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The Best Shopping in Washington, D.C.

SmarterTravel

When it comes to shopping in Washington, D.C., you’ve got plenty of options.

The Best Spots for Shopping in Washington, D.C.

Looking for souvenirs? Hit the museum shops, particularly those at the National Gallery of Art and the National Air and Space Museum (astronaut food is a cool souvenir). Head to Georgetown for expensive goods, and to Union Station for name brands and knickknacks. The city also specializes in cool independent bookstores where you can grab a great read.

14th and U Street

The 14th and U Street district is the center for hip shopping in Washington, D.C. Here, Home Rule features funky goodies for your home. Busboys and Poets is a bookstore/restaurant that’s become something of an activists’ hangout, hosting frequent open mic nights and poetry slams. The place gets its name from Langston Hughes, who once worked in the neighborhood.

Bookstores

I like to hang out in Washington bookshops for the scene—politicians hawking their latest tell-all and activists plotting strategy over lattes in the corner. In a residential area north of downtown, Politics and Prose is a well-stocked bookstore and coffee shop that attracts politicos and hosts frequent author readings. Other favorites include Capitol Hill Books (for used and rare editions) and Kramerbooks & Afterwords, which opened in 1976 as the city’s first combination bookstore/cafe.

Georgetown

Georgetown‘s top-end boutiques and galleries make it an excellent spot for window shopping and browsing, especially around M Street and Wisconsin Ave. This Washington, D.C. shopping district is home to Hu’s Shoes, a must-visit for designer shoe fanatics. There are several art galleries in the area, including Susan Calloway Fine Arts, with an eclectic collection of antique and contemporary art. Leave some time for browsing Georgetown’s historic side streets too.

Union Station

Union Station is not only a shopping venue but also a working, historic train station (for Amtrak and Metrorail), beautifully restored with marble floors and vaulted ceilings. Here you’ll find name-brand retailers like H&M and Ann Taylor. A popular place to pose for a photo is at the sculpture of A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.

CityCenterDC

CityCenterDC is a relatively new Washington, D.C. shopping mall downtown, with a 10-acre cluster of upscale shops such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Kate Spade New York.

Eastern Market

Eastern Market is a weekend must-do. Join the locals looking for antiques, handmade jewelry and crafts, baked goods, flowers, and more at the open-air market on Capitol Hill, immediately east of the U.S. Capitol.

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—Original reporting by Fran Golden

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