Washington, D.C. - Shopping
For a serious shopping spree, Georgetown is probably the most famous area for a bit of retail therapy, but many DC neighborhoods have enough boutiques, markets and designer stores to make the city a shopper’s paradise. Malls are generally located in more suburban areas but their popularity ensures they are easily accessible. These shopping districts are recommended:
The ’daddy’ of places to shop in DC, Georgetown has something to keep everyone happy. This is where most of the big chains are located - Zara, Urban Outfitters, H&M and Victoria’s Secret are based here and, despite Georgetown’s cobbled street charm, retail development is ongoing. Seek out Barnes & Noble’s wonderfully old-fashioned flagship store where book lovers will be in their element.
For designer fiends, Ralph Lauren is among several high-class stores scattered about the neighborhood. There are plenty of smaller, more alternative boutiques in addition to an abundance of music, art and antique shops to keep bargain hunters busy. Look out for Georgetown’s largest gallery, Creighton-Davis (3222 M St, NW), and Village Art & Craft (1353 Wisconsin Ave, NW) for funky, ethnic jewelry and knick-knacks.
Downtown and Chinatown
Downtown is DC’s department store center, with its crown jewel Hechts. Downtown Washington borders Pennsylvania Avenue, the direct route between the White House and the Capitol. A few central malls including the Old Post Office Pavilion and The Shops at National Place are both a quieter alternative to the suburban giants further out of town. Wafts of sweet and sour pork are also likely to drift by in the Downtown area since you are just around the corner from Chinatown.
Next stop Maryland - in the far north-west of the city the swanky Friendship Heights area is home to some of the most exclusive retail outlets in DC. Along with designer stores including Banana Republic and the furniture manufacturer Pottery Barn, the Mazza Gallerie mall is another upscale establishment featuring a variety of costly boutiques. Neiman Marcus fashion is based here while a short walk further along Wisconsin Avenue will get you to Tiffany, St-Laurent Rive Gauche and Cartier.
The New U District
The New U District is the new home to some of the trendiest shops in the city. You’ll find the quirky, the kitsch and the truly bizarre spilling out of second-hand and alternative boutiques along U Street and 14th St, NW. If you’re tired of seeing the same brands again and again elsewhere, look for gems like Home Rule (1807 14th St, NW), selling original variations on regular home wares, and Pulp (1803 14th St, NW), for unusual and funky gifts.
DC’s answer to New York’s Macy’s - this huge department store sells everything from furniture to fashion items for all ages.
Besides delicious fresh produce, the Eastern Market also sells soaps, candles, pottery, jewelry and almost anything else you can think of. There’s also an irresistible flea market just across the street.
A former power generation plant, this lovely old building houses an assortment of art, home furnishings, kitchenware, fashion and electrical goods shops in an airy and spacious environment.
The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City
160 shops including Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch. There’s also a cinema and food court in this expansive downtown mall.
Potomac Mills Mall
Perfect for the thrifty buyer, Potomac is the East Coast’s largest discount outlet mall. Comprising a staggering 250 shops, it is a half-hour drive south of DC.
Souvenirs galore, Union Station is a DC landmark as well as a mall complete with multiplex cinema, hundreds of shops, a food court, and an influx of souvenir boutiques.