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washington d.c. design guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

illustration by julia rothman

our dc city guide update comes from red barn mercantile owner amy rutherford.  along with owning her alexandria, virginia furniture shop, amy also runs the Shop Local: Old Town Alexandria blog in order to engage and encourage people to shop local.  today amy shares some of her keen dc knowledge and offers a guided tour through the many eclectic and historical neighborhoods in and around the dc area.  thanks amy for this thorough guide and inspiring us to support local businesses! —stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!

Washington, DC gets a bad rap sometimes. It is more than Democrats and Republicans; more than red power ties; more than the cigar-smoke-filled backrooms of the power brokers; more than a company town where the company is the Federal Government. Washington is an ever-changing landscape of design, art, music, food and fashion.

I moved here 12 years ago. I still get lost. There are corners of this city and its suburbs that I have yet to fully explore. What we have here is a short shopping tour through the many neighborhoods of the Washington, DC metro area. I put in the stores, restaurants and venues that inspire me. You will see a pattern for sure. For me food is not about being fancy, fashion is simple, design is mixed – new with old, and music is the icing on the cake.

I hope you find this guide helpful. Surely your favorite place will be missed, so please feel free to add it to the list!

Capitol Hill

Not only does the Capitol and Congress reside here, but so do a wide variety of exciting businesses. My favorite by far is Eastern Market. To me it’s the epitome of life on the Hill. Before kids, my friend, Amy, and I used to meet regularly on Sunday for brunch and a stroll through the Market. Sunday is the best day for antiques! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Eastern Market:Eastern Market is one of DC’s treasures. During the week it’s an amazing market with fresh food, produce and flowers. On the weekends, it transforms into a world market. Antiques, artists and craftspeople who hail from all over the globe set up tables and tents to sell their wares. Add a mix of yummy neighborhood restaurants and you have the makings for an extraordinary Sunday morning.

Dawn Price Baby:If you’re expecting a bundle of joy, Dawn Price Baby has a well edited selection of everything you need for the nursery. Also a great e-commerce site for those of you not in DC!

Hill’s Kitchen:Opened in 2008, Hill’s Kitchen has everything for the cook and the kitchen in a lively setting. Right on Capitol Hill adjacent to the Eastern Market Metro.

Homebody:Cool and modern Homebody has something for everybody. Contemporary furnishings from Gus Modern and whimsical accessories from Kikkerland make this store a breath of fresh air among the rowhouses on Capitol Hill.

Stitch DC:Knitters, Crocheters, Sewers and Quilters, this is the place for you. Right on Barracks Row in Capitol Hill is this gem of a store. They offer classes and free design patterns and a huge selection of everything you need.

Market Lunch:Found inside Eastern Market this is where you will find some of the best crabcakes in DC.

Las Placitas:Mexican and Salvadoran food in one restaurant. Authentic and delicious!


Georgetown is exactly what you would think it is: gorgeous townhomes, a beautiful campus and shopping galore. National chain stores mostly reside in Georgetown these days, but you are still sure to find some really special independent stores here. Antiques and cupcakes reign supreme!

A Mano:Beautiful fine furnishings for the table and home are sourced all over the world. Simon Pearce, William Yeoward and Christopher Spitzmiller round out the luxurious mix of goods.

Darrell Dean Antiques:i love this shop’s lighting collection- they carry some truly gorgeous, one-of-a-kind antique lamps. expensive? yes. fun to windowshop? definitely.

Georgetown Flea Market:Every weekend more than a hundred vendors set up in an elementary school parking lot in the heart of Georgetown. Dealers carry everything from antique home furnishings to vintage clothes. You cannot leave here without a treasure!

Sixteen Fifty Nine:Sixteen Fifty Nine offers classic mid-century modern furniture, lighting and accessories all at an afforable price. They also offer design services!

Random Harvest:This store is a cornerstone in the DC Design world. It has everything from Asian antiques to contemporary furniture and lighting. The way they pull together a room is inspiring. They just started offering design services too!

Metro Interiors:Located in Georgetown and on 1stdibs.com this is one of DC’s premier purveyors of Mid-century Design. Stop by in person or online.

Georgetown Cupcake:Two sisters started a frenzy in Georgetown. These cupcakes are flat out yummy!

Baked and Wired:Wifi and baked goods. Done. And happy.

Hook:Sustainable seafood with an amazing wine list and fab décor. Visit Tackle Box, their sister restaurant next door for an equally delicious meal.

Citronelle:A multiple award winning restaurant, this is one of the best restaurants in DC. Volumes have been written on the amazingness of Citronelle.

U St

Other than Alexandria, this is my favorite neighborhood for good design. It is beyond cool! As a store owner, I get a lot of inspiration from other stores (that’s why this was so much fun to write) and I get most of my inspiration from this area. It is chock full of brilliant independent stores. The types of stores that you can use to really put your own stamp on your home. Goodwood, Homerule, Rkcndy, oh my!

Goodwood:Only open four days a week – be sure to check the hours before heading out – Goodwood has an ever-changing inventory of 19th and 20th century antiques. Visit every week and you will find something new each time.

Homerule:This is the little store that could. It has the coolest and most eclectic mix of kitchen and bath gadgets!

Miss Pixie’s:Recently relocated to U St, Miss Pixie’s fits in perfectly in its new neighborhood. The vintage finds here are phenomenal. This is one of the best stores in DC for creating a signature style.

Muleh: Crisp, clean, modern lines are the speciality of this home furnishings and fashion mecca in the District’s U Street Corridor.

Pulp: Irreverant and whimsical this staple of the U Street Corridor has just the card or gift for your best friend from college who still hums show tunes while skipping down the street.

Rckndy: Gus Modern, Blu Dot, Mid-century modern vintage are just a few of the fine furnishings you’ll find at the most recent U Street neighbor.

Ruff and Ready: Floor to ceiling, this cornerstone of U Street is packed with true treasures. Whether buried deep or floating on top this store has just that weird and wonderful accessory or piece of furniture that will make your house your own. Be patient and be careful it is full – and fabulous!

Timothy Paul Bedding: This store has one of the best bedding collections in town. John Robshaw, Matauk, Sferra, Mateo are just a few of the modern and fresh lines they carry. Add to it a collection of accessories and you have a fantastic bedding outpost.

Timothy Paul Carpets & Textiles: The sister store to the eponymous bedding store, this one oozes of the same cool vibe. Mix beautiful Italian silks with wool Nepalese rugs or a contemporary lamp with a vintage Morocan rug and you have just put your signature on your home.

Vastu: This is a modern mecca of the 21st century. If you want sleek and sophisticated for the urban dweller, then this is the place for you. Customization and interior design services are a bonus!

