Best Reading Spots on Campus

1. NYU Law Library Courtyard
A view of the law school library courtyard with foliage in bloom.

Just because you’re a reader (and not studying to be a lawyer), doesn’t mean you can’t check out the law school courtyard!

The courtyard is the perfect place to relax and read when the weather is nice. And it’s located just across from the first-year residence, Lipton Hall, and Washington Square Park. What do I love most about this spot? It has a real campus feel, especially when the leaves change in the fall. It’s not too busy and has great seating options and ambience.

2. Sasaki Garden
A view of the Sasaki Garden with cherry blossoms in the background.

Located behind NYU’s Bobst Library, this garden is in the center of the Washington Square Village apartment complex. My friend showed me this hidden gem last semester when the cherry blossoms were in bloom. I keep going back because it’s like a miniature park!

Technically this isn’t an NYU building, but it’s basically on campus. Even when the blossoms aren’t in bloom, it’s a really pretty spot to walk through or read in. Since the garden is conveniently located behind the library, it’s an ideal spot to take a study break.

3. The 8th Floor of Kimmel Center
A view of Washington Square Park, from the eighth floor of the Kimmel Center.

For reading spots on campus, the 8th floor of Kimmel has to be my favorite. The views on this floor are unparalleled, and the floor has some great lounge spaces where you can curl up and get cozy with a good book.

Frequently, when I have breaks in between my classes I go to the 8th floor to catch up on some reading. And there’s an added bonus: whenever it snows or rains, Kimmel always has the best views during storms.

4. Washington Square Park
A walkway in Washington Square Park with benches and trees on either side.

Now I know what you’re thinking—this spot is so basic. But NYU’s campus surrounds Washington Square Park! So, more than likely, you will spend at least some part of your day near or in the park if you have classes in Manhattan.

The park is a really convenient spot if you need a place to grab lunch or take a break. It also has a certain chaotic charm. My favorite part? The spot is great for people watching. Grab a good book and claim a bench to embrace this classic NYC scene.

Best Bookstores Around Campus

1. Three Lives & Company
A view of the corner storefront of Three Lives and Company bookstore.

Three Lives & Company has to be my favorite bookstore in New York City and close to campus. Conveniently located on the outskirts of the West Village near the Washington Square campus, it is the perfect spot to peruse.

This independent bookstore is fantastic for its unique curation of books, a diverse mixture of bestsellers and niche selections. What makes this store special? The staff! Everyone is always so knowledgeable and friendly, I never leave the store without something new.

2. The Strand
A view of the large storefront of the Strand bookstore on Broadway.

The Strand is an NYU classic!

Due to its convenience and fame, this is a bookstore any NYU reader could visit and check off on their list. Also an independent bookstore, the Strand has an impressive selection of over 2.5 million books. The vast amount of books can be overwhelming, but they have such an interesting collection. So, just take your time and have fun looking around! The main floor has lots of tables categorized by different genres and unique themes to help you browse if you’re not after something particular.

My advice? Prepare to spend at least an hour exploring the many floors!

3. McNally Jackson
Floor to ceiling bookshelves stashed with books at McNally Jackson in Brooklyn.

Once again, this is another incredible bookstore comparable to the Strand. This independently run bookstore has four locations in the city, which makes it very accessible. In fact, there is a location close to the Washington Square campus and one basically next door to the Downtown Brooklyn campus, so it’s a great option for NYU students.

McNally Jackson also feels calmer than the lively Strand. My favorite part of McNally Jackson is their recommended books. I have found some of my new favorite books from the staff picks or recommended sections, so I’m confident in recommending their picks!

4). Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc.
A staircase with books stacked to the side leads to an upper floor of Westsider Rare and Used Books Inc.

To wrap up bookstore recommendations, I have to include one of my favorite bookstores even though it’s a little away from the Greenwich Village campus. But, hey—the city is our campus and this bookstore is definitely worth checking out if you’re uptown!

Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc. is the place to go if you’re looking for an old classic or want to explore their lovely curation of used books. This bookstore has a cozy, old-time feel, and I recommend checking out its extensive science fiction section. The best reason to go would have to be visiting the famous cat, “Pig,” who roams the store.

Alexis is a senior in the College of Arts and Science studying International Relations with a minor in Classical Civilizations on the prelaw track. Originally from Arizona, Alexis came to NYU as the first in her family to leave Tucson. When she’s not sharing fun facts about cacti and her hometown, she can be found giving a tour outside Washington Square Park, working as a transfer student ambassador, and writing for the International Relations Society. When she’s not working as an Admissions Ambassador, you can find Alexis exploring New York’s many bookstores.