Five coffee places to study off-campus this finals season
Take your studying sessions beyond the AU bubble at these study spots
Library too crowded? Want a break from your usual coffee routine? Need to focus on your school work instead of socializing on the quad? It’s easy to feel trapped on campus when you’re spending most of your time studying there.
Switching up your surroundings is beneficial for productivity. These off-campus study spots are sure to keep you in grind-mode during finals while still enjoying the spring season.
Compass Coffee is the closest escape within proximity of AU—it’s close enough to take the red route shuttle, but far enough that it’s beyond the AU bubble. Just a short walk from the Spring Valley stop, this newly-opened coffee shop offers an open, well-lit study spot that is just right for your grind time.
The cafe has a variety of seating options.— Chairs surround large tables and align countertops, couches are arranged by the fireplace and individual tables face the bustling street. On weekends, families often hover around the play area, but weekdays are much more quiet.
Compass Coffee also provides fast and free Wi-Fi, and its music selection varies depending on the day. Unlike typical radio station tunes or Spotify playlists queued to perfection, Compass Coffee uses a “Specialized Audio Selection System” which assesses the atmosphere of the space and searches through every recorded song to gauge the appropriate volume and music to play.
When it comes to food and beverages, Compass sells a wide variety of cold and hot coffee, tea, and a selection of grab-and-go breakfast and lunch items for low prices.
Nearest location: 4850 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Directions: Take the red route shuttle bus to the Spring Valley stop
The Den at Politics and Prose
Take a 15-minute walk from the Tenleytown metro stop and you’ll find yourself at the intimate bookstore of Politics and Prose. Beneath the well-loved shop is the Den, a cozy, tight-knit area with plenty of wooden tables for both group and individual study sessions.
If you head there on a weekend, make sure to use a hotspot; the Den doesn’t offer Wi-Fi on weekends, or on weekdays from noon-2 p.m. because of crowding. The space also offers a variety of coffee and food options that pair well with a good book.
Nearest Location: 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Directions: Take the blue or red route shuttle bus to the Tenleytown stop
Joe & the Juice
With a cozy, modern look adorned with vintage art and dim lighting, Joe & the Juice is the ideal off-campus study location for health addicts and lovers of aesthetically-pleasing cafes. Though the juices and sandwiches are somewhat pricey, the quality and taste is one that is hard to beat.
Joe & the Juice is a spacious environment that is generally quiet, as there are only a few tables for parties larger than 3. This study spot offers the perfect combination of chill urban, pop, and jazz music—tracks that make it easy to concentrate while studying. The cafe even has its curated public playlists online in case you want to take these calm vibes home.
Nearest location: 7263 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Directions: Take the Metro’s red line to Bethesda
If you’re in the mood for a trendy coffee experience, head to Philz. The cafe has unique hot and iced coffee such as the hazelnut and chocolate “Philtered Soul” medium blend and the “Canopy of Heaven,” a lighter blend that’s made with herbs, citrus and strawberries.
In terms of atmosphere,Philz is a modern, open space with light R&B and hip-hop humming in the background.
While the coffee and food items have a higher ticket price than other coffee shops, the eccentric taste of their signature drinks paired with a contemporary atmosphere make a nice off-campus retreat.
Nearest location: 7247 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814
Directions: Take the red line metro to Bethesda
Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery
If you’re looking for a break from the coffee shop scene entirely, The Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery could be the place to go. With elevated ceilings and plenty of natural light, this popular work spot provides a calming atmosphere sure to help you concentrate.
This location provides serenity in the middle of the bustling museum with its abundance of greenery and unique water features. It also offers the best study break— a quick lap around the gallery.
The Kogod Courtyard provides free wifi and even has a cafe with a seasonal menu in case you need an afternoon pick-me-up.
Nearest Location 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Directions: Take the red line to Gallery Place
Even though the American University lives in boasts a unique location at the heart of political change, sometimes it’s easier to yet it’s all too easy to spend off-days on campus. No matter how you like to study, D.C.’s filled with all kinds of unique study spots. Why not take your finals studying elsewhere for a change?