Hunted House:Located on the second floor of an early 1900’s townhouse in DC’s uber cool U St neighborhood, Hunted House offers vintage furnishings from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. It can be hit or miss just like any vintage store, but it’s always worth a look.

Cork:It’s a wine bar and it’s a wine market and tasting room. It’s sensational. The selection of wines, cheese and charcuterie is so well edited you always leave with a winner. Their wine fundamentals classes are great for the novice and expert wine lover.

Ben’s Chili Bowl:No list of U St is complete without this Washington landmark! It’s an amazingly simple concept and the food is simply amazing. My favorite is the good ole chili dog. Yum!

Café St. Ex:I love this restaurant’s feel, oh and the food. The laid back neighborhood vibe is so comfortable. Café St. Ex’s commitment to the community and local farmers is just part of what makes them so great.

9:30 Club:One of the best and most intimate venues for seeing live music in town. For thirty years a- nd counting – the 9:30 Club has brought the best local, indie and international bands to DC. Whether you go once or every night, each concert is unforgettable.

Black Cat:Practically around the corner from the 9:30 Club this equally amazing music experience offers DC the best of local, national and international indie and alternative music.

Dupont Circle

Built around a traffic circle of all things, Dupont Circle is an active and vibrant community. Home to Embassy row and the famed Phillips Collection art museum, this neighborhood is one of the most architecturally significant neighborhoods in DC. When you walk along the streets of Dupont Circle you will be awestruck at the diversity in its architecture, in its people and in its businesses. Dupont is home to one of my favorite places, the Tabard Inn. If you want a great place to stay and eat in DC, then I absolutely recommend this lovely inn.

Kramers Books:A Washington institution. Don’t miss this unique bookstore and the delicious Afterwords café that resides here.

Tabletop:Modern accessories for the home and indivual from some of the coolest designers. Tabletop carries gorgeous ceramics from the likes of Klein Reid and Perch!, Sukie pillows and Johnathan Adler accessories. These folks have great taste and a great eye!

Hello Cupcake:Yummy cakes in an even yummier locale. Stop by for the décor and stay for the desserts!

The Brickskellar:Every beer ever made. Or at least that’s what it seems like. A washington landmark for a cold beer on any night.

Tabard Inn:I have had many meaningful dinners at this cozy inn in Dupont Circle. It’s one of the best brunches in DC!

Restaurant Nora:Organic before organic was cool. This place is still fresh and all that implies.

Adams Morgan

Adams Morgan has long been an immigrant community. With that comes a wide spectrum of ethnic authenticity. This neighborhood is hugely popular for its nightlife and restaurants, but it has some really great shopping too. Plus, the rowhouses are as inspiring as those found in Dupont Circle. So be sure to take a walk through the residential streets while you’re here.

DC Arts Center:A nonprofit art gallery that often shows some pretty spectacular local talent. Always worth a peek when you’re in Adams Morgan.

The Brass Knob:The best place in DC for architectural salvage. If you’re looking to remodel your house and want to bring a touch of charm or bring your abode back to its original grandeur this is the place to go. Real wood doors, ceramic door knobs and porcelain sinks all at your fingertips.

And Beige: This is one of the best edited stores in Washington. It is polished and has its pulse on everything contemporary yet classic.

Proper Topper:Not only is this a great clothing store for the fashionista in all of us, but it’s a great gift store as well. Proper Topper has something for everyone: nukuku frames for the home, whiskey stones for him, handmade puppets for the little ones and fabulous fashions for her.

Little Fountain Café:Love this tiny little restaurant. It’s intimate and a perfect place for any occasion.

Tryst:Coffee bar by day where you can hang out with your laptop. Bar bar by night where you can hang out with your friends. Cool and cozy doesn’t get better than this.


This is my neighborhood. My store is here, my home is here. Alexandria has two widely known business communities – historic Old Town Alexandria and Del Ray. Old Town is the tourism hub with a long main drag laden with boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Just a stone’s through away is the quiet main street of Del Ray. This is a wonderful bungalow-filled community, home to young hip families and some of my favorite restaurants in Alexandria.

Old Town Alexandria Chinoisserie: This store is a gem in Old Town. The asthetic is amazing and the quality of goods unparalleled. They carry everything from Lotta Jansdotter handbags to Iittala dinnerware.

Daniel Donnelly Antiques:Don’t let the warehouse in a random part of Old Town Alexandria fool you. This store has the be all end all collection of mid-century modern furniture. Do not miss it!

Decorium:Glitz and glam galore! Chandeliers cover the ceilings so duck when you walk in, but be prepared to find something fun for this store has a ton of great gifts. Design services are also available.

GRAPE+BEAN:Like peanut butter goes with chocolate so does wine and coffee. This wine shop/coffee shop/restaurant has an outstanding wine selection and serves fair trade coffee from Counter Culture Coffee. They also have all the wine and coffee accoutrements you need as well as a killer charcuterie experience.

fibre space:If you knit or crochet or would like to start, fibre space has the class, tool and yarn you will need. The selection is unmatched.

Old Town Alexandria Imperfections: Gorgeous antiques. Enough said!

La Cuisine:For over 35 years La Cuisine has been a well edited exceptional resource for the amateur and professional cook. They also have knife skills classes and cooking classes for kids.

Lauren B Gallery:A wonderful resource for fine art and even finer antiques. Plus they have a lovely selection of gifts for everyone.

Old Town Alexandria Notting Hill Gardens: The best source for all things gardening in Old Town Alexandria. This tiny little store is chock full of beautiful finds from Campo de’ Fiori and Guy Wolff. Plus they offer landscape design services.

Pink and Brown:Organic baby and children supplies galore! They offer just about everything you need to make room for baby. Bottles to bassinets, layette to linens they have it. And it’s all good for you and Mother Earth.

Red Barn Mercantile:This is my store. I, of course, think it’s the best one in all of DC. But I’ll let you be the judge. We mix antique farm tables and accessories with new upholstered furniture from Cisco Brothers and bedding from John Robshaw and Matteo. Red Barn Mercantile is a one-stop shop for your one-of-a-kind style.

The Hour:All things cocktail all the time! This is a relatively new store in Old Town that caters to the art of the cocktail hour. They have the most amazing one-of-a-kind selection of vintage and antique barware and glasses plus modern selections to round out your wetbar.

The Sugar Cube:A confectioner’s delight! The Sugar Cube is committed to stocking the best product from the best independent sweets makers around.

Verdigris Antiques & Interiors:Wow! This store is the jackpot in all of DC. The selection of antiques is so wide and varied that, no matter what your design style, you are certain to find something. The lighting alone is worth the trip.

