The Top 10 Best Bookstores in Minnesota for Kids
barnes and noble kids area best bookstore in Minnesota parent family favorites 2024 survey

Escape into a world of imagination and enchanting stories with your children when you visit one of the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids! Bookstores are fantastic places for families to soak in some quality time together and support locally-owned businesses. Many bookstores in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota offer extensive selections of children’s books, story times, and other unique features for little bookworms. In fact, two locations on this list are dedicated to children’s books, while the rest feature a more extensive catalog for all ages and interests. If you’re wondering which Minnesota bookstores are best for you and your kids, we’ve compiled this guide to help you discover where to go. Each location offers something special for kids and can provide personalized recommendations for stories to bring home. Keep reading to learn about our top picks for the 10 Best Bookstores in Minnesota for Kids!

Best Bookstores in the Twin Cities for Kids 

Are you looking specifically for the best bookstores in the Twin Cities for families with kids? Then, this section has you covered! From Saint Paul to Wayzata, these seven extraordinary Twin Cities bookstores offer everything from story times to dedicated children’s collections.

1. Barnes & Noble, Bloomington/Mall of America

One of the largest bookstores in Minnesota, Barnes & Noble at the Mall of America in Bloomington is a great spot for a rainy day or quiet afternoon with kids. Located on Level 1 of the Mall, Barnes & Noble offers a robust, dedicated children’s section in the back of the store. The children’s section has a single entrance/exit, so kids can explore freely within the area, looking for new stories to bring home.

The children’s section is also brightly lit and has colorful displays. Small tables with trains and other toys allow children to play while you browse. Plus, Barnes & Noble has a cafe on-site, so you can grab a coffee and a snack while you snuggle up with your new books. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder this is one of the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids!

Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Mall of America, this is the kids area. They are a favorite on our twin cities Bookstores list.

2. Red Balloon Bookshop, Saint Paul

Nestled along historic Grand Avenue in Saint PaulRed Balloon is an independent and woman-owned dedicated children’s bookstore. Beloved for its children’s author visits and story times, Red Balloon is undoubtedly one of the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids. In fact, it has been serving the community for nearly 40 years!

This charming bookstore feels bright, airy, and spacious, creating the perfect ambiance for families to discover new books and select the best stories to add to their home libraries. Then, weekly story times occur on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. All ages are welcome, but selected stories likely suit infants to age 3 best. Meanwhile, teens can participate in the monthly teen book club (open to teens in 8th-12th grade)! Plus, this summer, young readers can also join in the summer reading challenge. Find other events by clicking here. If you’re looking for a children’s bookstore in Saint Paul, Red Balloon should be at the top of your list.

3. Wild Rumpus Books for Young Readers, Minneapolis 

Located in the Linden Hills neighborhood of MinneapolisWild Rumpus Books for Young Readers is a one-of-a-kind bookstore just for kids. This dedicated children’s bookstore offers an eclectic mix of books alongside its furry and feathered friends. Inside, kids will find several nooks and crannies to search for the store’s resident animals and cuddle up with their new books. 

From its whimsical purple door (with a built-in tiny door for kids!) and indoor fort to its roaming felines, you will quickly see why Wild Rumpus is one of Minneapolis’s best children’s bookstores. The knowledgeable staff can help you and your little ones find the perfect book. They even provide their top picks online, categorized by age. The weekly story time happens on Tuesday mornings and is geared toward toddlers and preschoolers (though all are welcome!). Older kids can also join one of their book clubs (available to age groups 6-9 and 8-12)! Additional shop events can be found by clicking here. Finally, Wild Rumpus has one of the largest selections of Spanish books for kids. The shop also features titles in other world languages (like Chinese, Somali, German, and more). 

front of wild rumpus children bookstore in minneapolis

4. Birchbark Books & Native Arts, Minneapolis 

Tucked between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles, Birchbark Books & Native Arts is an eco-chic, independent bookstore offering hand-picked titles for all ages, including Native American books and crafts. Birchbark Books is one of the best bookstores in Minneapolis for kids, specializing in books about indigenous peoples and cultures. This includes educational resources for children (from elementary to high school).

While not explicitly dedicated to children’s stories, Birchbark Books still offers many stories for young readers. Their children’s collection also includes graphic novels and coloring/crafting supplies. Plus, they provide a tiny loft and a “hobbit hole for children to play in and read. Meanwhile, parents and caregivers browse for new books to bring home and enjoy. Finally, you can find more about their events here!

front of birch bark book store in minneapolis minnesota . A favorite twin cities Bookstores

5. The Irreverent Bookworm, Minneapolis – Twin Cities Bookstore Guide

The Irreverent Bookworm is an independently owned bookstore in south Minneapolis. It is also the only Queer-owned new and used bookshop in the city. This bookstore is warm, inviting, cozy, whimsical, and inclusive for all ages and interests. Kids and parents alike will enjoy the comfy atmosphere while browsing the large selection of new and used books.

