Red Balloon Bookshop

red balloon bookshop



Do you have a little smarty who prefers calm over crazy? Who likes reading and writing way more than sprinting and screaming? First of all, lucky you. Secondly, be sure to check this place out. The Red Balloon Bookshop on Grand Avenue in St. Paul is such a sweet treat for all the itty-bitty bookworms in your life. With unique toys, puzzles, games and books, this is the perfect place to attend a storytime, meet an author (and get a book signed), or pick up a distinct gift for any occasion.

What is it?

The Red Balloon Bookshop is a small, but adorable, book store on Grand Avenue in St. Paul geared towards kids of all ages. Just like most of the stores along Grand, this looks like an old house from the outside, but brings the magic of books to life when you walk in the front door. Books are sorted by age group and there is a basement filled with discounted books as well. They also sell some cute toys and puzzles. The front entry is often decorated with a theme of some sort. This week’s display was a Star Wars event that is going to be held on May 4th (yes, fellow nerds, May the 4th be with you too). If you are looking for a distinct gift for a distinct child or purpose, I guarantee you will find it here…plus, free gift wrapping. They do more than just sell books – they offer storytimes, author readings, fun events and book clubs.

Fit for what ages?

Everyone. Honestly, this place is great for everyone. It even sneaks a little adult reading (no, not that kind) into the back corner. Their storytimes are separated into babies, toddlers and preschoolers, and they offer book clubs for virtually everyone from 4th grade on up. Check out their offered book clubs on the website.  They also offer events for all ages, including Santa visits during the holidays. To be among the first to hear about these events, be sure to sign up for their monthly e-newsletter.

How much are we talkin?

The Red Balloon Bookshop has a variety (and I mean a variety) of books in different price ranges, and best of all – they have a bargain basement! Check out the downstairs for discounted books and deals. Schools, educators and librarians receive a 20% discount on most purchases and orders.  Get a coupon for your kid’s birthday by signing them up for the Birthday Club too.

red balloon bookshop

Want some tips?

If you go on a weekend, go early. If you are going to a story time, go early. If you are attending an author reading (you guessed it), go early. The plus and the minus of this being a small, but popular, store is that it fills up quickly. If there is an author you really want to see, get your spot on the floor sooner than later. Red Balloon offers weekly story times for various ages from 10:30-11:00am (babies on Tuesdays, toddlers on Thursdays, preschoolers on Wednesdays), but they are all energetic and interactive so don’t be afraid to bring your preschooler along to a baby story time or vice versa. There is a bathroom in the store, FYI. During weekends and summer months, Grand Avenue gets crazy busy. Weekdays are much quieter than weekends. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. That’s all I have to say about that.

Parking can be tough, but there is a pay ramp behind Axel’s Bonfire/Pottery Barn. Otherwise, look for street parking on Grand or Summit. They post current events on the homepage of their website, so be sure to check in often or – better yet – follow Red Balloon on Facebook to see the list of upcoming author readings and book clubs.

When you’re done at the store, take your littles on a lunch date to one of the many wonderful restaurants in the area. I prefer Cafe Latte. My kids prefer Chipotle. Other options are Axel’s BonfireSalutBrasaD’Amico & SonsDixies, and Billy’s on Grand. Super great during the summer because 90% of them have outdoor dining! And if you get further down the road, hit up Grand Ole Creamery. You’re welcome in advance for that tasty lil tidbit.

red balloon bookshop

Hours and Location

891 Grand Ave.  |  St. Paul, MN 55105

Red Balloon Bookshop is located right in the heart of the Grand Avenue shopping district (moms, take a minute – and a paycheck – for yourself and hit up Anthropologie, Karma, North Face, Pottery Barn and J. Crew). There is a small parking lot behind Red Balloon, free street parking, and a pay lot across the street behind Pottery Barn.

Open 363 days of the year (only closed New Years and Christmas Day):
Monday-Friday 10am-8pm
Saturdays 10am-6pm
Sundays 12-5pm

Follow Red Balloon Bookshop on Facebook to stay in-the-know of special events, book signings and craft days. If you have a reader in the family, you will be happy to see them in your feed.

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