Best off-campus study spot
Location: Eighth and F Streets
Readers’ pick: Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery
For those who find Gelman Library too cramped or the Milken Institute School of Public Health too crowded, studying at Kogod Courtyard in the National Portrait Gallery is worth the walk or Metro ride across town.
Located at Eighth and F Streets in downtown D.C., the Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard offers both a peaceful spot to cram for exams and cultured study breaks to admire the art.
Armed with your laptop and textbooks, head straight to the courtyard, which sits in the center of the building between the Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
With glass roofing crimped in a wave-like pattern and trickling fountains, the courtyard has all the joys of the outdoors – like bright light, trees and open space – without having to worry about the weather.
The courtyard’s soothing water basins and bright natural light give the space a peaceful feel – making it an ideal study spot. The extra high ceilings allow for the sound to disperse, which makes the hustle and bustle of this generally lively space sound like a light hum.
The space also serves as a large cafe so you can easily refuel with coffee or a light sandwich or quiche after studying. Because you’re inside a museum, this courtyard also has a built-in productive study break where you can learn something from exploring the art but still feel refreshed.
Upon finishing a study session in this public space, you’ll feel like you absorbed some of the culture surrounding you from the art, instead of feeling like you just woke up from a nap inside your textbook in the library.