Careful consideration is given to curating their diverse selection of books, including those in the cozy kids’ room. Once you’ve made your selection, their cushy chairs are ideal for cuddling with your kids and starting your new reads together. Then, as one of the best bookstores in Minneapolis for kids, The Irreverent Bookworm offers an excellent trade-in program for used books. This makes it a great option to upgrade last year’s collection or trade in books when your kids age out of specific stories. Visit their Trade-In page for details on how to do this. Finally, you can find their shop events here.

6. Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior

Looking for locally and independently owned bookstores in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities? Excelsior Bay Books is just a short walk from Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior. This location makes reading and picnicking lakeside after your visit easy and fun! Plus, they have been serving the community for nearly 30 years.

This charming bookstore is an excellent stop with kids. In fact, its casual and inviting environment with comfy seating is a huge draw for bookworms of all ages. While not a dedicated children’s bookstore, their kid’s section is fantastic! They also have a section just for teens. It is sure to impress even the pickiest of young readers. You can find information on their kid’s story time and other events here. Storytime books are best suited for toddlers and preschoolers.

7. The Thinking Spot, Wayzata

One of the best bookstores in Minnesota for science-minded kids is The Thinking Spot, located in Wayzata. This bookstore focuses specifically on offering a wide selection of science-themed books for kids and adults. 

The Thinking Spot is intentionally designed to encourage reading, reflection, conversation, and connection. Comfortable chairs and cozy seating areas create community gathering places that promote lounging, reading, and discussions. Then, the wide selection of books dedicated to nature, animals, engineering, and other science topics will undoubtedly be a massive hit for STEM-loving kids of all ages. Talk about a way to make learning together fun! Finally, their events and talks often feature scientists, engineers, makers, and thinkers! In fact, their events go beyond the typical book events, including everything from afterschool coding and crafting to STEM book clubs.

Best Bookstores in Greater Minnesota for Kids 

Three bookstores in greater Minnesota are worth mentioning on this list of the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids! If you live outside of the Twin Cities or are planning a family trip, these bookstores in Duluth, Grand Marais, and Alexandria are undoubtedly worth a stop!

8. Zenith Bookstore, Duluth

Zenith Bookstore is a locally owned bookstore in Duluth that offers new and gently used books. Colorful murals, high ceilings, and trendy exposed bricks make this vibrant bookstore a warm, comfy, and inviting spot for all ages. Kids will adore the quirky and fun layout while browsing for new books to take home.

In addition to featuring a large selection of children’s books (and adult reads of all types and genres), Zenith Bookstore offers unique games, puzzles, and puppets that encourage imagination and fun. Plus, they also provide Chapter & Verse meetings. This national book club is for children’s literature enthusiasts to discuss children’s and young adult fiction, nonfiction, picture books, and poetry. Finally, you can check out their event offerings here. Whether you live in Duluth or are visiting the city on vacation, this bookstore is a great place to spend a lovely morning or afternoon together. 

9. Drury Lane Books, Grand Marais

A stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Superior, Drury Lane Books is a whimsical independent bookstore featuring a hand-picked collection of books for book lovers of all ages. While it is one of the smallest bookstores on this list, the shop is jam-packed with outstanding titles across all genres. This includes a lovely children’s corner. They have been serving the charming town of Grand Marais for nearly 25 years!

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Drury Lane Books offers a fantastic Summer Children’s Story Hour on Saturday mornings. Weather permitting, families can gather outside the store and listen to a robust collection of picture books, all read by The Muffin Man, while waves gently crash against the nearby beach. His high-energy, silly readings will entertain kids and adults alike. Then they also offer other events like book clubs, full moon readings by bonfire, author talks, and more. You can find all of their events here. All events are free, in-person, open to the public, and wheelchair or mobility aid accessible (unless otherwise noted).

10. Cherry Street Books, Alexandria

Alexandria’s Cherry Street Books is a must-stop for families in western Minnesota. This cozy little shop has been serving the local community for nearly 20 years. It offers diverse books for children, youth, and adults across all genres. Friendly staff members eagerly greet you and share their favorite stories, tales, and epic literary adventures.

As one of the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids, the Bookstore has a lovely Saturday morning story hour. This free story time is open to all ages, but books are best suited for ages 3 – 5. Story hour includes exciting stories, activities, and surprises! Plus, their book club offers monthly titles that appeal to teens and adults.

Keep Reading Together & Exploring Minnesota with Kids

We hope this list featuring our top picks for the best bookstores in Minnesota for kids helps plan your next literary day out with kids. Whether you are looking for a quiet morning together, a new story time, or a chance to find the latest children’s books on the market, these Twin Cities and greater Minnesota bookstores will have what you’re looking for! Have fun reading and exploring with your kids!

Antonia Grant is a Minnesota mom + freelance writer who loves encouraging parents to find ways to connect and make memories with their kids. She’s a firm believer in providing children with experiences over things. You can find more from Antonia and her family adventures on Instagram and on her website. She shares all things family travel, outdoor adventures, and their favorite foodie finds.

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