They’re kitschy, cool and sometimes curious. They’re souvenirs, and you know you’re not leaving Washington, D.C. without them. But what if you've perused every t-shirt-shilling street vendor in sight and still can’t find that perfect District-themed goodie? It’s time to head to America! at Union Station. (America! has other locations around the city, too, but Union Station is especially destination-worthy.)
America! sits inside gorgeous Union Station — Photo courtesy of SP Plus Corporation
An outpost devoted to honoring the motherland, America! boasts an enormous variety of knickknacks, apparel, mugs, novelties, postcards, chocolates and other candies, books and even home décor items - not that anyone’s suggesting you deck out your place like the White House. Let's be reasonable.
Even the youngest patriots can sport their love of country — Photo courtesy of America!
Many of the goodies on offer commemorate the capital’s biggest draws, including the aforementioned White House; the annual Cherry Blossom Festival; the U.S. Capitol; the U.S. Supreme Court; the dozens of monuments and memorials; the Smithsonian Institution; the National Zoo; the Kennedy Center; and, of course, the president and first lady du jour.
Presidential merchandise reigns supreme at America! — Photo courtesy of America!
A full-size replica of the presidential press podium is on hand, too. Don’t leave America! without getting at least one snap of yourself or your family standing behind it and feigning gravitas.
Patriotic meets pink in this playful hoodie — Photo courtesy of America!
Like most other shops, America! offers wares in a range of prices. So don’t despair if there’s no room in your budget for a particular high-end bauble. Chances are, you’ll find something just as desirable that’s more in your range.
And don’t worry about the kids getting bored while you’re shopping. America! sits on the main-level concourse of one of D.C.'s most beautiful, most awe-inspiring structures: Union Station. There’s no shortage of things to see, do and explore in its historic halls, and there’s architectural grandeur at every turn.
Nobody will tire of the surroundings quickly. (And if they do? Point out that McDonald’s – with its glorious Happy Meals – is just steps away. It might buy you a few more minutes to shop in peace.)
Just one of the many patriotic baubles on offer at America! — Photo courtesy of America!
Is there something cheesy about blatantly patriotic merchandise? Absolutely! Is snagging some of it still a whole lot of fun? Absolutely! So remember to stop by America! the next time you've got a yen to shop in the nation’s capital. After all, where else are you gonna find that Secret Service travel mug you've always secretly craved?
(In addition to cash, America! accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and traveler’s checks. Military discounts are available.)