USA: Washington DC, Family Vacatons - Go Where the Shopping Is Terrific.
The neighborhoods of Washington, DC have become the place to go for unique shopping. Home furnishings, shoe stores, and food emporia are tucked between cafes and row houses in Dupont Circle and on Capitol Hill. Other up and coming neighborhoods, such as the U Street district and along the 14th Street corridor are also home to some wonderful treasures. Looking for a good book?
It’s no surprise that the city that packs the country’s greatest concentration of PhDs would also pack an impressive array of bookstores. Many of them have impresive children's book selections and often times Saturday morning storytime. Kramerbooks and Afterwords Café.
A perennial favorite, Kramerbooks and Afterwords Cafe is a comfortable, friendly Dupont Circle bookstore with shelves of books you’d expect to find and a few books you probably won’t find elsewhere. The bookstore is open 24 hours on weekends, so late night reading binges can easily be accommodated. The adjacent café serves comfort food, sumptuous desserts and occasionally features live music. (1517 Connecticut Ave., NW 1(202) 387-1400 or www.kramers.com
) Sister Space.
Washington, DC is also home to the only African-American women-owned and operated book store, Sister Space, specializing in books by and about African-American women. Their motto is "a global space for global citizens" - who doesn't love that? (1515 U St., NW 1(202) 332-3433 or www.sisterspacedc.com
) Chapters Literary Bookstore.
If you’re looking to commune with the world’s greatest literary minds, visit Chapters Literary Bookstor
e. Chapters stocks a selective inventory and hosts an unbeatable lineup of visiting authors, but the store itself is hardly intimidating. Fridays bring free tea and cookies, and the store pauses to celebrate Proust’s birthday in July. (445 11th St., NW 1(202) 737-5553) Where to see a movie.
It’s not Hollywood, but you’ll see an impressive array of celebrities filing through Washington, DC, filming new projects, premiering new releases or pleading pet causes in Congress. Washingtonians treat visiting celebrities with style—whether they’re on screen or off screen.
Cineplex Odeon Uptown.
Your top choice for seeing a movie should be the Cineplex Odeon Uptown. It’s a retro movie house that screams Art Deco, with its towering screen and glamorous street front. While generally showing the latest and loudest in Hollywood’s special effects catalog, the theater makes an occasional retreat to Alfred Hitchcock and other classics. (3426 Connecticut Ave., NW 1(202) 966-5400)
E Street Cinema.
The best spot to catch a movie downtown is the E Street Cinema. Opened in January 2004, it’s an eight-screen luxury movie theatre specializing in first-run independent and foreign language films, documentary features and classic revivals. (555 11th St., NW 1(202) 452-7672 or www.landmarktheatres.com
Screen on the Green.
Visiting in the summer? Screen on the Green brings classic films to the grounds of the Washington Monument every Monday night at sunset from mid-July to mid-August. Admission is free, just bring a blanket, kick back and relax. (1-877-262-5866.) Markets Eastern Market.
To submerse yourself in the Washington, DC shopping experience, spend a weekend morning at Eastern Market. Washingtonians meet here for heavenly blueberry pancake breakfasts and to sift through fresh produce and savory meats and cheeses. An arts and crafts section brings brightly colored flowers, homemade soaps, hand-fashioned jewelry, tarot card readings, and more. (225 7th St., SE).
The Dupont Market.
Seasonal farmers markets are also great places for people-watching and for picking up fresh local produce. The Dupont Market bustles with tasty organic produce, meat, cheeses, samples and cooking demonstrations by local chefs on Sundays from 9 am-1 pm, April through December. (20th St. between Q St. and Massachusetts Ave., NW) Georgetown Flea Market.
On Sundays, the Georgetown Flea Market stocks an unbeatable selection of home furnishings, antique records, and other buys. (Wisconsin Ave., between S and T Sts., NW) Home Décor.
After you’ve perused the city’s markets, head to the U Street neighborhood for a crash course in home décor. A cluster of home furnishing stores has opened up around the intersection of 14th and U Streets with the singular mission of making every home in the District spill over with cool gadgets and furnishings Home Rule.
Poking fun at the city’s quest for statehood, Home Rule is a home furnishings experience. It’s where you’ll go to find a shower curtain that resembles bubble wrap, or a toilet plunger shaped like an Academy Award. (1807 14th St., NW 1(202) 797-5544 or www.homerule.com
) Millennium Decorative Arts.
Let your shopping odyssey take you a block over and a few decades back in time Millennium Decorative Arts. Millennium is where you’ll find treasures from the last millennium—house wares, clothing, knickknacks, you name it. Millennium is also a great place to find affordable, durable furniture and unexpectedly cool home furnishings. (1528 U St., NW; 202-462-4444)
Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot.
If you can’t find it on U Street, head to Adams Morgan. Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot is another venerated place to pick up inexpensive and unique home furnishings. Pick out your love seats and sofas and upholstered chairs here, crystal glasses and trendy flatware. (1810 Adams Mill Rd., NW 1(202) 232-8171 or www.misspixies.com
Clothing, Shoes, Accessories, Etc.
Adams Morgan also boasts other specialty stores that attract shoppers from all over the region. The Proper Topper.
Looking to accessorize? The Proper Topper has locations in Georgetown and near Dupont Circle, and it’s where to go if you want to buy a hat… or bath products, funky gifts, jewelry, bags, kitschy books, and whatever else tickles your fancy. (3213 P St., NW; 202-333-6200 and 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-842-3055 or www.propertopper.com
Always on the move and ever changing, Washington, DC is a cosmopolitan, lively world capital. To keep up with what’s hot in Washington, DC, log on to www.washington.org