Fall has officially begun. It’s time to break out your favorite cozy sweaters and leather boots and breathe in the crisp autumn air all around us. At home, I would always welcome fall by siting outside on my front porch with a cup of tea and a homemade dessert. There are some major perks to having a sister who is a pastry chef and a mother who bakes yummy treats. Away at school, I recreate my autumn tradition by going for a walk around Georgetown and, of course, treating myself to a pumpkin spice latte and a little something sweeter on the side.

Washington, D.C., and, more specifically, Georgetown, have become famous for their cupcakes. Walking on M Street alone, you will find the “Big Three”: Georgetown Cupcake, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Baked & Wired. If you are in the know, then you probably skip the long lines outside Georgetown Cupcake and avoid walking down 34th Street entirely — nobody wants to deal with all of those tourists — and venture to Sprinkles or  my personal favorite cupcake shop, Baked & Wired.

My sweet tooth has brought me to all of these cupcakeries, and I must admit that not all cupcakes are baked equally. Fortunately, each place sells distinctive gluten-free cupcakes and other gluten-free treats, so you can still indulge with the rest of your friends. Here are my evaluations on the gluten-free treats in Georgetown:

Georgetown Cupcakes (3301 M St. NW)
Pros: closest to campus, opportunity to get your quintessential picture in front of Georgetown Cupcake and variety (gluten-free cupcake flavors change daily).

Cons: typically long lines, limited seating and the priciest for the smallest cupcake.

Overall: If you have time to wait in a long line, it is definitely worth the short walk from campus. My personal favorite is the gluten-free chocolate salted caramel. The cake is surprisingly light, but the frosting can easily overpower the airy cake. The best time to go is anytime during the week (there are way fewer tourists!) or bright and early on weekends.

Sprinkles Cupcakes (3015 M St. NW)
Pros: red velvet cupcake — enough said, separate storage for minimized cross-contamination between gluten-free and regular.

Cons: pretty far walk, only offers red velvet gluten-free cupcakes and barely any seating.

Overall: Sprinkles is the only place in Georgetown serving a gluten-free red velvet cupcake. The cupcake itself is comparable to Georgetown Cupcakes — light cake but heavy frosting. Even though there is extremely limited seating, the Old Stone House is closeby, and it has a gorgeous garden in the back where you can sit and enjoy your cupcake and the fall weather.

Baked & Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St. NW)
Pros: lots of gluten-free options (brownies, cupcakes, cookies and more), good bang for your buck and line moves quickly.

Cons: pretty far walk, gluten-free options vary depending on day and time and different lines for food and drink, which can be a doubly long wait.

Overall: I’ve yet to leave empty-handed or unsatisfied from Baked & Wired, it is always worth the trek. I prefer the brownies and blondies to the gluten-free cupcakes, but they are very dense so be sure to get a drink to help wash it down. If there aren’t any seats left and the weather is nice out, you can enjoy your treats on the Waterfront. Dessert and a view: Is there anything better than that?

No matter how you typically welcome fall, I definitely recommend going to any (and all) of these delicious places. They all have the necessary caffeinated beverages to help you work through midterms and give you a great excuse to actually enjoy fall weather and step outside the front gates, even if it is just down to M Street.

Christina Wing is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business. GLUTEN FREEDOM appears every other Friday in the guide.

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