Reading at Libros del Pasaje — Photo courtesy of Ann Lui
While El Ateneo Grand Splendid is Buenos Aires' most famous bookshop, it's certainly not the city's only worthwhile book-related attraction.
For example, Libros del Pasaje is a delightful bookstore and cafe located in Buenos Aires' leafy Palermo neighborhood.
Bring your appetite for food and art, because it's a great local place to eat, shop and kill time. Here, the tall, wood-paneled shelves contain a great selection of books in Spanish. If you're looking for Argentine literature and history titles, this is a good place to get those.
(Actually, the bookshelves reach the ceiling, so if you spy an inviting title high above your head, you can climb one of the wooden ladders to grab it yourself, or ask someone on staff to scurry up there for you.)
Otherwise, there's a respectable section of books in English, including poetry. They also have a good kids' section. Ask one of the clerks for suggestions if you're unsure of what you're looking for.
Head upstairs at the back for a unique secret nook and more titles to browse.
Like other Argentine bookshops, Libros del Pasaje includes some books that are reasonably priced, while others can be quite expensive. When in doubt, ask one of the clerks to tell you what the price is.
However, you don't need to be a book-lover to enjoy the place, as the highlight is actually the cafe, which typically gets busiest on Sunday afternoons.
It receives good sunlight from above during the day and serves Argentine and American fare like pastries, sandwiches, salads, cakes, coffee, wine and lemonade.
The cafe draws an eclectic crowd, from students to entrepreneurs to retired folks, both locals and visitors alike.
The pair of antique couches beside the pastry case are a favorite place to sit, but there's more seating in the main cafe room with its rows of wooden tables. Good music plays in the background.
Libros del Pasaje regularly has events where authors come to talk about their books or artists exhibit their works, and once in a while, they also host events for kids. The schedule is listed on their website.
The neighborhood surrounding Libros del Pasaje is interesting, as well. If you have time, pop in to some of the other shops and wander around to take a look at the street art.
Libros del Pasaje is open throughout the day until 10 or 11 p.m. at night.