Fibre Space:This is more than a knitting store. It’s a community. You can find a plethora of yarn and notions at this fun, mid-century modern inspired store, but you can also find people happily meeting to knit and crochet while spending quality time with friends.

Torpedo Factory:Eighty-two artist’s studios, six galleries, two workshops and the Alexandria Archeology Museum are all housed here. Join the artists in their studios, watch them work and take home a beautiful original work of art.

Old Town Boutique District:The Old Town Boutique District is a cooperative of dozens of stores in Old Town Alexandria. We are made of stores who specialize in fashion, children, families, food and home goods. This is the most comprehensive list of stores in Old Town!

Eamonn’s:Billed as a Dublin Chipper, Eamonn’s serves fish and chips. That’s it. It’s a simple concept in a wonderful space with great food. Thanks be to cod, indeed!

Butcher’s Block:Butcher’s Block is a market that sells cheese, wine, charcuterie and everthing else you need for a perfect picnic or lunch. Designed by Vincente Wolf, this market is worth a visit for the visual treat alone.

Majestic Café:Billed as Rustic American, this is a simple and simply delicious dining experience. Nana’s Sunday Dinner is definitely a treat.

Restaurant Eve:No list is complete without Restaurant Eve on it. Given four stars and many awards by DC’s foodie community, this is one of the best restaurants in the metro area.

Nickels & Scheffler:I am a personal fan of this little café. It’s simple and no frills, but the food is fresh. The Asian Ginger dressing on the house salad is my personal addiction.

Buzz Bakery:Located well off the main drag in Old Town, this is another incredible wifi, coffe and baked goods combo. The sweets are fresh daily and the late hours make this a great place to get a cupcake fix after the movies or dinner.


Although Maryland is just on the other side of the District, it seems like a world away from those in Virginia – and vice versa. I don’t often get to Bethesda, but when I do, I always think I should do it more often. There are some pretty amazing shops and restaurants that make the trip worth it every time!

The Blue House:The Blue House is a fun and whimsical store that services the inner beach and cottage lover in us all. With Maine Cottage furniture and eyepopping color this is a great resource for your beach vacation home.

Tone on Tone:Tone on Tone are purveyors of supremely sublime 18th and 19th century Swedish antiques. Crafted in simple lines and painted in neutral colors, it is easy to understand why these classic furnishings fit so well in today’s homes. Tone on Tone has an amazing selection and its owner has incredibly sophisticated taste.

Urban Country:The selection at this store is unparalleled. The breadth and depth of lines allows you to find exactly what you need.

Matuba:My first introduction to sushi was at this ridiculously good restaurant. The sushi is big and on Monday nights it’s only $1 per piece!

Red Tomato Café:This is a great little Italian café. The brick oven pizzas are yummy!


Arlington has turned into one of the hippest cities in the metro area. Young urbanites and families flock to neighborhoods like Clarendon, Ballston and Shirlington. Sadly, independent stores are in the minority here. National chains like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Ethan Allen define the design direction of Arlington, but there is an outpost of Random Harvest here and a few cozy little shops scattered about.

Denim Bar:The best place to get premium denim in all of DC. These folks really know their denim!

Le Village Marche: This is the biggest little gift store in Arlington! If you need a gift for someone for just about any occasion they have it. The formula here is spot on: great gifts at great prices.

Verbena Paper & Gifts: This is the sister store to Le Village Marche. Buy a gift there and have it wrapped here! Plus get the card and a little something extra to go with it.

Best Buns Bread Co.:The lunch box is a great value. A ridiculously good sandwich, bottle of water, a side of chips or pasta salad and a cookie. You can’t go wrong!

Whitlow’s on Wilson:A DC landmark that moved to Clarendon in 1995. This is a great neighborhood restaurant with a fantastic weekend brunch. Get there early to get a seat! Add live music and open mic nights and you have an Arlington institution.

Iota Club and Café

Del Ray

Artfully Chocolate, Kingsbury Confections:There are wine bars and then there are Cocoa bars. Chocolate in any way, shape or form can be found here. Plus they have a lovely café menu, wine and ice cream!

Bungalow:Organic is chic! This little store in Del Ray brings great big style with eco-chic sensibility.

Potomac West Antiques:A small little antique mall right in the heart of Del Ray. If you’re looking for a great deal on a one-of-a-kind find, then this is store should be added to your must-see list.

Cheestique:The best selection of cheese in the DC area. You name it, they have it. They also have a wonderful wine to pair with it as well as cured meats from all over. I have five friends who own or have owned retail stores, we like to meet here regularly to discuss business over charcuterie and wine. So much fun!

Taqueria Poblano:This place is tiny and there is often a line to get in. Wait. It’s worth it.

Evening Star Café:One of my favorites! We can be found here regularly indulging in the best steaks in town.

The Dairy Godmother:The best frozen custard EVER! Even the Obamas agree.

Los Tios:Tex Mex and Salvadorean food in a fun and family friendly space. Go early, because it gets crowded fast!

The Birchmere:Shhhhh. No talking. This is one of the best venues for the total music experience for when the musicians are playing there is no talking. It’s all about the music and I love that!


Modernicus:Not only does this store stock a huge selection of mid-century modern furniture and Danish design, they also refinish, restore and reupholster your vintage finds. Just down the road from Old Town, this is full service at its best!

Politics and Prose:At twenty-five years old this is the grand dame of independent book stores in DC. There selection is unmatched and the caliber of author readings beats any national chain.

Washington Design Center:Every major city has a Design Center and this is ours. It’s to the trade only, but if you have a friend or designer who can get you then go. If you don’t, go anyway and see the designer showcase. Also, they have an annual sale that is open to the public.

Valerianne:I love this bedding store. It’s upstairs in the small community of Vienna, Virginia. You have to look for it, but it’s worth looking for. Luxury linens in a lovely retail space. I found if soothing and inspirational.

Eco-Green Living:Green building supplies for homeowners, designers and contractors. Located in Takoma Park, Eco-Green Living supplies its customers with sustainable, green, fair trade and organic products for any home remodeling project. Love it!

Old Lucketts Store:One of my all time favorite antiquing haunts. This is where you find your best DIY project or the perfect chipped paint piece you’ve been looking for. It’s a hike but a fun day trip out to Leesburg and Lucketts, Virginia.

Suggested For You


  • Great compilation of stores here, but don’t forget Reincarnations and Hunted House, both on 14th in Dupont! Love them too!

    Also in Old Town there’s an Asian furnishings boom with Qi, Abaca Imports, and Kosmos Design.

    Ps. At Abaca, they always offer you tea to sip while you browse!

