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SoCal Day Trip: The Last Bookstore and Chinatown

Have you been to Downtown Los Angeles lately?  There are so many things to see and do!  Today, we’re going to share a recent day trip we took with the family.  We checked out The Last Bookstore in Downtown, followed by lunch in Chinatown.

Book Tunnel at The Last Book Store- SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

The Last Bookstore


The Last Bookstore is the largest new and used bookstore and record store in California!  The Last Bookstore is unlike any other bookstore you have been too.  It is nestled away in a Downtown LA corner.  You might have passed it without even realizing it.  There are some whimsical touches that will warm a book lover’s heart.

Books and Old Los Angeles Charm

The Last Book Store-SoCal Day Trip Downtown Los Angeles
View of The Last Bookstore from the second floor.

You will first enter into what looks like a huge warehouse of books.  There are high ceilings, what looks like an old bank vault, and a section where vinyl records are sold.Vault at The Last Book Store-SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

There is a section for everyone: children’s books, graphic novels, used books, new books, etc.  The main room has a raised floor that appears to be a stage- perhaps bands play there sometimes?

Either way, there are comfortable chairs all throughout for you to relax.  You can flip through a few books before deciding which one might be for you.

Don’t forget to check out the Arts and Rare Books annex.  You will see some pretty interesting finds there.

Did I mention that The Last Bookstore buys, sells, and trades books?  So be sure to bring some of your books that you’re done with and see if you can sell or trade them.

My absolute favorite part of this store is walking up the back stairs and finding some beautiful book and reading inspired art.  The stairs themselves are charming.  Each ascending stair has a book genre listed on it. Stair Case-The Last Bookstore-SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

Art and shopping

As you ascend the back stair case, you will also find that there is some free-standing art. Book Art at The Last Book Store- SoCal Day Trip Downtown Los Angeles

If you opt to use the front stairway, you will find some small retail shops on the second floor.Shop at The Last Book Store SoCal Day Trip Downtown LASome shops sell art work, while others sell fun unusual items.  I personally loved the little details like the flooring that is made out of pennies. Penny Floor at The Last Book Store SoCal Day Trip Downtown LAI also loved the beautiful architectural detail throughout the building.

As you continue to walk past the retail shops on the second floor, you will find a room full of  books.  If these don’t interest you, keep walking through to the book tunnel.  Yes!  It’s a tunnel made out of books!!!  I imagine that Belle must have felt the same way when she discovered the huge library in the castle, as I did when I was walking through tunnel of books.  Seriously, I love books and never would have imagined that something like this exists. Book Tunnel at The Last Book Store- SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA Book Tunnel at The Last Book Store-SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

Walk just a little further and you will find another picture opportunity.  Have your friend, kids, or date stand between the book portal for a picture.  Your picture will literally be framed with books! Book Frame at The Last Book Store SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

In case you were wondering, we wound up buying a used book titled, Weird California.  It contained pictures of various stops you can make throughout California to see weird and unusual things.  What a fun find!

Tips for visiting the Last Bookstore:

  • Address: 453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 90013
  • Take change for meter parking.
  • Check street signs to avoid being towed.
  • Buy a book. This is an independent book store and we’d love to support them so that they stay around for a long time!
  • Check out their vinyl record section! It was really cool to take a look at what they had.
  • Walk into the old vault. How many times will you have a chance to do that?

Chinatown in Downtown Los Angeles

After our adventures at the Last Bookstore, we were ready for some lunch!  We headed over to Chinatown in Downtown Los Angeles.

Chinatown Entrance-SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

Make sure to drive in where you can see the beautiful Chinatown sign.  It makes a big impact if you have little ones and it can make for a beautiful picture.  Look around and you will see decorative touches everywhere, even on the crosswalk!

Chinatown Crosswalk SoCal Day Trip Downtown LA

Once we parked in a nearby lot, we walked down both sides of the main street.  The kids loved checking out the small stores.  There were all sorts of toys and knick knacks.  The hubby bought some nunchucks and the kids loved it!

The kids also got to see turtles, fish, and other creatures in the small market areas.

After walking around, we stopped in to eat at Yang Chow restaurant.The food is delicious and everyone enjoyed it.  The kids especially enjoyed learning how to use chopsticks.

Chopsticks at Yang Chow Chinatown

The only thing they did NOT like?  The tea.

Tea at Yang Chow ChinatownTea at Yang Chow Chinatown

Be sure to take a day trip to The Last Bookstore and Chinatown soon.  It is a fun adventure that all ages will enjoy!

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  1. The Last Bookstore is one of my very favorites as well as City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco. Sounds like a great day. You can also forgo the car and take the subway downtown… just about as long as it takes with all the traffic on the freeways in summertime!

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