Shopping abounds in Washington, DC, from boutique stores to shopping centers. But if you want to get the most bang for your buck, or at least hit the most shops in one trip, one of these ten DC area shopping centers are your best bet.
If arrive via Amtrak, you can start shopping the minute your train stops at Union Station. There are more than 100 specialty shops located inside.
If you're visiting DC to catch a game or a show at the Verizon Center, budget some time before the big event to shop at Gallery Place, a shopping destination that's right next door.
If destination shopping is the purpose of your visit, plan to stay, play and shop at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, which includes an Embassy Suites, or Tysons Galleria, next door to the Ritz Carlton.
Other classic DC shopping centers include Capitol Hill's Eastern Market, the Old Post Office Pavilion and Georgetown's Cady's Alley, otherwise known as DC's design district.
For more of a shopping mall experience, spend your day at Mazza Gallerie, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, or the Crystal City Shops.
No matter which shopping center suits you, you can certainly shop until you drop in Washington, DC.
10 Tysons Galleria
Tysons Galleria has been called the Rodeo Drive of the East Coast. A companion "mall" to the Tysons Corner shopping center nearby, Tysons Galleria has always focused on the upper end of the shopping experience, attracting the leading names in fashion and goods. Anchor stores include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Neiman Marcus. There's also a Ritz-Carlton Hotel on site. Other famous names include Anthropologie, Cartier, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Williams-Sonoma. There are plenty of dining choices too, including a Cheesecake Factory and Legal Seafood of Boston. Tysons Galleria is just a short drive from D.C. in the McLean, Virginia. METRO: West Falls Church, transfer to the Fairfax Connector Bus 427. (703-827-7700)
9 Crystal City Shops
This huge shopping emporium is one of Crystal City's top attractions. Clothing boutiques, sporting goods stores, art galleries, excellent restaurants, hair salons, and gift shops of all kinds, make this shopping center feel like an entire village hidden beneath the city. More than 100 shops are laid out along an attractively landscaped underground walkway. Foot traffic is heavy during rush hour but is considerably less crowded in the off hours. Stores include Dress Barn, D.C. Men's wear, and Radio Shack. Restaurants include Ruth's Chris Steak House, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood and Good Stuff Eatery. Garage parking available. METRO: Crystal City. (703-892-4680, 703-922-4636)
8 Fashion Centre at Pentagon City
The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington is Washington DC's number one shopping destination, with more than 170 shops located on four levels just off the Metro stop. Top-quality name brands available here include Aeropostale, L'Occitane, Williams-Sonoma, BCBG, Rockport, United Colors of Benetton, J. Jill and Ann Taylor. Posh department stores Macy's and Nordstrom anchor the mall, which is adjacent to the upscale Ritz-Carlton. The sunny, high-ceilinged atrium, surrounded by the food court, is a popular place to stop for lunch. Dining spots include Panera Bread, Johnny Rockets, Chipolte and Panda Express. Parking is available in the garage, with EV stations, for a fee. METRO: Pentagon City. (703-415-2400)
7 Mazza Gallerie
Offering upscale shopping at its best, this elegant, multi-level mall caters to commuters and Wisconsin Avenue denizens. There are 18 shops including Ann Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Williams-Sonoma, and Saks Fifth Avenue Men's Store. Several grab-and-go dining options are available, like the newly opened West Wing Cafe. There is also a state-of-the-art 8-screen movie theater. Validated parking is available in a four-level garage. Bonus: there's an eco-friendly car detail shop on level 2 that will clean your car inside and out while you browse the stores inside the mall. Don't own a car? Access Mazza Gallerie from the Red Line. METRO: Friendship Heights. (202-966-6114)
6 Chevy Chase Pavilion
