Locals sing the praises of this little cafe tucked in the shadow of Washington National Cathedral. Hovering over the Bishop’s Garden, Open City at the Cathedral opened in the old baptistery (built in 1904) in 2014. The exterior of this compact Gothic stone building looks like a hobbit hole, but inside, soaring ceilings painted a deep blue give an airy feeling to the space. Locals, visitors to the Cathedral and students from nearby St. Alban’s and National Cathedral School jam the space throughout the day. In fair weather, iron tables are set up al fresco in the shadow of the Cathedral, and the neighborhood pups loll in the shade.
Open City is an offshoot of Tryst, in Adams Morgan, and serves its signature Italian coffees and tea drinks, served with animal crackers to dunk. For eats, pick from to-die-for baked goods and plenty of vegetarian options among the selection of healthy light brunch and lunch fare. Pay at the counter, and a cheerful server will find you with your order. Pro tip: salads are available in half-portions, perfect if you want to try the house-made soup alongside (you do!).