local gifts dc

Give the Gift of Local

The holidays are upon us, and chances are you’re one of the many shoppers scrambling to find gifts at the last minute. But fear not, for trips to insufferably crowded shopping malls or online impulse buys are not your only options. On Tap has scoped out some of the DC area’s best neighborhoods for shopping locally this holiday season, so read on for unique, stress-free ways to find the perfect gift.

Bethesda Row

Bethesda Row celebrates the holidays with live music the first three Saturdays in December. While you’re strolling to the tunes, pick out presents at Yiro/Tugooh Toys, which specializes in organic, eco-friendly toys, clothing and furniture for the little ones. And if you’re in the habit of buying sweaters for holiday presents, mix it up with Kit and Ace, the new boutique that proudly features clothing made from a “washable cashmere blend.” For the oenophile on your gift list, present them with a Wine Seminar and Master Class at Cork & Fork. The foodies will be delighted with something from Secolari Olive Oil & Vinegar, which also stocks an extensive range of pastas (including gluten-free options). The store only stocks items after the owners personally verify that each product meets their exacting standards for quality and luxury. JS

Capitol Riverfront

Take the Navy Yard Metro to the Capitol Riverfront and peruse urban, modern furniture, rugs and home accessories at EVO Furniture, or if you’re feeling really ambitious and/or generous, check out their showroom and pick out your own color, fabric and configuration for a custom piece for your favorite person. Other options include craft beer and wine at Cornercopia, a membership to fitness and boxing studio DCBFIT, a gift certificate to take a class at DC’s Trapeze School, or a gift certificate to a Barracks Row restaurant like the Euro-fusion inspired Belga Café. MA

Monroe St Market

Brookland has emerged as one of DC’s edgiest destinations, with 27 artist studios, trendy cafes and a university vibe. Start your gift shopping at Hälsa – it’s the final word in healthy ‘fast’ food (bone broth, anyone?), but they also have a marvelous wall of creative, locally-made chocolates, jams, and other edibles. For the peddlers in your life, visit The Bike Rack, voted DC’s Best Bike Shop of 2015; it shares space with Filter Coffeehouse, so you can also get a bag of Ceremony Coffee (roasted in Annapolis) for the caffeine fiend on your list. On December 17, visit the Arts Walk for their “Third Thursday” market and celebration. Start at Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration (Studio 14) for their Grand Opening and Holiday Market from 5:00-10:00 p.m.; drinks and appetizers will be served. JS

Mount Vernon Triangle

The gift options are endless for your fit friends and family in MVT. Choose between a bike, bike accessories, or a gift card for classes, events, rides, or tours at BicycleSPACE, a gift card for classes at indoor cycling space SoulCycle, and a gift certificate for classes or massage therapy at yoga and meditation studio Bhakti Yoga DC. For anyone with a sweet tooth, pick up baked goods (or a gift card for them) at Baked & Wired or a gift certificate for a bite at its sister store, A Baked Joint. MA


Union Market is the obvious choice for the foodie in your life, or if you just need to take a break from shopping and nosh on something delicious. Pick up flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Ah Love Oil & Vinegar and local wines and craft beers from Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, or tableware and vintage home decor from food writer Amanda McClements’ Salt & Sundry. Or hit up the H Street Corridor for mid-century modern art and home items at the Hunted House and vintage and designer clothing and accessories at consignment shop The Chic Shack. MA

Pike & Rose

Pike & Rose gets a lot of buzz for its luxurious iPic Movie Theater (hint hint – tickets make good gifts!), but there’s so much more. For the kids, the locally-owned Yogaso Boutique features Aleme, the clothing line designed and launched by owner Alem Beshir. For the grown-ups, head to Francesca’s, a packed boutique filled with affordable knickknacks and gifts (think candles and home accents), as well as clothing and jewelry. The foodies will be delighted to receive something from Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom – we recommend the Seasons Premium Balsamic, which actually is divine on ice cream! JS


Rosslyn is the perfect stop for a fine dining gift, with a range of restaurants to choose from. Treat friends to a night out at Arlington favorite Café Asia or the Art Institute of Washington’s student-run Culinaire Restaurant, or your special someone to a romantic evening at Amuse, with a million-dollar view of the city overlooking the Potomac River. Or for the health nut in your life, pick up a gift card to ballet-barre, Pilates, cardio and strength training fitness studio LavaBarre or boutique gym Verve Health & Fitness. MA

  • Amuse: 1121 19th St. N Arlington, VA; 703-351-1211
  • Café Asia: 1550 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.cafeasia.com
  • Culinaire Restaurant: 1820 N Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington, VA; 703-247-3841
  • LavaBarre: 1528 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA; www.lavabarre.com
  • Verve Health & Fitness: 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA; www.vervehealthandfitness.com

Contributors: Monica Alford and Jean Schindler