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Guide to Exploring Downtown Leesburg
In an area characterized by box stores and cookie cutter architecture, downtown Leesburg has charm. By Hillary Jackson
Comments () | Published February 21, 2008

THE SCENE
Leesburg's quirky mix of restaurants and shops set in historic row houses give the town a distinctive feel. Downtown is also the home to the local newspapers and magazines, as well as the county’s Court House.

Routes 7 and 15 run right through the heart of downtown Leesburg. Though most of the major shops and restaurants are located within a three-block radius and can be reached on foot, the free trolley can transport riders to a number of locations throughout the town, including the Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets and Market Station. Parking is easy—there are several garages with free weekend parking, as well as street parking.

SHOPPING

English Manor, Gardens & Interiors (27 S. King St.; 703-669-3300). A visit to English Manor makes you feel like you’ve entered a European mansion (one where the tea and crumpets will be served at noon). Even if you’re not looking to redecorate, it’s fun to wander around this home furnishings and garden accessories specialty shop and marvel at its poshness.  

Four Shabby Chicks (30 S. King St.; 703-669-0380). Experts in furniture makeovers, this shop is stuffed with spruced-up dressers, end tables, vanities, and other odds and ends (like a vat of old buttons). This place is every restored-furniture lover's dream.

Madisonbelle (5 Loudoun St. SE; 703-443-1790). This women’s boutique carries high-end brands like Free People, Michael Stars, Joe’s Jeans and Seven For All Mankind. This place can inspire your inner hipness. Open Monday through Saturday 10:30 to 5:00 and by appointment.

Rouge (17 South King St.; 703-779-3700). This spa and boutique stocks make-up and assorted bath and body products. The goods are packaged and displayed in such a way that you’re guaranteed to hear at least one “how cute!” during your visit. This is a great place to shop for gifts for her, but you might be compelled to pick up a few treats for yourself along the way.  

DINING

Leesburg Restaurant (9 S. King St.; 703-777-3292). A diner-style eatery that’s been around since 1865, locals love the daily breakfast.

Market Street Coffee (19 W. Market St.; 571-258-0700). This downtown hangout serves up a comfy, trendy atmosphere with reliable hot beverages. It’s a breath of fresh air for anyone in need of a Starbucks alternative.

Puccio’s New York Deli (15 Loudoun St. SE; 703-779-7676). It may seem like just one of many sandwich shops downtown, but Puccio's specialty subs are a good reason to bypass the others. Open for breakfast and lunch.

Tuscarora Mill (203 Harrison St.; 703-771-9300). Tuskies, as it's known to locals, is a cafe, bar, and upscale restaurant all rolled into one: The front section of this renovated mill is the Tuskies Cafe, where you’ll find lighter fare on the menu, while the back room is reserved for formal dining.

ART & FUN

Earth and Fire Gallery (18 S. King St.; 703-443-0484). This gallery shows the work of nationally-known artists, and specializes in functional pottery. They also have jewelry, clocks, handbags, wood, hand-blown glass, metal sculpture and photography. Open Tuesdays 1 to 5, Wednesday through Saturday 11 to 5; closed Sunday and Monday.

On the First Friday of every month (except January), many of the galleries and shops downtown stay open past their usual closing times and each feature something extra—like refreshments or live music—from 6 to 9.  This is the best way to sample what Leesburg has to offer in a span of three hours and with extra goodies.

GREAT ITINERARY
A great day downtown should start with an iced mocha or a hot white chocolate mocha (depending on the weather) at Market Street Coffee.  Drink in hand, head down the street toward the Court House, and take in the sights along the way. At the corner, wander down North King Street and visit the Lavender Moon Soap Company (24 S. King St.; 703-777-1232) to pick up some loot to use in the shower.

After browsing the shop, head back down the street in the direction you came to hit the main drag: South King Street, where you’ll peruse the art at the Potomac Gallery (26 S. King St.; 703-771-8085), pick up some kitchen linens with a French flair at Creme de la Creme (101 S. King St.; 703-737-7702), select and purchase a bottle of wine at the Leesburg Vintner (29 S. King St.; 703-777-3322) and visit English Manor. Afterwards, head to Loudoun Street for lunch at Puccio’s New York Deli and more shopping at Madisonbelle, Four Shabby Chicks and Eyetopia (222 Loudoun St. SE; 703-443-6410), where you can buy new sunglasses, jewelry, or a handbag. 

After your exhausting day of shopping, rest your feet and grab dinner and drinks in the Tuskies Cafe—you'll deserve it.

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This article is part of Washingtonian's Visitors' Guide. For more articles like it, click here

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 02/21/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles