Best DC Book Stores for Browsing and Meet-ups

The leaves are changing, there’s an ever so slight chill in the air. It’s the perfect time of year to be extra bookish. Below are some of the best bookstores for browsing and checking out hosted events.

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Best Bookstores for Browsing:

Capitol Hill Books

Located @ 657 C Street SE
Washington, DC 20003


Small, jam packed with volumes, and right next door to a terrific gelato shop and the Eastern Market, Capitol Hill books has to be my absolute favorite bookstore in all of DC. They normally have what I am looking for (and lot’s of novels I never realized I needed) and there’s something charming about how stuffed the store is. Nothing is quite like the thrill of feeling like a stack of books could bury you at any moment.


Second Story

2000 P St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(sister branch in Rockville, MD)

For all of your narrative needs, visit Second Story. A mix of used, some new, and also some special edition volumes as well as antique prints, Second Story is conveniently located right off Dupont Circle and is open fairly late. It’s the perfect spot to kill time while you wait for a bus or to visit after a happy hour.


Idle Time

2467 18th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009


Located right next to Tryst, Idle Time is the perfect place to spend your idle time. Here you can find more used books, first editions, and a charming bright green storefront. Idle Time is a good place to browse, and they are also great for unique cards and they even sell some games.


Best Bookstores for Events & Meet-ups:

Politics & Prose/Busboys & Poets

Multiple Locations

Readings, signings, book club meetings, OH MY! Most DC residents are familiar with Politics & Prose, but if you haven’t been to this Connecticut Avenue treasure, you have to check it out. Not only does Politics & Prose have a terrific selection, but they also host lots of events and recently renovated their downstairs cafe – The Den. Politics & Prose and Busboys & Poets are part of the same franchise with multiple locations around the DC Metro Area.

Related: The Lit-Nerd’s Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Book Nook


Upshur Street Books

827 Upshur St NW
Washington, DC 20011


Upshur has been on my to-visit list for a long time now. A new public book group hosted by Book Riot called “Read Harder” meets at this store. The monthly event is meant for anyone who loves books to meet up – no reading assignment needed. Attendees simply have to have read a book at some time in their life in order to participate (and ostensibly be passionate about books). Apart from helping to facilitate this charming book lover meet-up, this book nook on Upshur also boasts readings, signings, panels, and SING-ALONGS!



1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Just Above Dupont Circle | Q St. Metro Exit

Kramerbooks has food, wine, new books for sale, and plenty of events year round. Also located in Dupont, Kramerbooks welcomes patrons with a cozy bar scene, restaurant toward the back of the store, and outdoor seating for the summer months. Their events include readings, signings, and panel discussions. Check out a detailed listing of upcoming events on their website.


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Elaina Hundley

Elaina Hundley is an education professional with a passion for cozy, affordable home decor. She loves coffee, watching "Fixer Upper," and tries to read and write as much as she can in her free time.

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