Best Christmas Shopping in Washington

List Made So Check It Off With These Top D.C. Holiday Shopping Spots

During the holidays, you will often hear Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas is You" over the radio. Well, that song sentiment is awfully nice but a lot of us want a present to unwrap that magical morning. Luckily, Washington, D.C. provides consumers with a number of incredible shopping options when it comes to finding that gift that will melt someone's heart or put a smile on even the most persnickety face so start making those lists and get ready to circle some parking lots because 10Best has rounded up some great holiday shopping spots for you in the nation's capital. 

Holiday markets featuring locally-made goods are quite popular here. You will want to check out the Downtown Holiday Market or the Tysons Corner Center Holiday Market. Looking for a gift that will remind you of your time in the nation's capital? Look no further than the White House Historical Association for their annual Christmas ornament. (This year's selection of a train was inspired by the Harding administration.)

We've also included some neighborhoods and a city worth visiting. Check out Union Station, Eastern Market or downtown Frederick, Md. to find unique products made by local vendors.  

Now, if you will excuse us, we need to go back to some of these venues and do some gift buying off the clock.



With more than 100 exhibitors from five states and five countries, Eastern Market's Flea Market is one of the most diverse in the nation. Located only seven blocks from the Capitol, this flea market is at its most vibrant over the weekend. Vendors sell a wide spectrum of products including decoupage boxes, tutus, T-shirts, Turkish bath towels, glass designs, handmade jewelry and antiques. Some exhibitors take credit cards but cash is the most often used form of currency. If all your searching leaves you hungry, the market has food vendors available selling warm pretzels, coffee and empanadas. METRO: Eastern Market.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: A great venue to pick up a souvenir or find a special treasure to give to a loved one.

Gina's expert tip: If you are planning on driving there, meters are free on Sundays.

Read more about Eastern Market →

Hope you are wearing your tennis shoes because this center is one of the largest shopping malls in the United States. With more than 300 specialty shops and restaurants, shopping is an all day event. Located just 13 miles outside of Washington, D.C., the venue features an AMC movie theater in case you need a break in between shopping. Be sure to check out the center's website for information on sales and events happening during your visit. Don't feel like carrying all those packages home? The center offers same day delivery for $5. Local zip codes only. Be sure to take a spin at the center's ice skating rink to really get into the holiday spirit. METRO: Tysons Corner

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: With so many stores, you are sure to find everything you need and have some fun while shopping.

Gina's expert tip: Check out The Plaza, a walkway from the Silver Line Metro for special holiday events!

Read more about Tysons Corner Center →

A train station may seem like an unlikely (and last minute) option to picking out holiday gifts but after undergoing an $160-million renovation, you will understand why this place made the list. One of the district's most popular tourist sites, Union Station not only hosts daily trains and buses but also over 100 specialty shops and restaurants, an outdoor market and a 9-screen movie theatre. A list of stores can be found on the station's website but include Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, and President Cigars. Opened in 1907, the station features touches of Roman architecture throughout the structure. METRO: Union Station.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Master the ability of multitasking while traveling and shopping at the same time.

Gina's expert tip: Sure you can see large trains here all the time but come during the holidays to see smaller versions on display.

Read more about Union Station →


Last holiday season during national Small Business Saturday, President Barack Obama brought his two daughters here to buy holiday gifts and once you step inside, you will understand why. Locally owned by two former "Washington Post" reporters, the store has more than 100,000 titles to chose from for those book worms in your life. Don't want to get your loved one something they already have? The store offers the option to create gift registries and wish lists. You could also enroll someone special in the Book-a-Month gift program. Tell the store your loved one's preferences and a staffer will carefully chose a winning book to come their way every month. METRO: Van Ness

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Whatever title you are searching for, this bookstore is sure to have it or know how to get a copy.

Gina's expert tip: Check out their events calendar to see local and nationally-known authors who will be stopping in for a visit.

Read more about Politics & Prose Bookstore →

Want to learn about a country and get some shopping done too? Head on over to the Swedish Holiday Bazaar – an annual craft fair and holiday celebration on the waterfront in Georgetown. Hosted by the Swedish Women's Educational Association (SWEA), the Embassy of Sweeden and the house of Sweden, the event will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5. at the House of Sweden. Peruse the many vendors selling a variety of unique gifts including Kosta Boda and Orrefors glassware, textiles, and books. Be sure to eat while you are there including sampling some glogg or princesstara. METRO: Foggy Bottom

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: A unique bazaar that will teach you about another country and provide different gifts for loved ones.

