Reading Nooks: Best Places to Bring a Book in D.C.

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Junior loves books, but always reading in the same places–probably sprawled across his bed–can get real old, real fast. D.C. is full of perfect little reading nooks for you and your mini-reader to lose yourselves in a book. We asked Jordan Lloyd Bookey, mom of two tots and co-founder of (a curated book-a-month service for little ones), to share her fave spots to read with kids. So long sofa!


Frying Pan Park
Pull out the animal books! This hidden gem boasts an old school carousel, a working farm, and so many cozy spots with shade. After you read about Charlotte’s Web or Little Blue Truck, check out the farm’s real pigs and cows. Swing by the playground to run off extra steam or the snack shop for post story time munchies.

The sweet spot: Plop down on one of the benches under the trees near the carousel. Or, sit on one of the farm’s small tractors where you can read while they watch the animals.

2709 W Ox Rd. (Herndon, Va)


Lincoln Memorial
This monument is amazing for people watching, and the steps are perfect because you can always find a bit of shade or sun. It’s bustling, so a bit distracting, but there is nothing like reading books about D.C. or American history (think: Abe Lincoln’s Dream) under Abe’s shadow. Not to mention, kids can run around the National Mall or walk along the water afterwards.

The sweet spot: The far left or right of the monument’s steps are flanked by shrubbery and trees, making it ideal for reading.

2 Lincoln Memorial Cir., NW (National Mall)


Petworth Neighborhood Library
Whether it’s your neighborhood library or not, Petworth is worth a check out. Their story time is top notch, with themed readings like the Pajama Story Time and Stuffed Animals Sleepover offered during the fall. They have a cute Teddy Bear Picnic during the spring, where kids bring their teddy bears for outdoor story time and snacks.

The sweet spot: The library has a bunch of windows, so it’s full of natural light. Find a cozy spot under one of those windows (the kid’s section is especially cute); you won’t want to leave.

4200 Kansas Ave., NW (Petworth)


Brookside Gardens
When there isn’t construction going on, this 50 acre botanical garden is one of the quietest places in D.C. Fountains, benches, and sculptures are the perfect backdrop for a family story time. The occasional wedding is there too, so kids can watch the bride and groom decked out in their finest getting their photos taken. There is green space galore for little ones to run free and burn off that extra energy.<

The sweet spot: When there aren’t any programs going on, the newish Children’s Garden is a fun spot to crack open a book. Surrounded by colorful flowers, “alphabet plants,” and topiaries, we couldn’t think of a better place to read a story that starts with “Once upon a time…”.

1800 Glenallan Ave. (Wheaton, Md)

Where do you love to read with your kids? Tell us in the Comments section below. 

—Sonya Gavankar

Photos courtesy of Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Friends of Frying Pan Park via Facebook, Jeremy_Schultz via Flickr. Brookside Gardens via Facebook, D.C. Public Library via Facebook