Georgetown has a concentration of great antiques stores, with other neighborhoods claiming the outliers.
Art galleries used to center on the Dupont Circle neighborhood but now are scattered throughout the city. The following are among the best and most interesting.
The city’s best hair salons and cosmetic stores are in Georgetown, while spas are more evenly scattered throughout the city. Here’s a sampling of recommended places to go for beauty treatments and products.
Real-live bookstores still have their fans. Here are some favorite shops in general, used, and special-interest categories.
Local branches of Banana Republic are at Wisconsin and M streets in Georgetown (tel 202/333-2554) and F and 13th streets NW (tel 202/638-2724); Gap has several locations in Washington, including 1120 Connecticut Ave. NW (tel 202/429-0691) and 1258 Wisconsin Ave. NW (tel 202/333-2657).
Washington women have many more clothing stores to choose from than men. Stores selling classic designs include Ann Taylor, at Union Station (tel 202/371-8010), 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW (tel 202/659-0120), and 600 13th St. NW (tel 202/737-0325). Racy Victoria’s Secret lingerie stores are located at Union Station (tel 202/682-0686), as well as at Connecticut and L streets NW (tel 202/293-7530).
Washington’s museum shops hold a treasure trove of unusual gifts. Right now I’m loving the set of coffee mugs I bought my husband for Christmas at the Folger Shakespeare Library gift shop. They’re covered in Shakespeare quotes, both for when you’re in a foul mood (“Bolting-hutch of beastliness,” “Thou art a boil, a plague sore”) and for when you’re feelin’ the love (“Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs”). I’ve always had a weakness for the shop at the National Building Museum, which is jammed with surprising, useful, and cleverly designed housewares and interesting games, including bookends embossed with Celtic designs, Bauhaus mobiles, and collapsible strainers. And I can never visit the National Gallery of Art without lingering a little while in the store to admire captivating catalogue books, notecards, posters, children’s games, and a slew of other things. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art has unusual items from all over Africa, but I especially liked the interesting designs of the colorful dishtowels, handbags, and headbands from Ghana. And then there’s the woman-centric National Museum of Women in the Arts gift shop, which has fab Frida Kahlo candles and leaning lady bookends. Also check out the White House Historical Association Gift Shops (www.whitehousehistory.org, then click on “Museum Shop” at the bottom of the page) at Decatur House (1610 H St. NW, tel 202/218-4337), around the corner from Decatur House, (740 Jackson Place, on Lafayette Square, tel 202/218-4315), and at the White House Visitor Center, at 1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The shops sell interesting memorabilia, such as the White House Christmas tree ornament newly designed each year, and sundry items related to the White House and its history.
Gourmet Goodies to Go
Demanding jobs and hectic schedules leave Washingtonians less and less time to prepare their own meals. Or so they say. At any rate, a number of fine-food shops and bakeries are happy to come to the rescue. Even the busiest bureaucrat can find the time to pop into one of these gourmet shops for a movable feast.
You may not have come to Washington to shop for housewares or furnishings, but step inside the shops of Cady’s Alley or Home Rule and you may change your mind.
For men’s dress shoes, try Brooks Brothers. For women, try the local outlets of Nine West, including locations at 1029 Connecticut Ave. NW (www.ninewest.com; tel 202/331-3243) and in Georgetown at 1227 Wisconsin Ave. NW (tel 202/337-7256).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.