You can eat, shop and sleep all in one location at the newly renovated Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, DC. Shop until you drop at H&M, J. Crew, World Market, Richey & Co. Shoes, T Mobile, and CVS. Enjoy dinner at Range or the Cheesecake Factory and wind down at the Civil Cigar Lounge. Then, call it a night at Embassy Suites. In the morning, grab coffee from Starbucks and the Washington Post from Sunrise News Stand and relax at the lounge in the colorful and bright center atrium. There's even a concierge desk to assist you during your visit. METRO: Friendship Heights. (202-686-5335)
5 Old Post Office Pavilion and Tower
Once slated for the wrecking ball, this 1899 Romanesque Revival structure now houses a variety of shops and a busy food court. Live music is frequently scheduled, ranging from high school chorus groups to popular local jazz trios. No visit to the Old Post Office would be complete without a ride in the glass elevator to the top of the clock tower. At 315 feet, it's one of the highest viewpoints in town, second only to the Washington Monument. The view from the observation deck is amazing. The clock tower is also home to the United States Bells of Congress. METRO: Federal Triangle or Metro Center. (202-289-4224, 202-606-8691)
4 Eastern Market
Since 1873, this market has provided DC residents with produce, meat, bread and other necessary goods. A neighborhood institution, the covered brick structure is only seven blocks from the Capitol, so it's an easy diversion while you're sightseeing, and there are vendors inside and out. On weekends, vendors pitch everything from crafts to Christmas ornaments to clothes and antiques. The place is not only a tribute to DC's heritage, but a great stop-off for a quick bite or a souvenir. The market also serves as community hub for events. Open Tuesday-Sunday, Eastern Market welcomes more than 100 vendors from the greater DC area every weekend. METRO: Eastern Market. (202-543-7293)
3 Cady's Alley
Nestled between M Street and the C&O Canal in Georgetown, Cady's Alley is Washington, DC's design district.Its a home furnishing shopping destination as well as an excellent example of great design in-stores and outside. Enjoy design elements like exposed brick and glass walls along with a charming courtyard and a pedestrian-friendly alleyway between the North and South rows of stores. There are 20 retails outlets, from antique shops to high-end furniture design stores, that are sure to appeal to the fashion-conscious visitor to the district, plus a few places to grab a bite to eat. METRO: Dupont Circle, transfer to the DC Circulator to M Street. (202-688-3994)
2 Gallery Place
Gallery Place is a retail destination in Washington, DC's Chinatown neighborhood right next door to the Verizon Center, home to many DC sport teams. Shopping is abundant inside Gallery Place. Featured shops include Ann Taylor Loft, Bed, Bath & Beyond, City Sports and Urban Outfitters. There are also many restaurants and entertainment options. Dine at Bar Louie, Clyde's, Sushi Go Round, Thai Chili or Zengo. Bowl a strike or two at Lucky Strike or take in the latest blockbuster Regal Cinemas 14. Parking is available at the Gallery Place parking garage or you can take the METRO to Gallery Place/Chinatown. (202-778-3150)
1 Union Station
Now among Washington's most popular tourist sites, Union Station was, at the time of its opening in 1907, the world's largest train station. It has now been renovated into a monolithic one-stop shopping and dining mecca, with reflections of Roman architecture throughout. Its storied history includes numerous "homecomings" by famous Americans, such as General "Black Jack" Pershing. After undergoing a $160-million facelift, the now-thriving entity hosts some 23 million visitors a year, over 100 specialty shops and restaurants, an outdoor market and a 9-screen movie theatre, not to mention the daily influx of trains and buses arriving and departing the district. METRO: Union Station. (202-289-1908)
About Shannon Morgan
Shannon Morgan is a writer and editor, most recently for Maryland Life magazine. Shannon has also written for Food Network magazine, Frederick Magazine and several parenting web sites. She writes most often about travel, food and fitness.
Shannon has appeared on WYPR, the Baltimore affiliate of NPR, sharing fun events in Maryland, and spoken about social media strategies for travel organizations at local and international conferences.
She is a mom of two kids with food allergies, a runner and drinks more decaf coffee than one writer should.
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