Although D.C. isn’t known as being a shopping hotspot in quite the same way as, say, New York City, there are actually an abundance of great shopping areas to wander in search of that perfect new handbag or just the right pair of jeans. Whether you’re looking for high-end boutique fashion or the best bargain to be had, you’re sure to find it in Washington, D.C. Traveling with other members of the family who aren’t so interested in the latest offerings from Marc Jacobs? Give them a few Washington DC Explorer Passes® and send them on their way to explore the city while you shop ‘til you drop. With all the money they’ll be saving on attraction visits, you’ll end up with a bigger budget for your own endeavors.
GeorgetownGeorgetown (the neighborhood named after the nearby University) is one of the most popular shopping districts in the city for tourists and locals alike. Here you’ll find a great mix of designer boutiques (Intermix and CUSP are favorites for a wide selection), individual brand stores like rag & bone or Michael Kors, as well as more mainstream stores like Banana Republic, City Sports, and H&M. Stroll down M Street to window shop and pop into a few places that interest you. While most stores are individual storefronts along the street, there is a self-contained mall that includes top shops like Anthropologie, J.Crew, and T.J. Maxx. Don’t forget to stop by Georgetown Cupcake for a treat!
Old Town AlexandriaNamed one of the DC area's top shopping destinations by the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, Old Town Alexandria is DC's boutique row offering visitors a variety of goods from over 30 specialty retailers and a small-town feel. The cobblestone streets, lacquered wooden store signs, and proximity to the water lend to its quaint aesthetic. Whether you're looking for hostess gifts, in-season fashion, or unique home decor, the shops in Old Town cater to everyone. Start on King Street (where it intersects with South Payne Street) and make your way towards the water. If you're hungry, there will be lots of fun restaurants, bars, and novelty shops along the way too.
Dupont CircleThis area has less in the way of mainstream stores but a wider selection of quirky, unique shops. Although you will find new clothes at places like LOFT, you’re more likely to find an impressive selection of secondhand choices at places like Secondi. Dupont is also home to one of the best independent bookstores in the city –Kramerbooks (and the Afterwords Café in the rear) – an eclectic bead and accessory store, Proper Topper (a hat store which also sells designer clothes, picture frames, and children’s toys – I know, a very odd combination, but I’ve found some excellent stuff there), plus a number of salons and makeup shops.
U StreetThis neighborhood is less frequented by tourists but is beloved by locals for its diverse variety of shops and restaurants. You’ll find a generous selection of independent clothing boutiques that sell everything from designer clothes to discount fashion, accessory-only stores (Lettie Gooch is a fav), and home design stores. There are actually a few of the best furniture stores in the city in this area! You’ll mostly find vintage shops in this area, which feature everything from classical jewelry to antique furniture, even old turntables and vintage records. Everything is good quality offered at reasonable prices, and locals love to come here for a good deal. Be sure to check out the unique Art Under Pressure store, which offers art supplies, apparel, and even skateboards for sale.
Pentagon CityThe Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is one of the most convenient places to do your shopping in the entire city; in fact, it has its own Metro station that delivers you right inside the mall itself! It’s a traditional-style, multi-level mall offering a wide selection of stores and a few individual eateries, plus a food court. There are also a couple of strips of exterior shops adjacent to the mall that include larger stores like DSW, Marshall’s, and World Market. Expect a typical selection of mall stores within the Fashion Centre itself, like Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, and Aldo, plus a few unique finds like Free People and kate spade.
Save on Everything Else!
Of course, there is literally only so much shopping you can do – even the most die-hard shopaholics know that. So why not spend a little time relaxing (perhaps sporting your new duds?) with something like a sightseeing cruise or an informative Big Bus DC bus tour? You’ll be able to appease the non-shoppers, show off your new purchases, and give your tired feet a much-deserved rest. Remember bargain hunters, you can save on admission to top Washington DC attractions with the new Washington DC Explorer Pass®, so get yours today!