Public Places to Read (Other Than a Café)

Danielle Bourgon

Staff Writer

Danielle is an educator, theatre artist, and book lover from Toronto, Ontario. She acknowledges that this is the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and most recently, the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit where she is grateful to live and work. When she’s not drinking tea and reading on the couch, she’s recommending books to her students, friends, and family. She’s a feminist, a nerd, and a baker. Oh. And she has Hogwarts tattooed on her arm.

Finding places to read in public is a difficult thing. The tendency for me is to go to a cafe, but that can sometimes get monotonous (not to mention expensive). Other Rioters have done some great posts about the places they like to read (like this piece from Romeo Rosales), but I wanted to offer some more specific recommendations for people who might be looking to change up their #readingviews. So here is my list of public places to read (other than a café).

Option #1 The Library!

It seems obvious—after all, it is the original reading away from home place. Sometimes as adults we forget that libraries are public spaces for us too. That they aren’t just for students and kids but there is space for us to read too. Plus, they’re usually incredibly gorgeous buildings which makes it a great spot to snap some pictures.

Option #2 University Campus Buildings

University campuses are made to be read on. There’s always great benches and seating areas that you can find throughout these buildings and often students don’t take full advantage of it (I certainly didn’t when I was a student) so it’s pretty easy to find a great spot to read for an hour or two.

Option #3 A Brewery

Why limit yourself to coffee or tea when there’s such amazing things going on at craft breweries these days? Enjoy a nice pint, a delicious snack, and a great afternoon of reading. Fair warning: it’s not the quietest of options on the list, but for me having a little background noise is often ideal for my reading time. The ability to enjoy a great beverage while I do it doesn’t hurt either.

Option #4 An Art Museum

This is one of my new favourite excursions for reading. Going to an art museum is so great on a rainy afternoon because it fills your world with colour again. The atmosphere is quiet and reverent without feeling like a funeral home. Plus there’s ample benches and seating throughout. Thus making this a great place to hunker down for some reading time.

Option #5 Conservatory or Botanical Garden

I have to admit that this one came as a recommendation from a good friend, and man was she right on the money. Sitting surrounded by greenery and the sounds of birds, I was able to enjoy time with my book and also get some respite from the dreary weather outside. The seating is more limited than other options but even standing and reading for 15 minutes was incredibly restorative.