Book lover? This magical destination is a must for your bucket list.

This a story about a bookstore. But this isn't just any bookstore.

No, this place is borderline magical. If it sounds like a fairytale, it's only because it resembles one. (Looking at you, Belle.)

It's basically a paperback palace that will make you want to throw your e-reader into the sea. Or at the very least, get lost in a good book. Photo by Miguel Vieira/Flickr.


It's called El Ateneo Grand Splendid and you'll find it Buenos Aires, Argentina.

From the outside, it's a large but otherwise unassuming bookstore in the heart of the Barrio Norte neighborhood.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

But step inside, and you're met with breathtaking views of fresco ceilings, opulent plush curtains, soaring balconies, and all the trimmings that make this a store unlike any other.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh, and you'll also find 21,000 square feet of books on books on books. And a few more books for good measure.

Even the beautiful building's backstory deserves a place among the shelves.

Built in 1919,  the original building (then known as Teatro Grand Splendid) served as a premiere performance space for the region's top tango talent. Dancers like Roberto Firpo and Francisco Canaro once graced the stage, dazzling audiences with the help of live musical accompaniment.

As the popularity of live dance waned, the building was transformed to a movie theater in 1929, making it the first cinema in Buenos Aires to show sound films.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Popularity and use of the cinema ebbed and flowed, though. And by the turn of the 21st century, the Grand Splendid was in dire straits.

The building and its beautiful fixtures and trimmings were slated for demolition. But in the knick of time, popular Argentine bookseller Grupo Ilhsa leased the building and transformed the space into its flagship location of their Ateneo chain, keeping the historical integrity and spirit of the esteemed performance space intact.

Nearly 100 years after opening, El Ateneo Grand Splendid welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year.

Locals and tourists of all ages come to see the spellbinding space.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

It's filled with books and music you might find at a typical chain bookstore with most of the titles in Spanish.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Many cozy up with a good book in one of the former theater boxes.

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Or get some work done amid the frescos. (Good luck going back to a coffee shop after this.)

Photo by Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images.

Speaking of coffee, if you need a bite to eat, look no farther than the theater's former stage. It's now a cafe.

Some visit the store with no agenda at all. It's the perfect place to rest, relax, and take it all in.

Argentina's love affair with books isn't limited to El Ateneo Grand Splendid, either.

Buenos Aires has more bookstores per capita (nearly 25 per 100,000 residents) than any other city in the world. Books are exempt from Argentina's 21% sales tax, and popular book sites like Amazon don't do business in the country, making brick-and-mortar bookstores an important part of the community.

"Culture is very important to the people of Buenos Aires," Antonio Dalto, business manager for El Ateneo told The Guardian. "Even young kids read books, we see them here every day. Books for teenagers are one of our biggest sellers."

Bookstores and libraries have the power to take you on journeys you never imagined.  

Back in time, deep in space, through history and faraway places, reading brings new ideas and concepts to life. That's why it's so important to celebrate literacy, the written word, and the magnificent spaces that stoke our imaginations.

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Macy's and Girls Inc. believe that all girls deserve to be safe, supported, and valued. However, racial disparities continue to exist for young people when it comes to education levels, employment, and opportunities for growth. Add to that the gender divide, and it's clear to see why it's important for girls of color to have access to mentors who can equip them with the tools needed to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers.

Anissa Rivera is one of those mentors. Rivera is a recent Program Manager at the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc., a nonprofit focusing on the holistic development of girls ages 5-18. The goal of the organization is to provide a safe space for girls to develop long-lasting mentoring relationships and build the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to thrive now and as adults.

Rivera spent years of her career working within the themes of self and community empowerment with young people — encouraging them to tap into their full potential. Her passion for youth development and female empowerment eventually led her to Girls Inc., where she served as an agent of positive change helping to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

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Inspiring young women from all backgrounds is why Macy's has continued to partner with Girls Inc. for the second year in a row. The partnership will support mentoring programming that offers girls career readiness, college preparation, financial literacy, and more. Last year, Macy's raised over $1.3M for Girls Inc. in support of this program along with their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming for more than 26,000 girls. Studies show that girls who participated are more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, score higher on standardized math tests, and be more equipped for college and campus life.

Thanks to mentors like Rivera, girls across the country have the tools they need to excel in school and the confidence to change the world. With your help, we can give even more girls the opportunity to rise up. Throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases or donate online to support Girls Inc. at Macys.com/MacysGives.

Who runs the world? Girls!

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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