What are the best bookstores in Washington D.C.?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Mary Beth Albright

Politics and Prose is hands-down the city's best spot for new books. It's more of a community center than a bookstore, with regular readings by bestselling authors, government officials, and chefs and food personalities. The children's section downstairs has a diverse selection and salespeople with a savant-like knowledge of kids' literature. There's even a small Rabbit Hutch hideaway for kids to page through selections while parents browse. The cafe serves coffee and snacks and is a functional office for many writers and consultants -- plus it's a popular gathering place for moms and tots. The only downside is that Politics and Prose is not metro accessible, but it's worth a cab or bus ride.

If quick access is key, the Barnes & Noble downtown is centrally located near the White House and your best bet for thousands of titles. The two-level store is gigantic, with a stationery section, magazines, a Starbucks Cafe and a large children's section. Perfect for an impromptu gift for almost anyone.

McLean Robbins

Washington is a haven for book lovers and offers several wonderful bookstores for pleasure reading and research alike. This comes as no surprise – the Washington, D.C. area boasts one of the most highly-educated populations in the United States.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Politics & Prose
Known for offering a heavy selection of locally-written titles, Politics and Prose is equally known as a bookstore and a destination to hear prominent local and national authors speak. Considered a Washington, D.C. staple, the store is located on Connecticut Avenue in Van Ness.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Café
Located in Dupont Circle, this incredibly popular bookstore-café combination boasts late hours and a loyal following. The well-stacked selection of fiction and nonfiction is second only to the delicious food. Many a local romance has started over a cup of coffee here!

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