Summer is upon us, and whether you’re planning an epic cross-country adventure or exploring a little closer to home – sometimes getting there is half of the fun. Here are a few of the most unique U.S. Starbucks stores for a memorable pit stop on your next road trip.
Let’s fuel up for our adventure at a café that was once an old-fashioned gas station, the Starbucks at Highland and Willoughby in Los Angeles. The art deco structure, originally built in 1935, is straight from the golden age of Hollywood and has even been featured in several movies and commercials.
A 200-mile drive across the desert east of L.A. brings us to the bright lights of Las Vegas, where you’ll find a Starbucks store that is a work of art. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Starbucks features a colorful geometric public art installation by French artist and photographer Georges Rousse that changes perspective when moving through the space. Still thirsty? There are more than 30 Starbucks stores along the four miles of the Las Vegas Strip between the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino to the Stratosphere Tower.
If you’d prefer wide open spaces and mountain views, a summertime visit to Ketchum, Idaho is just for you – with hiking, mountain biking, and camping in the surrounding Sawtooth National Forest. The Ketchum Town Center store and its relaxing ski resort vibe (inspired by nearby Sun Valley) make it the perfect spot to visit after a day outdoors.
Summer is the best time to visit Seattle, when the rain (mostly) stays away and the flowers are in bloom at the Pike Place Market. Thousands make the pilgrimage each year to the Pike Place store, snapping selfies under the weathered brown logo while partners make their beverages on the vintage-style manual espresso machine and bag coffee on the worn wooden counters. You’ll also see something partners tossing empty cups back and forth with drink orders, an homage to the fish tossed my fishmongers in stalls across the cobblestone street. Just don’t try to order a blueberry muffin, the original lease stipulated that food could not be served, and that tradition is continued today.
Is visiting the largest Starbucks in the world is on your summer bucket list? If so, then head to Chicago for a trip to the Starbucks Reserve Chicago Roastery. It is a five-story coffee wonderland – where you can immerse yourself in the journey of coffee from bean to cup.
If your travels take you through Texas, check out the Starbucks store at 3rd & Lavaca in Austin which celebrates the city’s love for music. The design includes music-inspired details like speaker paneling, microphone chandeliers and spotlight pendant lighting. The design team also incorporated amber siding throughout the store to serve as a nod to the site’s previous history as a way station on a rail route back when the city was called Waterloo.
Another location with musical inspiration is the store on Canal St. & Saint Charles in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Here, the Starbucks design team dreamed up a vivid story of an apothecary merchant from the early 20th Century who would sell his goods in the front of a store and settle down after hours in the back “living room,” where a 12-foot-long community table rested. That formidable table demanded a trumpet chandelier to complement its commanding presence.
Savannah is known as the “Forest City,” with its cobblestone streets lined by hundreds of live oaks and Spanish moss-draped trees made for wandering, both for people and the spirits who roam this notoriously haunted city. The West Bay & Bernard store features an enchanting art installation that celebrates the city’s nature, beauty and history.
Continue driving north up the Atlantic Coast to the nation’s capital, where you’ll find one of the most unique Starbucks stores in the country. The Starbucks Signing Store at 6th &H in Washington, D.C. is led by a diverse team of partners who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). For customers new to sign language, the store features high-tech options for assisting with communication, ordering drinks, and receiving beverages at the hand-off counter. Be sure to check out the colorful mural created by Yiqiao Wang, a Deaf artist and adjunct professor at Gallaudet University which includes a host of letters, signs and symbols representing English, ASL, Deaf culture and coffee.
Just outside Washington, D.C., book lovers will enjoy a stop at the George Mason University store and its a one-of-a-kind collage of 34 flying books. This café may look a little familiar, it is featured in Starbucks collection of virtual backgrounds, and honors the university’s renowned science program with light fixtures made from iron pipes above the artwork evoke the feeling of a science lab. (Be sure to “hit the books” on a weekday, the location is closed on the weekends over the summer.)
New York City
One last stop before we go and we’ll make it a good one – the Starbucks Reserve New York Roastery. Located in the historic meatpacking district of Manhattan, the New York Roastery has been immersing customers in the craft of coffee since 2018, with interactive elements to bring guests closer to the craft of coffee from roasting to brewing. If you’re staying the night, grab a bite at Princi bakery and a drink at the Arriviamo Bar, which serves cocktails and spritz beverages featuring coffee and tea, including the newest cocktails on the menu: Pineapple Rum Float and Blush Mint Julep.