Mexico City is overflowing with bookstores, whether they are run by editorial houses, are independent or are used bookstores. We’ve rounded up the ten best and most beautiful bookstores for you to check out next time you’re in the Mexican capital and the reading bug bites you.
El Péndulo, Roma
The Mexico City based chain of El Péndulo bookstores are a stalwart recommendation when it comes to where to buy your books in the Mexican capital; however, we particularly recommend the Roma branch due to its gorgeous multileveled layout and the balcony seating available in the attached café. Plus, the neighborhood in which it’s situated is tranquil and full to the brim with cultural hotspots perfect for exploring after you buy your books.
Librería Urbe, Ciudad de México | Courtesy of Librería Urbe
Another bookstore that has taken initiative to throw an attached coffee shop into the mix is Librería Urbe, which is also a library of sorts, too. Nestle into one of the many seating areas and read your newly acquired (or loaned) book whilst you sip on a coffee. What’s great about this bookstore in particular are the often special edition or harder to come by books that they sell, as well as a small English-language selection.
One of the more specialized book stores on our list, EXIT La Librería offers a clearly well-curated selection of art texts in particular; from coffee table titles to speciality contemporary art guides and more, this is most definitely a store for those who appreciate art. While it may be small, it’s worth visiting if you’re looking for something in particular, or even if you just want to browse the captivating images that adorn many of EXIT La Librería’s front covers.
For books in English, you really can’t look any further than Under The Volcano Books. This well-established locale has a loyal following of English-language text aficionados who range from bilingual locals to Anglophone expats. However, due to extreme demand for their wide range of titles, they’re always on the hunt for people to donate English language books. Don’t forget that they only accept cash payments!
Porrúa is another large bookstore chain and editorial house that is spread across Mexico as a whole, and has 29 branches in Mexico City alone. However, while the quality of Porrúa published books is excellent, the Chapultepec branch deserves a shout out for its spectacular location and views. Since 2011, this store (which has a subtle wood exterior) has been nestled in and amongst the trees of Bosque de Chapultepec, offering its clientele soothing views over the lake. There’s also a lovely open air café for customer to enjoy.
Named for the excellent Mexican poet and author Rosario Castellanos, this bookstore finds its home in one of Condesa’s most architecturally interesting buildings. The Centro Cultural Bella Época is an art deco masterpiece on the outside, but inside you’ll find a modern and futuristic bookstore. Librería Rosario Castellanos has a broad range of books, predominantly in Spanish, but with some smaller, well-cultivated foreign language sections as well; it’s worth a visit just for the location though!
Modern, sleek and architecturally stunning are the best ways to describe the branch of the Educal bookstore that takes residence in Coyoacán’sCentro Cultural Elena Garro. The ideal place to visit for the book buyer who never knows what they want until they arrive at the store, there are browsing opportunities spread across several floors. With the illusion of an open plan layout, the show-stopping area is undoubtedly the children’s section; books are suspended on wires from the ceiling like something straight out of a Harry Potter film.
This is another branch of the Fondo de Cultura Ecónomica publishing house’s bookstores, and is named for another one of the country’s most iconic writers. Just like Librería Rosario Castellano, Librería Octavio Paz is a must-visit bookstore in Mexico City. However, as opposed to the art deco exterior of the former, Librería Octavio Paz is a modernist masterpiece. A glass front allows those passing by to see straight in to the staircase and, as an added bonus, there’s a El Jarocho coffee shop nearby.
Another Mexico City bookstore named after a famous author is Alejandro Rossi. The reasons for recommending this bookstore are threefold; firstly, its architecture is nothing short of spectacular, secondly, the books sold there are fantastic and the layout is unique but easy to navigate, and thirdly, it’s located within the jaw dropping Biblioteca Vasconcelos. Librería Educal Alejandro Rossi is, therefore, unmissable.