Washington D.C. is a bibliophile’s dream spot. Get ready to read in DC!
Whether you’re reading for business, pleasure, or both, there’s a myriad of places all around the city that are ideal for holing up with a book.
You’re no longer restricted to commercial chain coffee spots that offer harsh lighting, overpriced drinks, and zero ambiance. How does turning your pages in some of the most beautiful gardens in D.C. sound?
Today, we’re sharing a guide to some of the most unexpectedly excellent places to read around the city.
Grab your bookmark, head out of your Dupont Circle Apartment, and let’s go!
1. Mitsitam Native Foods Café
Sure, you could plug in your headphones and play a melody of relaxing water sounds from YouTube.
Or, you could set up shop right beside an actual waterfall, and let the soothing trickle set the tone for a day of diving into your latest tale.
Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe is a cafeteria-style restaurant located on the main level of the National Museum of the American Indian.
With an incredible menu that showcases indigenous dishes from the Western Hemisphere, this isn’t just a great spot to read.
In fact, the name of the restaurant itself means “Let’s eat!” in the Delaware Indian language.
You can grab one of the best meals in the city while you’re here! Take your pick from five centers that feature seasonal, rotating items ranging from seafood and poultry dishes to vegetarian-friendly fare.
For the most sensory-rich experience, grab a seat near a window, and face one of the many breathtaking waterfalls that dot the museum’s landscape.
2. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café
If you’re after the quintessential indie bookstore experience, you can’t miss Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café.
There aren’t many frills at this local favorite, but that’s exactly what makes it such a beloved spot. When it opened in 1976, Kramerbooks was the first bookstore/café in D.C. Through the years, it’s seen multiple expansions and location changes, but its customer base has remained devoted.
In addition to inviting reading spots and shelves stocked with the latest releases, the on-site cafe serves up delicious, locally-sourced American fare, along with beer, wine, and cocktails.
From breakfast omelets to late-night small plates, this spot will keep your mind and belly full from sun-up to sundown. There’s also a weekly calendar of events that include children’s storytime, live jazz music, workshops, and more.
In a world bent on chain stores, this independent book shop is one of the longest-standing examples of the old-fashioned, literary way of life! Bring your favorite or discover a new one, and reserve an afternoon to reflect.
3. The National Gallery of Art Library and Garden
A museum that piques your interest offers a variety of quiet study spots and includes some of the nation’s most beautiful exhibitions as eye candy?
Count us in.
The National Gallery of Art is one of D.C.’s most prized locations, and for a good reason.
The venue is always free to visit and features one of the most expansive, tech-savvy libraries in the city.
The National Gallery of Art Library serves as a major research hub for the gallery’s staff members.
It also supports teams at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts as well as other scholars looking for a place to learn and reflect.
If you’re simply looking to get started on that fiction tome, you promised you’d finish this year.
You’ll find plenty of lounge chairs, spaces, and spots to relax. Or, you can also connect into the library’s massive online catalog, known as Mercury, for instant access to a vast collection of books and journal articles.
Either way, bring your supplies and plan to spend a few hours here. The atmosphere is an ideal reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city!
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
When you’re ready to head back into the real world, don’t leave the museum without stopping by the Sculpture Garden!
A great place to read in its own right, this 6.1-acre block features show-stopping creations from some of the city’s most prominent artists.
In addition to the sculptures themselves, the garden is also home to canopy trees, shrubs, flowering trees, and beautiful perennials.
There’s also an impressive fountain, which transforms into an ice-skating rink when temperatures dip, offering plenty of wintertime fun!
If you get hungry, the adjacent self-service Pavilion Café offers year-round quick bites with indoor seating!
4. Read in DC on The Morning Metro
What’s that? We’re suggesting that you ride the Metro and read?
Hear us out.
Everyone is looking for a quiet ride to doze off or read a great book. On the Metro, you can also people-watch and save the environment, all at the same time!
When you visit, you can take a ride back into the 1970s! Some of the original metro train cars still in operation feature mustard yellow seats and carpet.
For the quietest time to read, we suggest beginning your journey early in the morning, when the commuter numbers are lowest.
This is the ideal way to spend a free day! You’ll get to explore your hometown and get lost in a fantasy land within the pages of your favorite paperback, all at the same time.
Ride, read, and revisit it all again when you’re done!
Read and Explore the Gardens in D.C. and More
There are few combinations as thrilling as a great book and a few hours to spare.
If you’re looking for the best places to read in D.C., you’ve got plenty of options at your fingertips. The best part? You can get as creative as you want!
All of these lovely nooks and crannies are just a hop and a skip away from our apartments.
Read your way around the city, and create your own story in the comfort of our apartment homes!
Looking to begin a new chapter, begin your apartment hunt in DC today.