Where to Find Great Bookstores in Washington, D.C.


Renee Sklarew, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., recommends her favorite bookstores and best places to read in her hometown.

Favorite Bookstores

The iconic bookstore Politics and Prose in Cleveland Park features weekly book chats, signings, readings, and celebrations. Politics and Prose has enormous influence over the launch of nonfiction books that permeate the Washington, D.C. landscape. Their goal: “to facilitate the relationship between books and authors and readers.”

Open 24 hours on the weekends, Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café in Dupont Circle is a bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, outdoor patio, bar, hangout place, pick-up joint, and a cool place to linger.


On Wednesday through Saturday nights, a wide variety of musicians perform live.


Named for poet Langston Hughes, who once worked in Washington, D.C ., as a busboy, Busboys and Poets is a bookstore, restaurant, and performance venue.

An Iraqi-American artist founded this community gathering place to promote liberal thinking and provide “a space for art, culture, and politics to intentionally collide.”

Best Places to Read

More than 151 million items, including the largest rare book collection in North America, are stored at three buildings that make up the Library of Congress. Adjacent to the U.S. Capitol, only researchers may enter the reading rooms, but visitors may peruse some highlights of the collection, such as the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s personal book collection.

A huge collection of manuscripts, artwork, and books related to William Shakespeare are available for scholars at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill. There’s also a museum for visitors.

Best Desserts

Now that you visited bookstores and libraries, it is time for some amazing dessert! Nowhere else but at Baked & Wired in Georgetown will you find so many irresistible baked goods to go with your latté. In several locations throughout the city, including Dupont Circle, Dolcezza serves artisan gelato with Italian espresso. Co Co Sala is a chocolate lover’s paradise. Good Stuff Eatery has the most delicious homemade milkshakes.

The best macaroons can be found at Olivia Macaron. The most imaginative desserts are at MomoFuku MilkbarGeorgetown Cupcakes is the dynasty featured on a television reality show that became an American obsession. Can’t eat a whole pie? Then buy some cuppies at Pie Sisters, the irresistible mini pies perfect for one, in sweet and savory flavors.

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Photo credits:
Kramerbooks Exterior: By Elvert Barnes (Flickr: 02.Friday.KramerBooks.DCN.WDC.06jul07) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Kramerbooks Interior: By AgnosticPreachersKid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Busboys and Poets Interior: By Daniel Lobo [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Busboys and Poets Outside: By Tony Webster from Portland, Oregon, United States (Busboys and Poets – 5th & K – DC) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Great Hall of the Library of Congress: By Diliff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Folger Shakespeare Library: AgnosticPreachersKid at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0] or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons
Good Stuff Eatery Banana Foster Shake and Georgetown Cupcakes: By Kim (Uploaded by JohnnyMrNinja) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Olivia Macaron courtesy of Renee Sklarew


  1. Liliane July 11, 2017Reply

    So happy to read that you had a good visit and that our book was of help planning your trip.

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