Gina's expert tip: Hang around until the end of the event for caroling by the Swedish St. Lucia Procession.

Read more about Swedish Holiday Bazaar →

Outside the City

With thousands of twinkling lights providing a soft glow to the historic streets of downtown Frederick, Md., even Ebenezer Scrooge would feel the holiday spirit. Composed of dozens of locally-owned businesses, Downtown Frederick has multiple shopping options. Check out Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts to find a child's present free of batteries. Go to Zoe's Chocolate Co. for some sinfully delicious treats or get your paintbrushes ready to create some pottery at I Made This. During the Three Saturdays in December event, be sure to take a carriage ride through downtown or check out musicians playing festive holiday music.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: A winning combination of locally owned businesses with festive decorations in a historic area.

Gina's expert tip: During the 'Three Saturdays' event, get a free hot cocoa at two different locations or make a s'more outside of Volt Restaurant.

Read more about Downtown Frederick →

National Harbor Holiday Harbor Market
Photo courtesy of National Harbor

Beginning Nov. 14 and running every weekend until Dec. 20, the market allows gift seekers the chance to give unique gifts for those hard-to-please folks. While you are there, sample some hot drinks to keep warm. Take home fresh local produce, eat some delectable treats and buy some holiday greenery, such as wreaths or trees. If you haven't got your entire list finished yet, head on over to the Tanger Outlets which offers well-known stores such as Gap Factory Store, Calvin Klein, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger. National Harbor makes shopping fun by also including fun activities during the holiday season. See a light show after dark, watch a holiday movie or take a spin on the Capital Wheel.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This festival offers patrons the opportunity to shop and participate in fun activities.

Gina's expert tip: If you take a ride on the Capital Ferris Wheel, don't worry about getting cold. The gondolas are heated.

Read more about National Harbor Holiday Harbor Market →

Smithsonian Store
Photo courtesy of Union Station Smithsonian Store

Wouldn't we all love to own some of the things we see on display in the Smithsonian Institution's 19 separate museums and the National Zoo? Of course! (Hope Diamond for me!) Sadly, the real ones are not for sale but you may find much more affordable products inspired by the real items at the Smithsonian Store. For your little space lover, you can take home a child's astronaut backpack, gloves and boots. Jacqueline Kennedy fans can buy jewelry inspired by the items she made famous including over sized sunglasses and pearl necklaces. Art lovers will want replicas of famous sculptures including Tang Dynasty Horse on Stand. METRO: Union Station

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: This store gives museum lovers a way to bring the items home with them.

Gina's expert tip: Go online to order if you can't make it to one of the stores.

Read more about Smithsonian Store →

This non-profit organization aims to teach others about the historical significance of America's most famous home. To raise funds for creating informative publications and acquiring items for The White House, the association has an array of products to chose from for gifts. Probably their best known product is the annual White House Christmas ornament. This year, Calvin Coolidge's presidency is honored. Since he was the first president to host a Christmas tree lighting, the association has chosen the symbol for its ornament complete with ornaments representing facets of the 30th president including a raccoon he kept as a pet and a cowboy hat since he loved to wear them. The association has other items to chose from including books, puzzles, jewelry, neckties, toys, framed prints and posters. METRO: Farragut North or West

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: If you want a talking piece for your tree, this is a great option.

Gina's expert tip: With the holidays causing crazy schedules, you may not make it to an association store but you can order it by phone or online.

Read more about White House Historical Association →

This annual market features more than 150 small, local businesses selling a variety of handmade products all in one convenient location: the F Street sidewalk in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, between 7th and 9th streets NW. Opening on Black Friday this year, the market runs every day until Dec. 23. Paintings, clothing, jewelry, antiques and candles are just a few of the products offered. After meandering through the shopping village, make sure to save some time to watch live entertainment on the market's stage featuring artists from every genre of music. METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Nestled near two prominent museums, this market gives visitors a chance to both sightsee and shop.

Gina's expert tip: If you are going to see a particular vendor be sure to check the schedule first. Some are only there on certain days.

Read more about Downtown Holiday Market →


Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina