Bookstore Adventures in Reno, NV

Sundance b&w shelves

When you think of Reno, Nevada, images of casinos and the iconic “The Biggest Little City in the World” sign probably spring to mind. In fact, you may be wondering, “Reno? Isn’t that by Las Vegas?” Actually, it’s not, and my friends from Nevada get annoyed by this question almost as much as hearing the name of their state pronounced Nev-ah-da. Regardless of how you view the biggest little city, charming bookstores probably are not the first things you think of when you hear Reno. But you would be surprised. On a recent visit to Reno, I had the chance to spend an afternoon visiting two wonderful bookstores.

My afternoon started with a stop at Sundance Books & Music, which is located in the Levy Mansion on the corner of Sierra Street and California Avenue. Yes, you read that correctly: it’s in a mansion. This means that all the different sections are stashed away in their own rooms. The place is full of cozy nooks and crannies and comfortable chairs waiting for a reader to curl up with the perfect book. Sundance offers a wide variety of books, and the store is so lovingly put together that the books and items available for sale appear to be carefully curated. Walking up the stairs brings you up close to a dragon, and bookish quotes take up space on the walls. To top it all off, the staff is friendly. This is a place I will make sure to visit every time I find myself in Reno.

If you have time, stop by the Nevada Museum of Art, which is around the corner from Sundance. On a past trip I saw their exhibit of some of Frida Kahlo’s photographs. If you visit, be sure to make it to the top floor for an amazing view of the city.

My next stop was Grassroots Books, which is an excellent place for used books. My Reno friends tell me that Grassroots has an ever-changing stock of books, so it is a good place to visit regularly to stock up on some inexpensive used finds. There are a lot of shelves to browse, and while I was there, I could see that they were doing a steady trade in both buying and selling used books. Grassroots is a good place to give your old books a new home if you are cleaning your own bookshelves. Just as with Sundance, the staff at Grassroots is friendly. This is another place that I will be adding to my regular rotation on my visits to Reno.

If you happen to be in the Reno area this week, there is still time to check out the Friends of Washoe County Libraries book sale, which is happening through May 22 at the Reno Town Mall. The sale is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and it concludes with Sunday, May 22 giving shoppers the chance to pay $5 for a bag of books.

Happy reading!


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