If you’re looking for a shopping district in the DC area with panache and authentic charm, Old Town Alexandria’s historic King Street can’t be beat. With more than 160 independent retailers and 100 restaurants from the Metro to the waterfront, its 17 blocks hum with activity as shoppers stroll the brick sidewalks from store to store, scooping up anything-but-cookie-cutter finds. Ready to go? Read on for our King Street shopping tips to take advantage of all Alexandria’s historic main drag has to offer.
Upper King Street: Home décor, apparel and kid’s stores
Image credit: James Cullum for Visit Alexandria
Start your shopping trip on Upper King Street, the stretch between the King Street-Old Town Metro stop and Alfred Street. From there you can walk down King’s bustling blocks to the waterfront, or take the Free King Street Trolley, which runs every 15 minutes.
On Upper King Street, you’ll find a collection of men’s clothing stores, including Natty Beau’s with its preppy, southern fashions, Dash’s with upscale suiting, and King Street Clothiers with luxury Italian menswear.
Upper King is also home to two great kid’s stores. At Hooray for Books!, Alexandria’s only independent children’s bookstore, kids can choose from new and classic books, music, games and puzzles, while Pink & Brown offers children’s clothing made from 100 percent organic materials.
The 1100 block of King Street marks the beginning of its “décor corridor”: discover rustic antiques and urban chic at Red Barn Mercantile, high-end upholstery and accessories at Victoria at Home, and elegant gifts at J. Brown & Co. Nearby, DIY-ers can explore fibre space’s wide range of yarn and fabrics. See also: The Hour for midcentury glassware and Chinoiserie for Japanese and Finnish housewares hand-selected by the owner.
For quality women’s apparel, stop by An American in Paris (elegant European designs), Current (new and consignment fashions) and Imagine Artwear (handcrafted clothing and jewelry by American artists). If you’re looking for jewelry, you can also try Today’s Cargo with costume and fine jewelry or Gold Works for custom-design pieces.
DINING TIPS: Are you starving after all that shopping? Hit Hank’s Oyster Bar, La Fromagerie Cheese and Wine Bistro, BRABO Tasting Room (you’ve got to try their flatbread), or the kid-friendly Hard Times Café. Local favorite Misha’s will give you your caffeine jolt and Alexandria Cupcake or Killer ESP, a sweet treat.
Middle King Street: National brands, doggy delights
Image credit: James Cullum for Visit Alexandria
For more intimate shopping, pop in Bishop Boutique, with its on-trend shoes, bags and jewelry. Consignment store Mint Condition sells designer clothing at a fraction of the original price, and Old Town fixture King’s Jewelry has carried fine jewelry for more than 50 years. At 619 King Street, Raul’s Menwear is one of the best men’s boutiques in town.
Pet-owners and their four-legged friends can browse doggy treats, toys and accessories at The Dog Park. Its unique collection is nothing to sniff at (or maybe it is…)!
Stop by Stuart Nordin Home & Design for home accessories handpicked by an Alexandria native, then head to Papyrus for gift wrapping.
Lower King Street: Art galleries, jewelry and specialty shops
Image credit: Sarah Hauser for VTC
Now that you’ve passed Market Square and caught a glimpse of Alexandria’s waterfront, what’s left? A lot. Home décor shops Coco Blanca, Decorium, Tchoupitoulas and Acme Mid-century + Modern suit a range of design palettes, from clean and modern to classic and whimsical.
If you’re looking for jewelry and accessories, She’s Unique has stylish jewelry by domestic designers, Lou Lou carries jewelry, handbags and scarves, Lawrence Miller offers expert restoration services and Silver Parrot stocks handcrafted pieces for various price points. For classic American fashion with a nautical touch, check out Lucky Knot.
Just one block off King, the “Cuisinettes” at La Cuisine help equip any professional or amateur chef with top-quality kitchen gear and ingredients, while specialty shop The Spice and Tea Exchange offers exotic spices and seasonings.
A thriving arts hub, Lower King Street also is home to The Torpedo Factory Art Center, with 82 artist studios and six galleries open to the public (including The Art League); 165 resident artists work in media including ceramics, fiber, glass, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Not far away, you can admire contemporary realist art at Principle Gallery or peruse Old Town prints and gifts at Gallery Lafayette. Get those gifts wrapped at nearby Paper Source.
DINING TIPS: Try Virtue Feed & Grain for American fare with views of the Potomac. Grape + Bean Wine Bar offers a seasonal menu, and Pizza Paradiso is a kid-friendly dining scene. Other great lunch options include Mai Thai and La Madeleine. For a quick snack, try Lavender Moon Cupcakery (organic cupcakes!) or the Alexandria Visitors Center for hot chocolate, tea and coffee.
For more information about shopping in Alexandria, click here.