We’ve all been there. The in-law who just wants something “cozy” or the friend who is asking for “fun stuff.” Rather than providing an Amazon link to the exact gift they want like a normal human, they send you out into the world with nothing but a vague idea of what they like.
Lucky for you, DC is home to several amazing gift shops that will guide you to the ideal present. Come in with your vague idea; leave with some gorgeous mercury glass candle hurricanes.
Filled with treasures from around the world, this Georgetown boutique markets high-end hostess gifts–nice candles and serving dishes–along with men’s and women’s accessories and home goods. But alongside the trinkets that are present in every gift store, there’s a selection of finer gifts–from gold jewelry to classic watches to crystal stemware–that they’ll own forever. 1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-7200.
This Georgetown shop resembles the home goods side (read: the best side) of Anthropologie. Bigger items, like furniture and lamps, are available for sale, along with hostess-friendly gifts–candles, glassware, salt and pepper shakers–and unique decor. Visit their Georgetown boutique, or their new location at National Harbor. 1319 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-684-2790.
The petite second-story boutique in Old Town Alexandria is an ideal spot to shop for new girlfriend who you’re just not sure what to get. Everything is adorable–such as the “You’re My Person” needlepoint hoop or the white and copper bud vase–so it’s pretty impossible to go wrong here. 107 N Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-566-0177.
For the history buff or collector, this new CityCenterDC boutique is a dream come true. Original maps of the DC region, antique American flags, and first edition books line the walls, while modern men’s accessories–Shinola, Filson, and Throne watches; Owen & Fred dopp kits; and hand-painted cufflinks–provide some lower price-point gift options. 973 Palmer Alley, NW; 202-682-1812.
Perfect for DC’s preppy guys, this Georgetown shop markets a host of men’s gifts that just need wrapping. We’re partial to the store’s selection of local Smathers and Branson needlepoint belts, wallets, key chains, and cufflinks, but sports fans will go bananas for the shop’s collection of alma mater accessories. 1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-838-9365.
What can’t you find at Proper Topper? From locally-made gifts, such as Bull & Moose neckties and Cherry Blossom Creative prints and Rachel Pfeffer jewelry, to kid-friendly apparel and books and gorgeous Rifle Paper Co. printed goods, this Dupont gift store has a little something for everyone. 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-842-3055.
If you’ve lived in DC for any amount of time, then you know Salt & Sundry. You probably love Salt & Sundry. But this Union Market staple is not only an excellent curated selection of foodie gifts–it also markets the works of local artisans, such as Mallory Shelter Jewelry and DeNada’s winter knits. Visit them at Union Market, 1309 5th St., NE; 202-556-1866, or their Logan Circle location, 1401 S St., NW; 202-621-6647.
Just a stone’s throw from the Takoma Park Metro stop, Trohv’s home and gift supply is an industrial chic-lovers dream come true. It’s part Restoration Hardware, part Anthropologie home accessories, but it all feels like you’re stumbling upon a one-of-a-kind item. Find repurposed furnishings alongside cheeky mugs and glassware for your hipster friend who likes owning things no one else has. 232 Carroll St., NW; 202-829-2941.
A recently retired Air Force lieutenant colonel opened this Adams Morgan gift store in August 2015, and since then it’s been offering the neighborhood a one-stop shop for easy gifts. Pick up a neighborhood sign for your pal to hang in their apartment, some “East Coaster” East Coast-shaped coasters, a make-your-own gin kit, or a granite food slab to dress up their non-granite countertop. 1837 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-558-9087.
Update: Alexandria’s Curated is now closed.