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.

The Potter's House


© 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.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords


© 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.

Politics and Prose Bookstore


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.

Idle Time Books


© 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.

Capitol Hill Books


© 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 trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip 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 — and this is still in our DNA today. 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 certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.