The Best Independent Bookstores in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Robert Pearl gives a book talk at Politics and Prose Bookstore
Dr. Robert Pearl gives a book talk at Politics and Prose Bookstore | © Ted Eytan / Flickr

Washington, D.C. is a city of voracious readers. Maybe it’s because it’s home to the Library of Congress? Whatever the reason, locals here are crazy for books – they lined up for the midnight release of Fire and Fury. But it’s not just political reading – the capital was ranked number six on Forbes’ smartest city in the world list last year. Join the crowd: stop by any of these five amazing, independent bookstores and discover your new favorite book.

1. The Potter's House

Bookstore

6318528306_52832b7595_b
© Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Part bookstore, part cafe, part community hangout, The Potter’s House has everything you could ever want. There are readings, live music, and comfy chairs to curl up in. The non-profit bookstore is the best place to hang out and engage in thoughtful conversation.

2. Kramerbooks & Afterwords

Bookstore

1907748889_4ecbac58ab_b
© Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Enjoy a good book and glass of wine at this indie bookstore/cafe. Kramerbooks & Afterwords is the perfect place to find the hottest books and “checkout” fellow bibliophiles (that was a book pun for you). Scour the calendar before going and attend a reading.

3. Politics and Prose Bookstore

Bookstore

3. Politics and Prose Bookstore
© Politics and Prose Bookstore/Flickr
A D.C. staple, Politics and Prose is home to 18 in-house bookclubs and offers numerous events and speakers. More than a charming bookstore, it is also a printing press that helps local authors self-publish. Hole up at “The Den,” a cozy coffeehouse and bar, and delve into the latest political thriller. You might even catch the Obamas picking up a new read.

4. Idle Time Books

Bookstore

143585679_57017dda6b_o
© kmf164 / Flickr

Ready for a blast from the past? Idle Time Books specializes in used and out-of-print titles. Get lost among the three floors and pick up a rare first edition. You can also browse CDs, greeting cards, and old magazines. It’s the perfect oasis on the busy 18th Street.

5. Capitol Hill Books

Bookstore

39518197282_c2f9db3899_k
© LWYang / Flickr

Get ready for an amazing treasure hunt at Capitol Hill Books. This store specializes in used books and is a reader’s paradise. The small and helpful staff will help you find a specific title or you can browse the two floors for whatever takes your fancy. You can also drop off used books that you have finished.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

close-ad
Edit article