The 10 Best Trader Joe's Stores in the Country—Plus What Makes Them Special, According to Employees

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Calling all Trader Joe's superfans! We just discovered a hidden feature on the website for the supermarket with a cult-like following that might inspire new bucket list adventures: The Top 10 Most Intriguing Trader Joe's Stores.

TJ's is the grocery store that feels most similar to Cheers if you ask us. Familiar "regulars" are stocking the shelves, ringing those bells and scanning products to tuck into customers' bags. And similar to the way that beloved hangout spot on that 1980's sitcom reflected its hometown of Boston, each Trader Joe's location aims to be "a distinct reflection of the neighborhood in which it resides. From the actual physical structure of the store, to the arrangement of the products and displays inside, and, most importantly, its customers and crew, each and every Trader Joe's is different, specific and unique," employees explain in the guide.

So just as how selection varies (your local Trader Joe's may or may not have these hot cocoa ornament bombs yet, but hopefully soon!), each store's decor, view and size varies. Check out the top 10 quirkiest stores in the country to see if you've visited any...or want to add any to your must-visit list.

Trader Joe's store front sign with a design treatment
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

The 10 Best Trader Joe's Stores in the Country—Plus What Makes Them Special, According to Employees

The Busiest: 72nd and Broadway, New York City

Situated two blocks from Central Park, this Upper West Side Manhattan store is three stories tall and features about three times as many crew members and three times as many checkout stands as the typical Trader Joe's.

The Best Wine Selection: Woodland Hills, California

Due to its proximity to several fantastic West Coast grape growing regions, this San Fernando Valley store has the largest wine selection of domestic (California cabernet sauvignons, like this year's best fall wine) and international (Spanish verdejo) vinos. "Stacks and stacks of your favorite Trader Joe's wines await you in Woodland Hills, along with a few special wines you can't find at any other Trader Joe's," crew members say.

Where Friends Feel Like Family: South Pasadena, California

The fact that this location is about half the size of the usual Trader Joe's contributes to its "close, tight-knit community feeling, as customers and crew get to know each other quite well—impromptu mid-aisle dance parties are not uncommon," employees say. (Can we join in?!) Prior to this California store becoming a Trader Joe's, it was Pronto Market; many of the same customers are so loyal, they still shop at the same stop.

The Most Multilingual: Bethesda, Maryland

Found in the second floor of what used to be an office building that housed businesses like insurance firms, the diversity of the staff at this Trader Joe's reflects its multilingual community. "You'll likely hear crew members and customers alike conversing in French, Arabic and Wolof (the language of Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal), in addition to English," employees say.

The Most Eco-Friendly: Pacific Place, San Francisco, California

No need to fight over the closest parking lot spot at this grocery store. There actually isn't a parking lot at all. According to crew members, it's "located in a heavily foot-trafficked street, just a stone's throw away from San Francisco's Moscone Center. Locals on their lunch break shop alongside visiting conventioneers."

The Best for Movie Buffs: Alabama Theatre, Houston, Texas

Fans of films will definitely want to tune in if you're in or around Texas—or have a trip there soon. This Trader Joe's is located inside an old movie theater! With a marquee advertising new products outside and sculptures and decor that celebrate the local art community inside, this TJ's looks pretty trophy-worthy.

The Most Historic: Brooklyn, New York

Sorry, you won't be able to transfer money or deposit checks at the counter (well, unless you use your bank's smartphone app as your products are packed up!), but this northwest Brooklyn store still looks similar to the local branch office of a bank it used to be ... at least on the outside. It even has a plaque that commemorates that George Washington was once stationed here during the Battle of Long Island in 1776. But on the inside, you'll still be able to find those 19-cent bananas, Charles Shaw wine and everything you need to assemble these meal prep-friendly 400-calorie Trader Joe's lunches.

The Smallest: Back Bay, Boston, MA

"Our Back Bay store also carries the confirmed distinction of being the single smallest Trader Joe's in existence," according to staff. To save space, customers line up in one "quickly-moving line" to save space rather than standing in a separate line per check stand.

The Best to Study Up on History: Media, Pennsylvania

Found inside a historically preserved Armory of the 111th Infantry of the Pennsylvania National Guard, this Trader Joe's is positioned above the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum (which you can swing down to in the basement before you fill your cart). Employees say, "Folks from the neighborhood stop on by not just to shop, but reminisce about when the Armory was used by local schools as a gymnasium, and to host sock hops in the 1950s and 60s."

The Oldest: Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, California

True fans might want to make a pilgrimage to the one, the only, the oldest of all TJ's! "The first Trader Joe's is still serving its neighborhood after more than 50 years—and many of our customers have been with us since the very beginning," crew members say.

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