The best study spots outside of Foggy Bottom

Gelman Library’s newly renovated first floor will likely fill up quickly this semester, so here are a few study spots where you can crank out that term paper and enjoy a little scenery change, too.

If you want a quiet atmosphere…
The Library of Congress is an obvious choice – but have you ever actually studied there? Once you’ve trekked over to Capitol South and picked up your library card, you’ll want to spend your next four years there. Just be prepared, because you can’t bring a large bag into its reading rooms.

Head to the National Portrait Gallery and settle underneath the light-filled, glass canopy in the Kogod Courtyard. There’s free Wi-Fi and a cafe open until 6:30 p.m. For a study break, head to the gallery’s esteemed Portraits of the Presidents collection, which houses one of only three replicas of George P.A. Healy’s portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.

If you want a laid-back atmosphere

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Busboys and Poets, a classic U Street jaunt with slam poetry readings, can also be a great place to study.

With slam poetry, a sustainable menu and Harlem Renaissance-themed decor, Busboys and Poets is a hipster favorite across D.C. Founded in 2005, the restaurant and the adjoining bookshop are known for promoting social justice and drawing diverse crowds. Choose its U Street location for the best atmosphere.

For those who crave caffeine, Saxbys coffee shop has locations in both Georgetown and Dupont Circle that attract students for a casual study spot. Both have plenty of outlets to keep your laptop charged, and offer specialty coffees, smoothies, sandwiches and salads, so you’d be able to stay for a while.

If you want to study outside…
Rather than heading to the lawn of the National Mall – where your book pages will blow away and you won’t be able to see your laptop – head to the staircase behind the Lincoln Memorial where it’s shady and covered. Besides keeping your distance from noisy tourists, you’ll also have a view of the Potomac River and Arlington – easily one of the best views the city has to offer.

Maybe you’ve been to the National Sculpture Garden for jazz and sangria Friday afternoons, but you can also enjoy this grassy corner of the Mall as a peaceful outdoor study spot. Not feeling the benches or the poolside steps? The Pavilion Cafe has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as to-die-for desserts including croissants, eclairs and napoleons. The six-acre garden is just five Metro stops away from campus at the Smithsonian, or a walk there takes less than half an hour.

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