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Guide to the Best Bookshops and Coffee Spots in Washington D.C.

July 5, 2018

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A sunny gal from Cali living in the south of France. I adore slow living, magic, and celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I’m a self-proclaimed Disney nerd (as is my husband!), obsessed with cats and cocoa, and you can often find me swimming with the fishies in the salty sea. Come along and enjoy the magic, the simple joys of life with me...

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As you may tell from my latest New York blog post, the first things I love to venture out to during my travels are independent bookshops and coffee spots. I get more work and reading time done in a buzzing coffee shop than I do when I’m on the road or working from the quiet tranquility of my home. As one of my final Washington D.C. blog posts beforeI move over to Europe, I thought I’d celebrate with my favorite go-to coffee spots and book shops. These are local establishments I’ve been spending my days working in for the last year. May these spots inspire your travels if you ever venture your way over to the nation’s capital!

Coffee Spots

Un Je Ne Sais Quoi

This open and naturally-lit pastry and coffee shop is known for it’s popular Merveilleux (“wonderful” in French) – a sweet meringue lightly filled with whipped cream and coated in chocolate shavings. Their cream puffs, tarts and chocolate bread pudding cake are delicious!  The glistening pastries are delicately placed in glass vases It’s a perfect place to bring your laptop and work with views of the city streets!

Malmaison

Tryst

My favorite laid-back coffee shop in the hipster corner of Adams Morgan, Tryst has lots of interesting mix & matched furniture, eclectic designs, and the best chocolate mousse cheesecake and cappuccinos! There is nothing that brings me more joy than finding my favorite nook in their cozy couch next to a warm lamp and opening up a new novel with chocolate mousse to my left. The cafe is spacious, with lots of young hipsters typing away at their laptops, and live music plays often! You can’t miss this coffee spot.

The Coffee Bar

Quiet, small and cozy, this naturally lit coffee shop is on S Street right across from the National Geographic museum. Their cappuccinos are amazing, and I love some quiet time here people-watching on a bar stool after exploring the museums.

Bread Furst Bakery

Located on Connecticut Avenue NW, this little hidden gem is directly across the street from my favorite hiking spot Soapstone Valley Trail! This charming spot bakes fresh loaves of bread, gourmet lunch takeaways, hot drinks and an abundant of assorted breads and pastries. It’s cozy and reminds me a of European bakery that I’d find tucked away in the rural countryside of France. Note that this is not a good spot to work on your laptop, as the company and staff encourage lively conversation over technology.

Baked and Wired

Two words: Chocolate. Doom. These humongous cupcakes are out of this world amazing. With names like “Elvis Impersonator AKA The Unporked Elvis” (Banana cupcake topped with peanut butter frosting and drizzled with chocolate and bacon) and “Pretty Bitchin'” (Chocolate cake with a crunchy peanut butter frosting) – these cupcakes are too interesting to not look at in their pretty glass jars and taste! I always get the Chocolate Doom, as I’m obsessed with all things chocolate. I highly recommend stopping in if you’re in the Georgetown area!

Books

Bridge Street Books

Politics and Prose at the Wharf

While I love the books in this shop (they have a whole Pocket Lonely Planet section!), I adore this bookstore because of all the neat little stationary trinkets. Jane Austen cards, notebooks and cards, pens, and funny little knick knacks are located in the front of the store, and I spend most of my time amused by all the fun little goodies. This shop is located in the District Square to the right of the newly renovated – and heavily populated – Wharf.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords

While I love this store and all of that new book smell, this place is incredibly popular and is always crowded when I visit – not the best thing for a sensitive introvert like me. But the book selection is always remarkable! I love their photography book collection, coffee table books and new fiction arrivals – which are always prominiently dispalyed in their front window. If you’re feeling hungry, you also have

Idle Time Books

One of my favorite used and out-of-print bookshops, this cute shop is located right next door to Tryst in Adams Morgan! It’s quiet and simple and easy to browse it’s multi-level shop. Plus, it just feels nice supporting a small establishment that has been here since the early 80s!

 

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I'm Helena, your new kindred spirit.

Sunny free-spirit, writer and creator in love with documenting the simple joys of life. I am passionate about noticing light and truth around me and reflecting it back to others.

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