2022’s Best Cities for Book Lovers

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, but in many cities, libraries aren’t the only places to find good reads.

So which literary destinations should bibliophiles consider when planning their next reading adventure?

To (book)mark National Family Literacy Month, Lawn Love ranked 2022’s Best Cities for Book Lovers.

We compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on access to public libraries, bookstores, Little Free Libraries, book clubs, and events.

We also looked for cities with the most books “in the wild,” random reads picked up by random bookworms who can track the books’ journey and engage with other bibliophiles on BookCrossing.

Check out the 10 bookmarked (and 10 dog-eared) cities for book lovers below, followed by surprising findings from our report.

2022’s Best Cities for Book Lovers
Rank City
1 Pasadena, CA
2 Seattle, WA
3 Jersey City, NJ
4 Eugene, OR
5 New York, NY
6 Portland, OR
7 Alexandria, VA
8 Garden Grove, CA
9 Oakland, CA
10 Denver, CO
2022’s Worst Cities for Book Lovers
Rank City
191 Brownsville, TX
192 Spring Valley, NV
193 Henderson, NV
193 Moreno Valley, CA
195 Palmdale, CA
196 Corpus Christi, TX
197 Olathe, KS
198 Enterprise, NV
199 Joliet, IL
200 Sunrise Manor, NV

Surprising findings:

  • Stories of SoCal: Readers in Southern California must have a voracious (literary) appetite. Pasadena takes first place in our overall ranking, thanks to the city’s high marks in Books for Sale (No. 2) and Book Swaps (No. 9).

    With plenty of literary events, book lovers in Pasadena can take a break from perusing the city’s many independent and used bookstores and escape to annual events, such as LitFest and the Pasadena Loves YA teen book festival.

  • Sleepless (and well read) in Seattle: Cuddling up with a coffee and a good book go hand in hand in the PNW, so it may not surprise you to see Seattle at No. 2 overall, a UNESCO-designated City of Literature with its very own Civic Poet.

    Not only does Seattle have an abundance of Book Swaps (No. 3) and Books for Sale (No. 9), but it’s also the leading city in our ranking for literary events per capita.

  • All stacked up in the Mid-Atlantic: Step aside, Joe Goldberg. Book lovers are headed to Jersey City, New Jersey (No. 3) — not New York City (No. 5) — for their reading needs.

    Jersey City is the biggest threat to Amazon, ranking No. 1 for the most independent bookstores per 100,000 residents, so Jeff Bezos better watch out, too.

    Every other year, Jersey City honors its own Poet Laureate who gives back to the community through their work and public events.

  • Unhooked on phonics: Two Nevada cities near Las Vegas — Sunrise Manor (No. 200) and Enterprise (No. 198) — ended up at the bottom of our ranking due to poor performance across all categories.

    A bad reading atmosphere also sent Joliet, Illinois (No. 199), Olathe, Kansas (No. 197), and Corpus Christi, Texas (No. 196), to the depths of our ranking.

    These cities are all on the smaller side, so the local bookworms might not have as many literary pursuits.

Find the full ranking and analysis can be found here: https://lawnlove.com/blog/best-cities-for-book-lovers/