4 Great Bookstores In San Francisco's Mission District

Photo of Rachael Wan
3 January 2017

Over the years, San Francisco, California has become a place that welcomes and supports all kinds of personalities and hobbies. With bookstores scattered throughout the City, bookworms are well loved and it shows. Taking a mini road trip around San Francisco’s Mission District allows book lovers to stop at five of the most popular bookstores in the city.

Aardvark Books

The second stop on this journey is a store that might look a bit chaotic at first glance, but really grows on anyone who visits. Right by the entrance is an impressive display of comic books from all different publishers. Further into the store are shelves and shelves of literature, from fiction and penny books to classic novels and “how to” books. Aardvark Books has an amazing selection of used books, with prices usually half the original price written on the corner of the first or second page of the book itself. Visitors wandering the aisles of bookshelves might come across Owen, the resident cat. This adorable tabby is a great addition to the boxes of extra books that line the floor next to the full shelves.

Christopher’s Books | © Rachael Wan

Christopher’s Books

After picking up a book at Aardvark Books, what’s better than going to what may be the coziest bookstore in San Francisco? Going to Christopher’s Books feels like taking a step into a friend’s massive personal library. Welcomed into the store with a warm smile and kind greeting, it’s hard not to feel at home right away. Specializing in young adult novels and children’s books, Christopher’s also has a wide array of travel guides for cities all around the world. From the moment they enter, visitors are encouraged to stay and read a few pages on any of the small chairs scattered around the store. New and interesting books are displayed prominently on the shelves for those who aren’t exactly sure what to read first. Christopher’s may be on the smaller side, but it certainly makes up for its size in charm and familiarity, with a frequent reader system that gives discounts with a certain number of book purchases. Another IndieBound bookstore, Christopher’s vows to stay independent, the way it has been for over twenty years.

Dog Eared Books | © Rachael Wan

Dog Eared Books

A bit further away from the quiet neighborhood setting, Dog Eared Books is right in the heart of Valencia, a district full of good food and new fashion. An accurate representation of the community around it, Dog Eared Books embraces the hustle and bustle of the city and its residents. Even on a Monday afternoon, the store was packed with visitors looking for instruction manuals, guides on plants, new and old literature, and so much more. Dog Eared Books has a much different atmosphere than the previous stores. The store’s upbeat music, bright colors, and cheerful laughter can be heard and seen from even outside the store. With super friendly staff who are more than willing to give recommendations, Dog Eared Books has become a staple in the San Francisco bookworm’s way of life.

Borderlands Books

To end the day of bookstore hopping, settle down at Borderlands for a hot cup of coffee and the latest book about fantastical scientific inventions or an unsolvable murder. Specializing in science fiction, fantasy, mystery and horror novels, Borderlands has a vast array of books, both new and used, displayed in a room next to the café. Decorated with equally thrilling and mysterious posters, Borderlands draws visitors in to browse its extensive book collection, creating new sci-fi and mystery fanatics every day. A great place to wind down and enjoy a book with a snack and maybe some hot chocolate, Borderlands treats all of its visitors like family.