School is back in full swing. Have you found your favorite study spot yet? This year, look beyond the local library and check out one of the many inspiring (and sometimes, unconventional) workspaces the DMV has to offer. Here are a few of our favorite places to hit the books.

oPhoto Credit: The Java Shack via Yelp

Java Shack
Socially-conscious students can get their caffeine (or hot cocoa) fix and help save the earth at the same time while studying at Arlington’s Java Shack. The coffee shop is known for its sustainability efforts, including composting used coffee grounds, offering coffee cups made from corn-based materials, and running exclusively on wind power. Young customers also get a lesson in philanthropy at Java Shack: a portion of the cafe’s profits go to several Arlington-based charities.

2507 Franklin Rd. (Arlington, Va.)
Online: javashack.com

8337986963_8edae9627f_zPhoto: Dottie Day via Flickr

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
There are several spots to get your creative juices flowing at the Smithsonian’s home for contemporary art. Check out the Lerner Room, located on the third floor of the ring-shaped museum. It’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer an amazing view of the National Mall along with tables, chairs, wi-fi access, and a curvy couch that’s perfect for cuddling up with a textbook. You can also bring a blanket with your books and take your studies outdoors to the museum’s sculpture garden.

700 Independence Ave., SW (Downtown)
Online: hirshorn.si.edu

DSCN0405Photo Credit: Ken Mayer via flickr

Hillwood Museum, Estate and Gardens
Whether you’re studying history or horticulture, Hillwood is one of D.C.’s hidden homework gems. Purchased by Marjorie Merriweather Post (as in The Washington Post) in 1955, this estate is home to impressive European art collections as well as 25 acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands. Looking for artistic inspiration? Snag a seat in the Special Collections Library and surround yourself with nearly 38,000 pieces of art. You can also sip tea as you do schoolwork in the estate’s cafe or brush up on local history in Hillwood’s archives.

4155 Linnean Ave., NW (Van Ness)
Online: hillwoodmuseum.org

3781465900_2792a1d7eb_zPhoto: Joevare via Flickr

Kogod Courtyard
Sick of stuffy study spots? Take a trip to Kogod Courtyard, a 28,000-square-foot space filled with natural light, plants, and water scrims. The courtyard also features loads of seating, free wi-fi, and a cafe with brain-boosting snacks like fruit and yogurt parfaits. Housed in the same building as the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museums, the courtyard’s the perfect place for those looking for extra ideas and inspiration.

8th and F Streets (Chinatown)
Online: npg.si.edu

oPhoto Credit: Sarah C. via Yelp

Bump ‘n Grind
Budding Bachs and Bowies alike can get into the homework groove at this Silver Spring cafe/record shop hybrid. Snag a spot in the records nook and curate a personalized study soundtrack using Bump ‘n Grind’s two listening stations. Musicians in the making can also take a spin on community turntables or sample snacks named after local music institutions (Ft. Reno sandwich, anyone?).

1200 East-West Hwy (Silver Spring, Md.)
Online: bumpngrind.co  

15936072656_4e416cff41_z-1Photo Credit: Forsaken Fotos via flickr

Library of Congress
Bookworms young and old will love studying like our forefathers did at the nation’s largest library. The gorgeous Main Reading Room, which is open to those with a LoC-issued ID, is a large circular space where 226 desks are housed under a copper-domed ceiling. Fair warning: this homework haven is also a tourist attraction (translation: thousands of visitors peer through plexiglass at the room during library tours).

101 Independence Ave., SE (Downtown)
Online: loc.gov

Does your crew have a favorite place to cram? Share your study spots in the comments section below.

–Sarah Vogel