AOL PICK from our Editors
The Capitol City will more than oblige if you're looking to dress up your wardrobe, commemorate your trip with mementoes, complement your art/literature collection or some combination of all three. Georgetown, specifically M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, is a must if you're looking for a combination of trendy boutiques, established chains, and classy design showrooms during your Washington D.C. shopping adventures. Adams Morgan and the U Street corridor are home to vintage shops and edgier boutiques of the hipster variety. Friendship Heights in far northern D.C. is the land of the label-seekers with outposts of Chanel, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton. Naturally, D.C. shopping is great for antiques and art—both of which can be found in Dupont Circle and Georgetown. Shopping in Washington D.C. can range from public markets to upscale clothing stores. If you’re looking for straight-up mall shopping, the Pentagon City Mall (aptly named because it's a stone's throw from the Pentagon) is just across the river from D.C. and is easily accessible by metro.
Neighborhood: Capitol Hill
The title-holder for the city’s oldest continually operating fresh food public market continues a 136-year tradition every Sunday when the streets surrounding 7th and C Southeast come alive with up to 100 vendors. Come for the atmosphere and the opportunity to pick up some creative souvenirs that you wouldn’t be likely to find elsewhere in the city. Jewelry designers, jam-makers, artists, collectors of vintage posters and more assemble to hawk their wares outside the red brick building known as Eastern Market. The public market offers some of the best Washington D.C. shopping for souvenirs and unique gifts to bring home to loved ones, as well as a great way for you to sample local flavors while you shop. Inside the building you'll find merchants selling foodstuffs like fresh cheese, handmade pasta, and deli meats (excluding Mondays, these vendors sell to the public all week, but you won’t find the same energy or breadth of offerings that you’ll find on Sundays).
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Neighborhood: U Street Corridor/Columbia Heights
If ever there was a store that could cater to both politicos and hipsters this would be it. D.C. native Lori Parkerson opened her store with a goal of making casual clothing fun again. She sells a carefully curated selection of elegant and conservative womenswear with trendier pieces woven throughout. If you're shopping in D.C. for something great to wear for a fun night out, Redeem is the place. A former DJ herself, she's been known to throw DJ parties from time to time and we have to say that her store is the perfect setting for a party with its Soho-esque brick wall and exposed ceiling ducts.
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Just strolling along Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown is a guarantee that you'll bump into adorable boutique after adorable boutique, but we still had to call out Urban Chic. The quaint shop is jam-packed with willowy dresses, tops and skirts that are both feminine and flirty. They sell an artful mix of established brands like MARC by Marc Jacobs alongside up-and-coming designers like Rag and Bone.
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Neighborhood: Dupont Circle
Kramerbooks is a fixture in Dupont Circle (as is its well-loved Afterwards Café). Some say that a good way to find out if someone is a local is to ask if they've heard of Kramerbooks (if they haven't, they're not from around these parts). The cozy, independent bookstore opened in 1976 and claims to be the first book vendor in the country to employ a fully operational café. Come peruse the liberal collection of titles—no surprise that they have a strong selection of political tomes.
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A single street in Georgetown known as Cady's Alley is ground zero for urban-chic design furniture. Here you'll find enormous studios, like the 2,072-square-foot design warehouse called "Design Within Reach" where you can shop for a mod selection of home furnishings from around the world.
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Whether you’re looking to browse or buy, Susquehanna in Georgetown is the de facto starting point for lovers of antiques and art and has been so for nearly 100 years. It’s one of the few antique markets in the city that can claim both quantity and quality. Their expansive collection encompasses everything from furniture and accessories to paintings, metalwork and textiles from a variety of destinations and time periods. At any given time you’re likely to encounter items as diverse as English needlework pictures from the early 18th century to 20th century Chinese porcelain furniture to Renaissance-era giltwood frames (our favorite to admire). The staff is unbelievably surly, but as long as you don’t come in expecting the velvet glove treatment you won’t be disappointed by the experience.
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