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National Portrait Gallery Courtyard Cafe

national portrait gallery courtyard cafe -

The National Portrait Gallery Courtyard Cafe is the loveliest damn thing on the planet. For reals. (Yeah, I just said for reals. So sue me.)

Now, don’t be all, “Galleries are stupid and portrait galleries are especially stupid because portraits themselves are stupid except for the ones I take with my iPhone and my special halo lighting and the selfie stick I carry that would make me look like a complete goofball if I weren’t so monumentally hip.”

I’m talking about the National Portrait Gallery Courtyard Cafe, not the gallery itself. I biked over from Mount Rainier, Maryland, and spent nearly zero time in the gallery (my bad) and hours in the cafe for 12 weeks straight (my good). In my world, coffee > art + learning. In my world, the > and < symbols are also interchangeable, meaning I have no idea which one means more and which one means less.

But I digress. As I was saying before I was hypothetically interrupted (by you, of all people), the National Portrait Gallery’s Courtyard Cafe is the best kept secret in town.

Here’s why:

  • The gallery is part of the Smithsonian Institution, meaning it’s free.
  • The gallery is located right off the Gallery Place metro, which is convenient to everything on the planet so long as those planetary things are in DC.
  • The courtyard is temperature controlled, so it’s comfortable to sit in year round.
  • It has free Wi-Fi. Whoop-whoop!
  • Phenom people watching alert.
  • You can bring your own food and beverage. You heard me right.
  • It’s open from 11:30-7:00 daily, and during those hours you can stay as long as you’d like.

Yesterday, groups of school kids danced by, tan-suited government employees arrived in batches with bag lunches from noon to two, and a man and woman who both looked like Andy Warhol fell asleep on a nearby bench.

Two complaints: They don’t open til 11:30? What’s that about? Also, I sure could use an electrical outlet. I’m just saying.

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