  • Hi Grace, Thanks so much for this list. I’m going to make it a point to visit all these shops and fall in love all over again with this city. You’ve listed some of my favorites shops in our charming Georgetown neighborhood. Thanks again!

  • adrienne

    thanks for the suggestions. i’m actually not a huge fan of reincarnations- the last few times i’ve been i’ve left sort of dissapointed in their selection. but i’ll be sure to check out the rest!


  • thanks so much for this guide! i’m undergoing the exciting and nervewracking process of decorating our new 2-bedroom apartment, and while you’ve named many of my favorite shops, there are several on here that are new to me and i can’t wait to check them out.

  • hi grace,
    what a fantastic guide. i will also fall in love with the city all over again. thank you.

  • Yeah, with Reincarnations, Miss Pixies, Good Wood, and Hunted House, it can be hit or miss. You just have to check in regularly to see what’s new.

    Hunted House is definitely geared towards mid-cent mod tastes, while–as a friend of mine said– Reincarnations gets you in touch with your inner Liberace. They lean towards bold colors and patterns and unique accessories to add a splash or conversation piece to a room.

    Most recently, I snagged a nice leather tray there. I was looking for something with red/yellow accents to bring just a touch of the colors from the main living area into the silvery blue and chocolate bedroom. I figured it would be impossible to find something that could tie these colors together and still look good. This was the perfect piece.

    Don’t rule ’em out just yet. :)

  • I was hoping you would do a d.c. list soon! Great picks! I am crazy for Random Harvest, Tabletop, Cowgirl Creamery and Good Wood. Another great one for eclectic, Asian antiques is Dragonfly on Church, right next to Eco-Green Living. Gorgeous, gorgeous pieces. Nana on U also has really cute clothes, and I hear Junction is great, but I haven’t made it in yet. And Annie Creamcheese for vintage in Georgetown!!

    Can’t wait to try out your picks I haven’t been to yet.

    Oh, and just a tip: Maggie and Lola just closed last week. Sad but true.

  • Oh, what timing! I’ve spent recent days scanning for DC-based design blogs so I could earmark places to explore on an upcoming trip to DC. This is absolutely perfect – many thanks, Grace!

    The comments so far have given me some leads on bloggers – if you or anyone else has favorite blogs in the DC area, I’d love to hear about them!

  • yay! this is perfect. i’m going down to d.c. in a couple of weeks to visit my friend who just moved there. we can go exploring together! =)

  • Just a couple of things to note:
    Cady’s Alley is in Georgetown, as is Artefacto ( I used to work there it is an amazing store). Also, sadly Hollis and Knight is no longer in existence….
    Great post though, I used to live in DC ( worked at the the above showrooms) and think you put together a really nice list.

  • I went to Georgetown and then lived in Adams Morgan before I packed it in and returned to the mother country. Rough and Ready is a treasure trove- I particularly love the basement where everything is on sale- and the thrift shopping on the outskirts of DC is something truly special.

    On the upper Northwest reaches of the city is Politics & Prose (I was once their sidelines buyer) an amazing bookstore with a crazy selection of design/art books in their remainder section.

  • So wishing D*S would make a visit to DC for a Biz Ladies Meet Up! Anytime soon?

    Great list. Must not forget about these other treasures on 14th St:

    Home Rule

    Great clothes, jewelry, cards & housewares

  • This list is great- thanks! I believe XY Decor in G’town closed.

    Another local bookstore on 14th St i s Candida’s World of Books. This is typical internationally minded DC at its best. The bookstore is travel focused (though they can special order on request), and, the owner, Candida has been just about everywhere.

  • I couldn’t understand some parts of this article o.us poetry, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  • A big thaks for mentioning us on your list! DC has really become quite a mecca for hip living and chic interiors. We invite everyone to join us throughout the year to take part in one of our museum and embassy collaborations.

  • A great little design store in Old Town Alexandria is Chinoiserie, it’s owned by an architect and each piece in the store be it a little
    box or large vase is thoughtfully selected and displayed. Simple elegance.

  • You might want to change your U St. category to U St/14th St and move Home Rule (one of my faves for well-selected versions of all the day to day things you need to run your home: http://www.homerule.com) to that category. In fact, you could move a number of things from your “extras and other neighborhoods” section into USt/14th St. Another add is Timothy Paul carpets (timothypaulcarpets.com) –gorgeous stuff (nothing I can afford anytime soon!) and many if not all may also have the Rugmark label. Also, I think Rough and Ready is gone and greatly missed. On U St, take a break at Love Cafe for cupcakes, cakes, coffee, and nonsweet things too.

    For Penn Quarter, you’ll need to add the new West Elm. And you can move Cowgirl Creamery (a fave of mine for their olive oil; they also have sandwiches) to that category too!

    Hunted Home doesn’t sound at all familiar to me and is in my neighborhood, so must see!

    For Adams Morgan, please add Skynear and Co and a shop that I can’t remember the name of for accessories and furniture (I think) from South America(?) on the W. side of 18th St. I’ll try to remember to report back on the name of that. Miss Pixie’s on 18th is my all time fave in DC.

    There’s also a flea market and crafts market at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill every Sat/Sun. I’m not really familiar with the following, but I believe there’s still a Georgetown flea market on weekends, but I think it moved to Roslyn, if I’m not mistaken.

    Grace, I totally agree with you on Reincarnations. Every time I’ve been in there, I’m hugely underwhelmed, so I just don’t go anymore. Whoever said “Liberace” above is right on – but less fabulous than that, IMHO.

    I could go on and on adding more! Thanks for this list–I’m going to check out some of the new-to-me shops.

  • ruff and ready closed? really? that would be sad! i swear it was open just a few weeks ago…although i think the building next to it which is in godawful shape is finally being taken care of.

    i do have to throw in my vote for reincarnations, though. the store is over the top, but you can find some good things there (when used in moderation!). i got an awesome chaise lounge there a few years ago that is the envy of all my friends.

    a very comprehensive list! i like it!

  • Ruff and Ready is not closed. They came by our bldg last month to pick up a load of furniture and arch. elements, and I just called them today to look for something.

  • Someone said Rough and Ready (awesome Antique/thrift shop on the 1900 Blk of 14th street is gone? No way, I saw them with their stuff out on the sidewalk last weekend. If you’ve never gone, you owe it to yourself. There is junk, but some real treasure in there if you poke around. The staff are super nice and we furnished our whole house with R&R stuff (mainly oak & Mohagany furniture from the 1890’s – 1920’s). But runor has it that a fancy restaruant (“Policy”) is going in right next door in the new construction.

