Capital Style: The Insider's Guide to D.C.-Area Shopping

Fashionable finds downtown, in swanky suburban malls and along historic streets

Washington, D.C. isn't just for politics—it's full of great shopping as well. From Georgetown to CityCenterDC to Friendship Heights, there's something for everyone. Follow our guide to shopping around D.C. and you're sure to run into some great finds!

Georgetown, D.C. 

Iconic Washington style meets on-trend looks in this quaint, historic district that has some of D.C.’s swankiest shops plus a burgeoning art and design district.

Along the red brick sidewalks of M Street NW are big-name retailers like Co-Op by Barney’s New YorkIntermixRag & BoneUrban Chic and Cusp, where shoppers stock up on contemporary separates. Indoor mall The Shops at Georgetown Park offers trendy clothes without the hefty designer price tags at H&MAnthropologieT.J. Maxx and J. CrewFrye and Tory Burch and hip hat shop Goorin Bros. set up shop on Wisconsin Avenue.

Urban Chic, D.C.

At independently owned local boutique Hu’s Wear, well-curated ready-to-wear includes designs from Helmut Lang, Balenciaga and Lanvin. Nearby sister shop Hu’s Shoes stocks trendy, hard-to-find designer footwear. Former head judge on Bravo TV's Top Design, Jonathan Adler, brings funky decor, luxury furnishings and colorful textiles to his shop in Georgetown. 

Jonathan Adler boutique

Pastel-clad shoppers and prepsters seeking an Old Washington look relish the classic dress shirts and bold prints at Brooks Brothers, while Hugh & Crye offers a more tapered alternative. Go-to menswear shop Ike Behar carries top-quality dress shirts, suits, ties and accessories.

Tucked away on a cobblestone lane south of M Street (between 33rd and 34th streets) are the shops of Cady’s Alley, a cluster often hailed as “Georgetown’s Design District.” Here find timeless sportswear at Babette and home furnishings at Contemporaria (modern) and Baker Furniture (more traditional).  Artist’s Proof gallery features emerging artists local and from around the world. North of M Street, in Book Hill, eight other galleries form a booming art district. 

The Shops of Cady's Alley

CityCenterDC, D.C. 

Shoppers who desire exclusive brands now welcome signs of downtown retail renaissance. So do window shoppers who admire luxury goods in the ground-level shops of CityCenterDC. Luxe retailers Longchamp (leather goods) and Zadig & Voltaire (ready-to-wear coming soon) open their first D.C. locations at this complex in Penn Quarter alongside shops like TumiAllen EdmondsKate Spade and Boss. Burberry and Salvatore Ferragamo will become their high-end neighbors within the year. 

Longchamp

The complex also features an ultra high-res digital art archway that projects static and moving images of dance, architecture, illusion, space and water. In the parks and green space that surround the shops, CityCenterDC offers seasonal events like the FRESHFARM market every Tuesday until October.  

The Gateway at CityCenterDC

Friendship Heights, Chevy Chase, D.C. and Maryland

No, this prime shopping zone does not take its name from a comedian (SNL alum and movie star). “Chevy Chase” actually refers to a Scottish hunting ground, and the words appear on a colonial-era map identifying a gift of land by Lord Baltimore to Lord Calvert. Late in the 19th century a U.S. Senator (and mining millionaire) from Nevada purchased some acres here, kept the old designation and laid out streets with Scottish names. Today the landscape encompasses residential neighborhoods, churches, cafes and the bustling blocks of Wisconsin Avenue as it crosses the border between D.C. and Maryland. It’s still a hunting ground.

Chevy Chase Pavilion

Credit the Red Line Metro stop at the intersection of Wisconsin and Western avenues with transforming relatively quiet Friendship Heights into a dynamic destination. On the D.C. (south) side of the line, find Mazza Gallerie, a luxe enclosed complex with a cineplex and retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue for Men, respected jewelers like Pampillonia and Chas Schwartz & Son and national presences like Kron Chocolatier and Williams-Sonoma. On the west Mazza faces Lord & Taylor, on the east Chevy Chase Pavilion, an indoor mall with upscale restaurant Range and vendors like Richey Shoes and Civil Cigar Lounge. In this same block are discount stores like Nordstrom Rack and  DSW for shoes.

Bloomingdales at the Shops at Wisconsin Place

On the Maryland side of the border, on the northwest corner, a sleek newish Bloomingdale’s anchors the Shops at Wisconsin Place. The cluster here features Eileen FisherBCBGMAXAZRIACole Haan, the restaurants Capital Grille and PF Chang’s and LED sculpture in the dual plazas. 

The Collection at Chevy Chase

One block north of the Metro station, The Collection at Chevy Chase aims to live up to its early nickname—“The Rodeo Drive of the East.” Certainly high-end boutiques (many with doormen/guards) represent big names—Ralph LaurenDiorCartierGucciLouis VuittonBulgari and Tiffany & Co. Steps away from this row, shoppers find more high-end merch—on the west side of Wisconsin Brooks Bros. and Saks Jandel, on the east Saks Fifth Avenue with women’s wear, cosmetic, shoes and jewelry.

Tysons Corner, Virginia

From a 19th-century rural crossroads known as Peach Grove, Tysons Corner has morphed into a mega business and retail zone. And the evolution continues. Metrorail recently opened four Silver Line stations in this bustling exurb, including one that’s just steps from two style-filled indoor malls.

Tysons Galleria

Since 1968 Tysons Corner Center has been a go-to retail powerhouse. With 300-plus shops, anchored by Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s, the mall proves that “something for everyone” isn’t always a cliché. Sporty types pop into North Face, Under Armour and L.L. Bean, while techies check out the latest gadgets at the Apple Store. Kids make a beeline for American Girl or Lego, and fashionistas score head-to-toe trends from well-known brands like Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters. Beauty and skincare options include Aveda, Kiehl’s and Sephora. Luckily food courts and more than a dozen sit-down restaurants offer plenty of spots to refuel.

Sarar

For more luxe labels, cross Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) to high-end, marble-floored Tysons Galleria. In the three-story space, sophisticated shoppers find cocktail frocks and evening gowns at department stores Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. Turkish brand Sarar offers slim-fit suits for the fashion-forward gent. To complete the look, big names like Chanel, Gucci and Kate Spade stock posh accessories, while jewelers Cartier and Liljenquist & Beckstead add sparkle. (The last moves to nearby Fairfax Square in September but keeps a watch store here.) There’s even a Sassoon Salon for hair cuts and color. A “fitting” end to a shopping spree here? Dinner at celeb chef José Andrés’ newest outpost, America Eats Tavern in the Ritz-Carlton.

 

Pentagon City, Virginia

Just across the river from D.C., between the Pentagon and Reagan National Airport, find a highly concentrated, easily accessible shopping district. Connected by tunnel to the Metro, the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is an indoor mall given an open, airy feel by large skylights. A glass elevator glides among three levels holding more than 170 stores like Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Armani Exchange, Coach, Henri Blendel and Swarovski Crystal.

For an outdoor shopping stroll, try the adjacent Pentagon Row, which features on-trend options at retailers like Denim Bar and Loft plus high-quality kitchen tools at Sur La Table. International flavors surface at World Market and restaurants like Lebanese Taverna, Brasserie Creperie and Thaiphoon. A plaza draws crowds for concerts in summer and ice skating in winter. 

Brooke Sabin
About the author

Brooke served as the Washington, D.C., edito...