The best music stores in DC
Revamp your vinyl collection at these music stores or buy an instrument and learn how to play
Best book stores in Washington, DC
Politics & Prose
As you might guess, Politics & Prose carries a lot of both, plus a large section that is set aside for children and teenagers, and there’s a coffee shop downstairs too. The store is much more than just a thriving independent bookshop, it’s a much-loved institution and a must-stop for prominent authors who are on the reading-tour circuit. Carla Cohen, the shop’s well-known founder and co-owner, died in late 2010; two former Washington Post journalists, married couple Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, took over the following year.
Big Planet Comics
This purveyor of underground comics and graphic novels moved out of its Georgetown store in 2011 and set up shop on the U Street Corridor.
Not just a bookshop, but an episode of Blind Date, Kramerbooks is an oft-used venue for a first assignation. First, meet in the bookshop, then repair to the attached café (Afterwords), which serves meals and snacks throughout the day. Possibilities of romance aside, the book selection is good.
Capitol Hill Books
Two packed and dusty floors of second-hand books—fiction, mysteries, politics, cooking and more—plus rare and first editions. Navigate the maze of narrow aisles to browse shelves packed floor to ceiling with hardbacks and paperbacks.
Best shops in Washington, DC
This family-owned Georgetown institution offers affordable designer jewelry and comfortable clothes for women, as well as sought-after Mexican imports—Day of the Dead figurines, alebrijes (colorful, fanciful animals) and antique silver. There is a wide selection of separates from the likes of Eileen Fisher, Cut Loose and White + Warren. Semi-precious-bead necklaces and earrings dominate the numerous trinket cases, culled from the collections of local and international jewelry artists. Latico, Ellington and Carla Mancini bags and versatile knit dresses round out the wardrobe offerings.
The glittering window displays of Tabandeh stop passers-by in the basement of the Mazza Gallerie in their tracks. This jewelry boutique features pieces from high-end designers scarcely available elsewhere in the city. Giant gray and white Tahitian pearls from Samira 13, stunning chunky gemstone pieces from Iradj Moini, and case after case of precious gems tempt the buyer of means. More-affordable pieces include those from Hollywood-popular Gas Bijoux and angular pieces from Alexi Bittar. Accessories, such as bags, belts and scarves, are also in store.
There’s not that much fresh Italian produce in DC, but most of what there is can be found at Vace. The aroma of freshly rolled and baked pizzas (their specialty, in slices or pies) will draw you inside, where you’ll find freezers of ready-to-heat pastas, and coolers of soft, delicious linguines plus awesome imported parmesan and other cheeses, all across from a deli case of carpaccio, salamis, hams and, last but certainly not least, olives. And don’t overlook the wine selection.