  • maggie and lola is closed as well.
    homebody rocks!! they have the most unique stuff with a lot of great local designers too.

  • This is a great list! I too mourn Unsung Designers closing – but they are still open online! Unfortunately, Maggie and Lola isn’t – Katharine (the owner) is a doll, so I will miss the store. Also, I LOVE Millennium – I am always stopping by there to check out their new additions (things don’t stay there very long). I recently included them in my Green Gift Guide for DC on my blog. Because vintage is the greenest green of all! http://www.righteousrestyle.com

  • go mama go – a terrific store that has had a recent loss. The owner fell and died. I think her husband is still operating it, but she was a delightful woman.

  • Pricey but nice: Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams on 14th St.

    Clothing: Circle on 14th. Caramel on U St. Remix, a vintage clothing store, on Capitol Hill.

    Shoes: ShoeFly in VA; Carbon in Woodley Park; WIld Women Wear Red on U St.

  • A few things missing from the 14th Street neighborhood…

    Redeem-1734 14th St NW (www.redeemus.com)
    An amazing clothing shop for guys and girls with fashion forward pieces but an awesome antique design sensibility.

    ACKC -1529 14th St NW (www.thecocoagallery.com)
    A delicious new chocolate shop and hot cocoa bar with almost a dozen flavor options.

    Cork-1720 14th St NW (corkdc.com)
    A newly opened winebar in the old Sparky’s Coffee space. Relaxed and not the slightest bit stuffy, and with tapas to munch on.

  • Great List. Your Extras and Other Neighborhoods should include The Great British Pine Mine (www.pinemine.com) located in Kensington, MD. Selection is incredible- amazing antiques and accessories and staff very helpful and friendly.

  • Another great Georgetown store, especially if you are looking for original artwork from the 18th and 19th century – not to mention traditional antiques. Not as pricey as Gore Dean which is next door.

  • What a great site and blog. I really enjoyed reading through the blog…but too many stores have closed…we need all the talent we can keep here in DC. Just to let you know..we have openned another GoreDean in Baltimore! So come visit when you can. Thanks for pulling this great list together…it reminded me to visit some old friends again !!!!

  • Hi Grace. I’ve been wanting to comment and suggest two more locations to your Wash DC guide.

    First is a the newly opened Bungalow Homewares located in the Del Ray section of Alexandria. (www.bungalowhomewares.com). I’m a sucker for lighting and splurged on a lamp there about a month ago.

    The second is a longtime favorite of mine. It’s the museum shop at the too often overlooked National Building Museum (www.nbm.org). Even with the Smithsonian down the street, the NBM’s shop is by far the best in the city. Despite a much improved Web site redesign, their online storefront still doesn’t do the shop justice. Not only is it one of the first places I go to find that perfect, unusual gift, but they also have an extensive collection of books for designers and architects of all types.

    Perhaps the national attention the Museum received after Hillary’s campaign concession speech will give it the support it deserves!

  • don’t forget Pulp, the sassy card and gift shop on 14th st. I think Pop (clothing and accessories, above it) is about to close.

  • Do any of you have suggestions for good fabric shops in DC? Timothy Paul has some gorgeous fabrics, but they’re super expensive and don’t exactly have a real fabric shop selection.

  • Pixies is now on 14th, at Q or so. Now a whole warehouse of fabulousness for your enjoyment! I have also always liked ‘Ruff n Ready’ up the street from there (14 x T?) which is a whole bunch of vintage stuff jammed in and spilling out onto the sidewalk – basically a garage sale, but retro gems. Picture frames, plates statues etc.

  • this is great everyone. i left DC 3 yrs ago and i soooo miss it and feel so out of touch. based on this list, i’m going to make my “to go to” list so when i visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas I can visit some. Of course, I am familiar with some of these. Oh, and don’t forget even some great thrift shops in NOVA that sell vintage and antique pieces that are unique. Treasure Trove all throughout Fairfax county comes to mind. I’ve found some incredible things there on the super cheap.

  • I love your guides, and I like this D.C. one too- but I have to say, I missed seeing Clyde’s (Georgetown) on this list- it’s classic, and the burgers are so good! Also Addison/Ripley Fine Art (also Georgetown- I interned there one summer), a great gallery to check out if you haven’t yet. Finally on Dupont Circle, Secondi consignment shop, really amazing, lots of designer clothes for great prices- and mall clothes for great prices! :)

  • i agree with above – proper topper in georgetown and dupont circle is by far my favorite little boutique in dc. it’s quite delicious, really.

  • Come and see us! Contemporary art “East of the River” in Anacostia at Honfleur Gallery, showing local and international artists, socially conscious works, and a range of works for every budget.

  • ouch- with the economy in such dire straits you may want to see who is still in business…I was just in DC for the inauguration and Artefacto is no longer…it’s Georgetown location has closed it’s doors. So sad.

  • oh why oh why did i not see this piece before I went down there for inauguration weekend?? *currently kicking myself for not looking it up!!*

  • Great list! You’ve got quite a few of my favorite shops in DC here: Millenium, Good Eye, GoodWood, Miss Pixies, Rckcndy, DWR (particularly the largest location in Adams Morgan), Tabletop. I just discovered Daniel Donnelly in Old Town and agree it is a wonderful shop.

    I would add Mitchell Gold, Vastu, Thomas Paul Carpets (they also carry John Robshaw textiles) as well as Garden District to the list (all U/14th locations). Also we are supposed to be getting a Room & Board store in the area soon.

  • You NEED to add Decorium to this list. It’s right on the 200 block of King Street in Old Town Alexandria. This store is a complete wonderland of amazing ideas. While some things may be more expensive, there are ALWAYS sales and deals. If nothing else, there are some serious styles to absorb. I’ve been in dozens of time and i’m alway surprised with what they create (and never leave empty handed).


  • you should also add ‘Ginkgo Gardens’ located in Capitol Hill. It’s an amazing garden center/gift store full of inspiration. It has a huge selection of all types of plants as well as antiques, furniture, gifts, art, pottery, and more. check it out. (the website doesn’t do it justice)

  • Just wanted to say think you for these design guides! My husband and I did as much as we could in all the neighborhoods for DC two weeks ago! He was so cute, we had to stick to this list and find as many as we could!! :) DO you have any for San Antonio or Palm Springs? I am going there next month and in NOvember!?!? That would be awesome!! You are my new travel buddy! Have a great day! THANKS!

  • OH WAIT! I totally thought Decorium was on the list, we went there and they were having a sale that day! I got some cute things! Store is AMAZING!! burlap curtains, great lighting, tufted sofas.. the works!

