, joins Jeremy Tooker of Four Barrel Coffee, one of the city's infamous third...
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41 Beach Rd, Gordons Bay Central, Cape Town, 7151, South Africa
I love an old bookstore — roaming through crowded aisles and shelves teeming with tomes is enough to convince even the most diehard digital fiend that books are not dead. When in Gordon's Bay, about 45 minutes from Cape Town, for the Festival of...