The Best Places in the U.S. to Relax and Read a Book

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The Best Places in the U.S. to Relax and Read a Book 1

Are you a book-lover whose best pastime is sitting in a cozy place reading a book? We know what you need! Today, we are not giving book recommendations, but we’ve compiled a list of ideas where you can read the next book. First of all, we suggest that you visit libraries from time to time, as they are designated for reading, and some of them are exceptionally beautiful and a pleasure to stay. Next and not that obvious, botanical gardens can also be a lovely place to read a book.

If you are planning a getaway and can’t imagine going without a book, a thematic hotel or Airbnb stay are also great options for you. In this article, we’ve listed a few ideas, and even if the locations are not anywhere near you, we hope you get inspired and find a library or a garden in your vicinity for your next reading adventure!

Beautiful Libraries to Read a Book

In the U.S., libraries can be found in abundance. According to the data of the American Library Association, “There are an estimated 116,867 libraries of all kinds in the United States today.” You can basically pick the closest to you, be it public or private, or go to your college library, as all of them are beautiful on their own. However, today, we’ll tell you about three fantastic libraries where reading can be combined with the aesthetic pleasures of spending time in an exclusive setting.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the rare book library and literary archive of the Yale University Library. It is a place to go for rare books and manuscripts. Though you may argue that it is not the place just to come and sit, grab a coffee, and read your own book, and you’ll be right. It is mostly used by students and researchers both from the U.S. and abroad for research work. However, we strongly recommend visiting the place to see all these rare books and to appreciate the architecture. The library was designed by the renowned architect Gordon Bunshaft and constructed in 1963. The main goal was to create a space where daylight would be filtered. This factor determined the form of the structure and the use of thin panels of Vermont marble that allow filtered light to pass inside, as old books and manuscripts should be treated very carefully and kept away from direct sunlight. We think the library is just fantastic with its geometric Modernist exterior (which is so different from other Yale Neoclassical and Collegiate Gothic buildings) and a glass tower filled with rare books inside. These books are not accessible to the general public, but there are subterranean levels where the working areas of the library are situated. They include a reading room; therefore, you can still come and read there!

George Peabody Library

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Courtesy of George Peabody Library

If you are in Baltimore, this is the place to go and read. If you happen to be in Baltimore, don’t miss it. Perfectly gorgeous, the George Peabody Library, or Baltimore’s “Cathedral of Books,” is simply a must-see. The space does resemble a cathedral, with its five tiers of cast-iron balconies, striking architecture, and overall dramatic air; it’s a home for over 300,000 books. The library opened in 1878, and it is open to the public. Various events such as weddings and corporate meetings can also be held there upon prior booking. We do recommend visiting this fantastic place and spending some time in the reading room. 

Seattle Public Library

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Courtesy of Seattle Public Library

The Seattle Public Library is also a place that we strongly recommend for any book-lover to visit. The first reason is that the library houses over 1 million books and has a broad range of other services from audiobooks and streaming music and video to language learning options and music practice rooms for rent, etc. The other reason is that the architecture of the buildings is stunning. Especially popular is the main building, with its futuristic design, faceted glass facade, and spacious internal views. Perfect place to come and read a book. An ideal place for pretty much everything from studying to working. 

Botanical Gardens to Visit for Book-Lovers

Now let’s move on to quite the opposite direction. We don’t usually think of a garden in general, or a botanical garden in particular, as the first place to read. However, it all depends on the garden, right? Why not visit a botanical garden next to you with a book, sit on the grounds on a bench you like—a public or a more secluded one—and enjoy both the peace and tranquility of nature and the plot twists? Why not visit a botanical garden library? Here are a few places we can suggest. 

Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Olbrich Botanical Gardens is not your typical huge garden everyone on the planet knows about. This garden in Madison, Wisconsin, was founded in 1952; it features 16 acres of outdoor display gardens and a 10,000-square-feet tropical conservatory. Why we’ve decided to add this very garden to our list? It’s nice and cozy, and there are plenty of benches to sit and read a book. However, there is something else. The gardens have a library, so you are free to bring your own book, but you can also come and get one here. Olbrich Schumacher Library houses approximately 3,500 books on “home gardening in the Midwest, landscape design, rainforests, tropical plants, herbs, trees and shrubs, individual plant species and more.” Isn’t it fantastic? If you are a book-lover and a plant enthusiast, this is the garden you simply have to visit. You are welcome to check their online catalog and search for interesting titles in advance.