  • I’ve noticed that you noted which shops were pricey, but how about the shops that are decidedly un-pricey? I’m taking a quick trip there and would like to know which shops to hit for the bargain shopper!

  • I was just in DC last week, and had the most amazing meal at Zengo – on the edge of Chinatown. It is fusion Mexican/Japanese. Delicious, interesting, intended to be shared between diners.

  • Hunted House is AWESOME!!! I got an amazing mid century coffee table that, with a tun of a lever converts into a 4 person dining table!!! 50’s ingenuity!

    I’m defiantly paying the bux to ship this thing back to LA when I move home.

  • Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown for over-priced, but AMAZING men and women’s vintage apparel and accessories… worth checking out!

    Also, if you’re checking out Eastern Market… there is Seventh Hill Pizza just down the street. DELICIOUS and super fresh out the wood fired oven… apparently the bricks were brought all the way from France!

    I should also add that Unsung Designers in Adams Morgan has closed.

  • I’d love to see an updated list of Washington gems. Let me know if you need a secret shopper.

  • FYI- it’s Kramerbooks (and the attached Afterwords Cafe), not Kramers Books.

    Also, you should definitely add Good Stuff Eatery to the Capitol Hill section. Fantastic burgers, homemade milkshakes and fresh-cut fries… and likely a heart attack due to the amount of delicious butter used. But the burgers are so decadent, that they’re definitely worth the health risk.

  • This is a great list but there are some other hot spots left off. Although Arlington is right next to Alexandria, you pretty much gave it the shaft. Yes, there are chains like Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Apple, etc but there’s also cool independents like ShoeFly, the consignment store Current Boutique, and the oh-so-delicious Boccato Gelato (perfect antidote for DC’s humidity). Who could forget the Italian Store?! Part deli, part Italian specialty grocery store, this place is an institution! And you obviously must not have been to Ray’s the Steaks if you think Alexandria has the best steaks. Owner Michael Landrum KNOWS BEEF! Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s Hell Burger (Obama’s been to the latter twice now) are INCREDIBLE!!! As far as music venues go, The State Theatre in Falls Church always has great shows, especially The Legwarmers (80’s cover band–make sure you tease your hair and find some acid wash denim before going!) who perform every couple months. Wolf Trap is a little farther out in Vienna but it is one of the most outstanding venues in the country, and it’s national park setting is great! Nothing better than chilling in the lawn with a picnic.

  • Such a great list! Don’t forget the National Building Museum on F St. downtown; a museum that is a little lesser known than other ones but has one of the best gift shops in the city (its even better than MoMas!)

  • This update still has a heavy focus on NOVA. Not to be biased, but this was a bit disappointing to read.

    I have found a lot of innacuracies. Some spots are attached to the wrong location, and some places have been completely neglected.

    For example, The Proper Topper is in Georgetown, not Adams Morgan.

    H St NE is not even mentioned, which is a shame. There are jewels to check out over there.

    Spots to check out:
    Nana DC on U St, Marvin on 14th St, Dickson Wine Bar on U St, 1905 Bistro on 9th St, Masa 14 on 14h St, Room 11 on 11th St in Columbia Heights, Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale and Domku on Upshur in Petworth to name a few.

    Also, The Brickskellar should be completely removed from this guide. It’s nothing to write home about.

    An idea would be to split this into to a Northern VA Design Guide, and a separate DC Design Guide.

  • Thanks for doing a post on D.C.!

    A specific thrift store to check out in the suburbs is Unique in Falls Church, VA. On holidays everything is half price or something like that and you can sign up for a pass to get discounts certain days of the week etc. It’s huge and well organized, but just like with any thrift store you still have to do your share of searching. I snatched up a whole bunch of vases for my wedding there on the cheap and actually just donated them all back when I moved a few weeks ago, lol!

    I would also add all of the Restaurants that are a part of Great American Restaurants, a local “chain”. They have different menus at each on and different themes. http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.com/GAR/

    I second the recommendation of Clyde’s mentioned by another poster!

    Another great music venue is the Birchmere in Alexandria. http://www.birchmere.com/
    It’s an intimate venue that gets a wide variety of performers and serves food.

    Room and Board just opened a store on 14th near U street.

    If you’re looking for cheap appliances, cabinets, fixtures, shutters etc. also check out the local ReStore warehouses that sell used products with the profits benefiting Habitat for Humanity. It’s a good way to save money and give new life to something that might otherwise be in a landfill.

    I know that malls tend to be unoriginal but Tysons Corner is hands down the best mall ever. There is a variety of sit-down restuarants, food court options, a movie theartre with IMAX, and along with the normal high end chain stores you would expect there is a Free People, west elm, Cusp, a lego store, etc. http://www.shoptysons.com/directory.asp

    i could go on, but I will stop.

  • Thanks for the post! I just wish there was more space devoted to the city itself in lieu of (or in a separate post from) ‘burbs. I’ve lived in the city for 8 years, and this distinction is often a point of contention. Each place has a lot going on, but as I see it NOVA is NOVA and DC is DC.

    That being said, the only DC fabric store I know of (on K St) has closed; for that stuff you have to go out to Seven Corners (Joann and G Street Fabrics). Another thing NOVA has that is not mentioned is awesome Vietnamese food (e.g. Eden Center shops).

    I agree that Brickskeller is a letdown; their list is impressive, but they don’t keep most in stock. A place like Pizzeria Paradiso (Dupont and Georgetown) is cleaner and has a large, reliable beer selection. (2 Amys also has great pizza, and my boyfriend loves Vace in Cleveland Park.) There’s also a new place, Dodge City, on U next to the Velvet Lounge that’s supposed to have a good beer list.

    Habana Village on Columbia Road has great mojitos. Founding Farmer’s downtown can get expensive but has good cocktails (try the “Constitution”). Nora’s IS good, but, it should be said, is very pricey and for special occasions. Teaism, right nearby, has pretty authentic chai and famous salty oat cookies. Sweetgreen is a salad place with a few locations and started by Georgetown students.

    I wouldn’t call the 9:30 Club intimate. H Street NE has the Rock and Roll Hotel (which is kind of iffy in sound quality and the flying guitar décor), but THAT is a small venue. The area also has new bars springing up all the time. The new Biergarten Haus around there is a lot of fun.

    And if you want to see a movie while you’re in town, go to the Uptown in Cleveland Park. Huge, rounded screen and balcony seating. Or E Steet.

  • This is a great list, but I have to agree with Kim that the distinction between DC and its suburbs is an important one. You didn’t mention Oakland in your San Francisco guide or South Jersey in your Philadelphia guide, so why do this for DC? There are plenty of great places both in and outside of DC to support two separate guides.

