Where in DC to sit and read for a few hours?
September 9, 2018 8:42 PM   Subscribe

The Mister and I are in DC. He wants to go to some museums. I am having hip and back pain and mobility challenges so I’d rather find a cafe with a comfy chair where I can read for a few hours. Where should I go that is within 2 blocks of Metro or bus lines, near to the Smithsonian complex, Dupont Circle, or points between? I found this question that’s 5 years old.
posted by matildaben to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can take the 42 bus from Dupont Circle (or starting at 9th and F, close to the Mall) to Tryst in Adams Morgan. Comfy seating galore along with friendly staff and a nice menu. Memail me if you want some company!
posted by argonauta at 9:06 PM on September 9, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am a big fan of the Hirshhorn for its art and beautiful setting. The cafe is nice, too, if the offerings are limited. The inside can get loud but outside is lovely although rain is expected for the next few days. The Botanic Gardens don't have a cafe but are gorgeous outside and in. I've been to a number of DC libraries and find them so pleasant, too.
posted by smorgasbord at 9:40 PM on September 9, 2018


Go to Gallery Place Metro, location of the big square building which contains two Smithsonian museums: the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum. Between them is a covered courtyard which contains a cafe. There's also one upstairs, and some nice restaurants outside. Note that this location is several blocks from the Smithsonian 'complex' which is actually the national mall (the big open space between the Capitol and the Washington Monument). Alternatively, if you're around the Mall try the two non-Smithsonian (but still free) museums there, the National Gallery of Art and its contemporary East Wing. The basement space between these two contains one of the best dining options convenient to most of the Smithsonian museums, and the original National has many lesser-attended rooms with old art and sometimes comfy couches, where one can sit and read for hours.
posted by Rash at 9:41 PM on September 9, 2018 [3 favorites]


No one has had any Dupont Circle recommendations yet, so I hereby recommend Emissary at 20th and P. It has a lot of space, comfy chairs, and good coffee - that combo is very rare in Dupont. You can also pick up an extra book or two at the excellent Second Story Books just a block away at 21st and P.
posted by deeparch at 4:58 AM on September 10, 2018


Kramerbooks is also a nice cafe/indie bookstore in Dupont Circle if you wanted to cycle through a couple of comfy coffee shops while you're there.
posted by helloimjennsco at 7:03 AM on September 10, 2018


My favorite spot in DC for reading, studying, and just generally finding quiet for a few hours is the Library of Congress Main Reading Room, which is a block and a half from the Capitol South Metro station - you'll need a Reader Identification Card, but you can pre-register for one online and then get it when you arrive at the library.
posted by The World Famous at 9:05 AM on September 10, 2018 [1 favorite]


Some ideas closer to the Smithsonian: The new East Building of the National Gallery of Art has a nice cafe with some padded, booth-like seats. The main cafe has just hard chairs. You can head to the Starbucks at 3rd and Pennsylvania, which is not your normal Starbucks - it has a really nice, quiet upstairs, including a few armchairs. A few more blocks down Pennsylvania is Bourbon Coffee, which has armchairs in the bay window area. There's also a Philz Coffee in Navy Yard.
posted by yarly at 9:13 AM on September 10, 2018


Another vote for Emissary!! That's just what you want!
posted by mccxxiii at 10:38 AM on September 10, 2018


I love Kramerbooks so that's my top rec!
posted by dame at 11:08 AM on September 10, 2018


I’m at Emissary - super chill, but only a small number of upholstered chairs and they are vintage so not super arthritis-friendly.
posted by matildaben at 12:17 PM on September 10, 2018


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