The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens

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Courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Another location on our list is the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1919, it is a cultural, research, and educational center. The Botanical Gardens are located on 120 acres and offer many lovely places to visit; however, the Bonsai Collection is the most popular attraction that now features hundreds of trees, some about 1,000 years old. We also recommend visiting Camelia Gardens and Lily Ponds; both are perfect for spending a quiet hour with a book. The Huntington Library is not open to the public, but if you are doing research, you can book an appointment and visit this “one of the world’s great independent research libraries” and then enjoy the gardens.

Atlanta History Center and Cherokee Garden Library

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Courtesy of Atlanta History Center

The next recommendation on our list is Atlanta History Center, with its gardens and library. Located on 33 acres of Goizueta Gardens, the center offers a variety of places to explore, from the gardens (e.g., Entrance Gardens, Rhododendron Gardens, etc.) to Swan House and so much more. If you are interested in gardening, landscape design, and plants, this is a fantastic place to visit. It’s best for exploring on foot, but you can take a book with you and find a nice bench to sit and read as well. We guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Besides, the center has the Cherokee Garden Library. Founded by the Cherokee Garden Club of Atlanta in 1975, it has a vast collection (over 33,000 books, photographs, manuscripts, seed catalogs, and landscape drawings) devoted to horticulture and botanical history of the South East from 1586 to the present. The library is not open to the public, but if you are doing research, you can request an appointment. 

Best Airbnb Ideas for Book Lovers

Now let’s move on to another list, this time, of getaway stays for book lovers.

Bookstore Hideaway

Have you ever wanted to live next to a bookstore, we mean literary, next door? Then Bookstore Hideaway in Beacon, New York, is the place for you. It is a nice and spacious apartment above an indie bookshop. Centrally located, it allows exploring the town without hassle; it also features a garden next door, so you’ll also have a quiet reading space at all times. 

The Treehouse Stay with a Library 

If you want to spend a weekend in a tranquil and picturesque place, the Library Treehouse in Eugene, Oregon, is our recommendation to you. It’s literary a treehouse, so you’ll be living in a fascinating space (with all modern conveniences included). While Alexa and Netflix will be at your service, we strongly recommend shifting your focus to the library on the ground floor and the nature outside. It is hard to imagine a better place to sit and read a book.

Private room + 24/7 Bookstore Access

This private room in Avis, Pennsylvania, offers access to a bookstore (used and out-of-print books) at any time of day or night. The building itself is peculiar, as it used to be an old church. The owner invites you to spend a night in the bookstore. Isn’t it a fantastic opportunity for a bookworm? You do not need to bring any books with you; we are sure you’ll be able to find too many good titles in the store to find spare time for “hiking, biking, fly fishing in the beautiful Pine Creek Gorge, or exploring Lock Haven.” 

The Old Macon Library Apartment

If you are looking for something more exquisite, try the luxury suite at the Old Macon Library in Macon, Georgia. Located inside a library—Macon’s first public library—the suite and the entire building has a long history. Regardless of the name, however, the place is no longer a library, so you’ll have to bring your own book to be able to sit and read with the air of elegance and style. 

Most Favored Spots to Read a Book by Students 

Last but not least, we’ve prepared a list of the best places where, according to students, you can read comfortably.


Your bed isn’t made for sleeping only. Cuddled in a blanket, you can spend hours immersed in your favorite book. Besides, they say that reading before bedtime helps you gain knowledge better.


This option is ideal for those who love both outdoor activities and reading: whether you are hiking in the woods or on a getaway in a seaside cottage, spending a few hours with a book in a hammock feels fantastic.

Crowded Cafe

A crowded cafe may not look like an ideal place for reading; however, it may be the perfect environment just for you. If you need to have background noises when you work, study, or read, we recommend going to a cafe. Surrounded by chatting people, light music, and the natural sounds of a coffee shop, you can dive into the next book while having some delicious coffee. 


An armchair is a bit more universal than a hammock, as you can fit it inside any place. Our ideal picture involves a fireplace (but that’s not compulsory). Grab a novel you’ve been dying to start all week and dive in.


Reading on the train is also very popular among students. This may not be the solution for rush hour when there are too many people and little space; however, on a more or less long and quiet journey, you can both read a lot and memorize complicated material. It is very similar to reading in cafes: sometimes, it’s easier to concentrate when there are background noises around.


It may have never crossed your mind, but churches on weekends are the quietest places to read. You can simply come there, sit, and read your favorite book in a peaceful atmosphere. Most recommended to those who are easily distracted by background noises and prefer not to be disturbed when they read.

We do hope that we’ve given you a few new ideas for your reading adventures. Next time you think about a getaway, check our suggestions, and perhaps, you’ll visit one of the gardens or the library we’ve mentioned. Or maybe, you’ll find another fantastic place. In this case, let us know, and we’ll add it to this list!

Natalie Song