In the times of the vanishing bookstore, Vroman’s stands tall and prosperous, proudly holding down the title of SoCal’s oldest independent bookstore- founded in 1894! The place is inviting and expansive, with sections that go above and beyond a well-stocked store, including “Being Zen” and “Pasadena Pride”. The bookshelves are unintimidating and sectioned off in an impeccably specific manner.
But I didn’t come for all that! Vroman’s is right next to Laemmle’s theatre, and I needed to kill time before my next show without succumbing to my compulsive book buying habit. Luckily, they have almost as many retail items to browse in the store as they have books.
Sure, you’ve got the standard bookstore items– candles, travel pillows, stationary, but across from the bargain books section you’ll also find a selection of kitchenware. In the back with the employee pics, I found something I never knew I’d need: Earthquake Putty. Upstairs, a selection of purses. There’s picture frames, jewelry, clothing, scarves, collector’s bookmarks (Yes! I just said that!), in short, if you are looking for a gift for someone, you will find a unique one here.
In addition to all the great things inside of Vroman’s, what really sets them apart from other bookstores is the sheer volume of events they hold. Monthly, you’ve got a selection of events like book signing (Everyone from David Sedaris to Bill Clinton), themed story time hours, game nights, discussion groups, and tons of stuff for kids. Shopping there also supports local artists and fair trade groups that sell goods throughout the store. Oh and did I mention the café is excellent? Go to an event. Go for a cup of coffee. Go get a book recommendation from an employee. Just go. It will be an afternoon well spent.
Vroman’s is located on 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.
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We agree with some but not all of this top ten list. Perhaps we will do our own Top Ten in another post. These restaurants are another reason why Pasadena is a great place to be.
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