    • lindsay

      each guide is done by an individual editor- some choose to include suburbs, some don’t. we don’t require suburbs as part of the list, so if people choose to include them, i see it as an added bonus, rather than a chose to include/omit an area.

      also, i grew up in VA so i’m familiar with the distinction between NOVA and DC. the areas/town names are clearly listed here, but perhaps we can add in a header that says “suburbs”.

      *the SF guide is being updated this summer..


  • thanks, grace. i certainly understand the choice to include the places outside of the city because there are a lot of them. and regardless of my opinion about keeping DC and its surrounding areas separate, i definitely appreciate having an updated list to refer to!

    i think it’s just a sore spot for me because, as amy mentioned, dc gets a bad rap. i love this city, and i always feel like it gets slighted by the implication that you have to leave the district to find great places.

    • Lindsay

      I love DC and would never imply that you need to leave the city to find great things. Including suburban spots is purely and extra bonus- not a desire to slight DC :)


  • Other places that deserve mention:
    Eastern Market
    – Woven History (www.wovenhistory.com) for rugs and gift items from the countries along the Silk Road
    -Montmartre (montmartredc.com) for authentic French bistro food

    U St. / 14th Street
    -Millennium (www.millenniumdecorativearts.com) for not inexpensive mid-century furnishings and accessories
    -Go Mama Go (www.gomamago) for fun housewares
    -and both the new Room & Board store and Mitchell Gold.

    Claire is right about the Building Museum store; another great museum store is the one at the Sackler Gallery.

    And finally, if you want to talk about the burbs, Takoma Park’s Now and Then has ultra-cute housewares, accessories and jewelry; The Covered Market (thecoveredmarket.net) features Turkish ceramics, lanterns and kilims; and there are several vintage clothing stores including Moonshadow and Polly Sue’s.

  • Oh, and for Argentinian gelato (!) in both Georgetown and Dupont, check out Dolcezza.

  • Not to prolong the “debate” about this, but I think including the suburbs in this review is kind of reflective of the region. People live, work, and play in all three places and in any given week most people end up going between all three places several times. I think perhaps the best solutions is to just add more about all three places! :)

  • I recently stopped by Two Lions, an antiques place near Eastern Market (they’re at 11th and Pennsylvania SE, if you want to stop by). The store is small, but it’s filled with gems! Janet, the owner, is super sweet, too.

    Ted’s Bulletin is a restaurant that just opened on Barracks Row (also near Eastern Market). They do classic American with a ’30’s vibe. Their specialty cocktails are amazing!

    And on H Street, Sticky Rice for food and Biergarten Haus for beer/sporting event viewing– they have a back patio with about a dozen flatscreen TVs/

  • Regardless of how this was written, the point is, unfortunately, that this Guide does indeed slight DC as a whole.

    People who decide to use it in the future, will not have a very rich experience when visiting and exploring the District. NOVA is not “washington, dc.” Bethesda is not part of “the District.” Understanding the distinction is very important because, as it has been mentioned numerous times, it is a point of contention among residents here.

    With that said, if you are thinking about changing the name of this guide, you should consider 2 names, which are VERY local, and used constantly around the District.

    1. DC Metro Area Design Guide
    2. DC/MD/VA Design Guide

    Also, I realize that DS Design Guides are written by hyper-local readers/editors, and their interest to include suburbs is left up to their own discretion. However, this one was obviously written by someone who resides and works in NOVA, and not in DC. Old Town and Bethesda have a lot of great stuff, but this is seriously lacking on the DC end, and as a resident of the District who hardly ever travels across the Potomac to NOVA, I do feel slighted. There is a very heavy focus on NOVA and wealthy areas of MD in this guide, as well as a few inaccuracies in terms of locations of certain boutiques; (those need to be changed, please). It also was not updated very carefully, as some of the spots listed above are no longer in existence, or are horrendous (ie – Brickskellar), and newer, more wonderfully designed places have replaced them. Plus there are so many revitalized spots/neighborhoods that have sprung up in the last few years, that is is almost criminal to not mention them. Reading it makes it obvious to me (and many others) that it was written by someone who rarely explores the District itself, and when she does, it’s by car only.

    This is, indeed, a good list as a possible starting point, but not good enough, and should be re-written entirely, not just updated.


  • margaret

    all comments left will be published- if you don’t want a comment to be published email us instead.


  • I LOVE Old Town Alexandria- it is certainly a gem in the DC area. I have coworkers who will metro over from DC just to enjoy it’s intimate feel and charm.

    Georgetown is a great neighborhood full of cute stores and gorgeous row houses, however Old Town is the place to be for the independent clothing boutiques and antique stores. And Red Barn Mercantile is definitely worth a trip. However I have to vouch for Random Harvest, truly an inspiring store, they always have the best stuff.

    Some of the spots not mentioned that are definitely worth a visit is swanky PX, its a bar directly over Eamonns with a bit pricey but amazing drinks. Also, 219 Restaurant has an excellent weekend brunch.

    Torpedo Factory is always worth a visit, I’m lucky enough to live in NoVa’s Alexandria so Saturdays dedicated to brunch, antique shopping and a stroll through the Torpedo Factory on my way to the Potomac’s riverfront are bliss :D

  • I just read through some of the comments discussing the distinction between DC and its ever growing burbs.

    DC is a big city with a lot to offer, however it’s suburbs consist of sizable cities that have a lot to offer as well. Especially the big three mentioned in this post – Alexandria, Arlington and Bethesda (Geeky note: Arlington County is the most densely populated county in the country). Maybe adding a NoVa guide in the way NYC has a brooklyn guide wouldn’t be a bad idea. Takoma Park and Silver Spring shopping/dinning spots can then potentially be grouped with Bethesda.

    I grew up in Chicago, the burbs out there are different from the burbs out here in NoVa/MD. The burbs in DC are basically separate cities, they all have a notable identity to them. This may be what is spurring debate. As can be seen in this post, the cities of Arlington and Alexandria each have more than one neighborhood that are worth a visit!

  • Great List but I must add two important spots to the list,

    Del Merei Grille
    in Del Ray, 3106 Mount Vernon Avenue -greatest southern comfort cuisine! try the frickles! yummy!


    Ray’s Hell Burger in Arlington, Obama’s fav burger spot! Obama recently took Russian President Medvedev there for the lunch!

  • This is an awesome list. I’m relocating to the DC area next month and I can’t wait to explore. I just need to get past the stress of trying to find a place to live!

  • Thank you for including Las Placitas! It’s been a family favorite forever and I love introducing all my new-to-DC twenty-somethings friends to it.

