Barbara’s Bookstore: This local chain feels a bit like an airport bookstore, meaning it has a decent variety but isn’t especially cozy. Inside Macy’s Loop location, 111 N. State St. tel. 312/781-5257. El: Brown or Red Line to Lake.

Barnes & Noble: Buy a book and sip coffee at the ground-level cafe in this well-situated Gold Coast store, just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue. 1130 N. State St. tel. 312/280-8155. El: Red Line to Clark/Division. 

Paper Source: The acknowledged leader of stationery stores in Chicago since 1983 is now a national chain. Make your own scrapbooks, buy cards and small gifts, choose among reams of exotic papers, or add to your collection of rubber stamps. 232 W. Chicago Ave. tel. 312/337-0798. El: Red or Brown Line to Chicago. Neighborhood: River North

Unabridged Bookstore: This independent Lakeview bookseller is known for its gay and lesbian specialty section, and also its award-winning range of children’s books. The knowledgeable staff handwrites recommendations and customers can be a tight-knit bunch. Check out the online schedule to see what authors and poetry readings are scheduled during your visit. 3251 N. Broadway Ave. tel. 773/883-9119. El: Red Line to Addison.

Women & Children First: Located in the neighborhood of Andersonville, this bookstore is known for having the best selection of titles for, by, and about women. But the shop is far from a male-free zone. The owners promote great independent fiction by authors of both genders, making this a place to discover books that have been overlooked by the bestseller lists. 5233 N. Clark St. tel. 773/769-9299. El: Red Line to Berwyn. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.