  • Two more places that are super awesome:

    U Street:
    Treasury – a perfectly edited vintage store with fair prices. Last I went in there, they had an amazing sheer Victorian romper — how cool is that? They also have incredible jewelry and an on-site tailor!

    AFI Silver Theater – This Silver Spring, MD institution screens new, off-beat indies and has constant retrospectives featuring films from the likes of Truffaut, Godard, Kurosawa, Anderson, and more. Truly an amazing movie house.

  • I second the need to mention Woven History and Silk Road just down the block from Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. The owner has incredibly vast knowledge of all types of rugs from all over asia, and can have rugs made for you. He will spend as much time as you need showing rugs. They have a great selection of gorgeous suzanis. (sp?) Woven history is also a great place to have rugs cleaned.

    And, check out The Forecast, a lovely boutique that has been on Capitol Hill forever, all the way back to when it was still the ‘hood. Great quality, well-edited selection, and really fabulous service. Let’s say you need an outfit for a specific event–you can walk out with everything you need. Handbag, jewlery, belt, clothing, shoes, everything. You will look sophisticated and fabulous! They also have a nice selection of gifts and housewares.

    For thrift stores–Value Village in Hyattsville MD!

  • Re: fabric shops in DC: Exquisite Fabrics used to be on K St. but moved (not closed) to Georgetown. They’re in the mall on M St. You’ll find bargains piled on top of couture fabrics (so always check price tags!).

  • Don’t forget Firelflies in Del Ray has a Bluegrass Brunch from 11-2 on Sundays, and Evening Star is known to host Block Parties for special events! They had their own hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, lobster rolls, and crawfish boil to celebrate the World Cup.

  • I recently dined at Los Tios in Del Ray (loved it!!) AND am a week away from moving into that cozy neighborhood! Can’t wait to visit all the fun shops!

    Also, I have passed by the antique shop in Lucketts a time or two and every time I pass I am staring with envy. Unfortunately, I never stopped, but I’m glad you recommended it and will definitely make more of an effort to stop next time.

    Being new to the area, I was excited to read through the D.C. guide! Thanks!

  • Hi again, Grace. Great updates to the DC guide! I just wanted to mention a new shop that opened this summer in upper NW DC on Georgia Avenue. It’s called Modern Mobler (www.modernmobler.com), specializing in mid-century modern furniture and accessories. The owner, Doug, is very knowledgeable and accommodating. We just brought home a beautiful Ib Kofod Larsen sideboard — tambour doors and all and we LOVE it! Doug was a great to do business with. This place is definitely worth stopping in if you’re into vintage furnishings. It’s packed with beautiful pieces. The only thing is you need to check on the hours though. He’s not open every day. Keep up the great work here at Design*Sponge!

  • I can’t find a decent review of any upholstery place in this area. They’re all schemers and provide inconsistent quality, it seems. Can anybody in this area provide solid resources?

  • I second the notions of adding Gingko Gardens (Capitol Hill — terrific garden items, http://www.ginkgogardens.com/) and the National Building Museum’s gift shop to this list (http://www.nbm.org/). I’m a volunteer at the Building Museum, and it gets consistently rated as the best museum gift shop in DC, with tons of cool decor items, books, and kids’ stuff. Plus, it’s a fabulous building that can’t be beat for its amazing architecture. The new H St. (NE) area is up-and-coming; let’s hope its progress continues so we can someday see it addd to this list.

    Sadly, I see the debate over DC vs. suburbs has permeated this neutral design blog as well. As a resident of the area for 9 years, I have lived in all 3 (MD, DC, VA), and find the issue so polarizing and unnecessary. All the areas mentioned have so much to offer, and represent the best spots to hunt out design-related stuff in the area. All are Metro accessible (with the exception of Georgetown), and are in such close proximity, I am so appreciative that we have such a diverse, unique, historical, abundant (how many adjectives can I use?) area.

  • very neat list. I noticed that Fibre Space (very cool) is listed twice and Stitch DC has closed its Eastern Market location; it is now in Tenleytown.

  • Here’s the deal! People who live here are really passionate about what neighborhood in which they live. Thats great! But there are tons of great places in tons of great hoods and for someone who lives in the district to say they won’t cross the river to va or md is just as bad as that same person being upset that Amy listed so many fab places to shop in those same locales…I live in del ray, work in retail and travel to all 3 areas each week, and find new places to shop all the time. I would never say that I wouldnt drive 2 miles over the bridge to dc to a great shop, so I am not sure why those across the river feel so passionately the other way….and I happened to have grown up here. It is usually the people who move here from somewhere else that seem to feel so passionately about this but it is funny to me that someone wouldn’t drive or metro 2 or 4 miles for a great meal, or shopping experience just because a state line is there. By the way, old town used to be a part of dc…and Amy’s shop is awesome

  • Your post jogs my memory of once I was a child growing up in city. My granddad wont to say “When life offer you lemons, create lemonade”. however he was a hopeless alcoholic WHO ne’er created abundant sense thus I ne’er paid abundant attention to him. Have a good day!

  • Grace, the DC guide could use some updating. Have you considered working with a local designer to up the this list? DC is growing and there are so many new shops that should be on this list.

  • One of the partners in my law firm tapped the talent of local designer Brenton Bacari (Bacari Design, Inc.) and I must say their house is gorgeous! He is obviously very talented, well-trained and well-versed. His interiors ooze refinement, class, comfort and timelessness. I plan to hire him after I close on my new house next month.

  • Hi there! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great information
    you might have right here on this post. I can be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  • You can’t forget Old Print Gallery in Georgetown- don’t let their name fool you- they have both antique prints and maps, as well as early 20th century and contemporary works by local and regional artists. All original and very well organized by category- I could spend hours in their map section! And if you like prints, also check out Washington Printmakers Gallery- they are in Silver Spring ( a bit of a hike- I know) but they also have an eclectic and affordable selection of hand-pulled prints- plus you’d be supporting local artists.

  • Is this just a shopping guide? What about places to stay– any cool hotel suggestions? Are any of these neighborhoods walkable or since most are in the suburbs are you required to get a car or is the public transportation sufficient? Some other city guides included a google maps link this would be incredibly helpful here too!

  • Great site! DC needs a little updating. Several U Street Shops have moved (Ruff-and Ready)and at least one is out-of-business (RCKNDY). Sixteen Fifty-nine in Georgetown is now on 14th Street, NW and part of Lori Graham Design. Take care!

  • Like the commenter above, I’d like to suggest an update to this page! My city has changed so, so much since 2007 and we have a lot of wonderful new places to showcase.

  • Are there any major changes to this in 2016? I’m moving to DC in July and I am super excited to go to all of these places (and more)!