Best New Place for Plants
Jungle & Loom | Reader Pick
Plant shops are about more than foliage these days. Shoppers don’t just want to buy a philodendron—they want Instagram inspiration. The latest such purveyor to put down roots in DC is Jungle & Loom, which, between its studio in the Brookland Arts Walk and its kiosk at Union Market, sells not only houseplants and moss walls but also vintage glassware and macramé plant hangers—objects that owner Anna Johnston feels complement the aesthetic she’s after. “To me, it’s important that plants should be a fun hobby,” she says. Which is why each comes with a card explaining how to care for it—and she answers questions on Instagram. 716 Monroe St., NE (open Saturdays); 1309 Fifth St., NE (daily); no phone.
Shopping District We Couldn’t Wait to Revisit
Georgetown | Reader Pick
Online shopping is easy, sure, and was a lifeline during quarantine. But for some, surfing the web couldn’t replace rummaging through the racks of a favorite shop. Once stores reopened, shoppers headed to Old Town, to Tysons, and to 14th Street. The area readers were most eager to return to? Georgetown, according to our Instagram poll.
Best New Way to Support Black-Owned Businesses
When lists of Black-owned businesses began circulating during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests, there wasn’t a local spot where folks could exclusively shop Black-owned brands. That is until Gary Williams Jr. (near right) and Tamon George opened the Gift Shop this year. The Union Market store showcases local makers—such as Ron David Studio, District of Clothing, Small Wooden Box, and Black Pepper Paperie Co.—focusing on groups who otherwise might not have had the chance to feature their goods in a brick-and-mortar store. 1258 Fourth St,. NE; 202-892-3821.
Best New Way to Support Women-Owned Businesses
Launched in 2016 as a series of pop-ups showcasing products from women and nonbinary makers, this creative collective landed a permanent home in Cleveland Park filled with art and crystals. The retail space accepts brands at all levels, which means shoppers can support young, local entrepreneurs, too. 3409 Connecticut Ave., NW; no phone.
Best New Shop for Coastal Decor
Walking into this Bethesda Row store, done up in cool whites and blues, almost feels like a vacation. As fans of the California company would expect, the showroom has everything for your dream beach house: rattan dining chairs, colorful coffee-table books, dip-dyed stools, perfectly curated knickknacks, and woven pendants. 7121 Bethesda Ln.; 240-531-1839; by appointment only.
Best New Place to Reduce Your Eco-Footprint
This Old Town shop is aimed at people who aspire to a zero-waste lifestyle, but even inveterate paper-towel users can appreciate the high-quality cleaning supplies and personal-care products, not to mention the kombucha on tap. The store’s name refers to both the glass jars you can bring or buy there to take home your bulk items as well as the organic veggies sold in back. 913 King St., Alexandria; 703-829-0129.
Best New Sustainable Gift Shop
Marika Tsombikos has spent most of her life in Great Falls and always wanted to open a boutique. Last August, when a storefront became available on the village green, she pounced—despite being seven months pregnant. In December, Vivid Chill opened, selling eco-friendly, handcrafted jewelry, bath products, clothing, cards, pottery, and other gifts. “I only buy things I really love,” she says. That means items with clean design, often in bright colors or fun patterns. 752 Walker Rd., Great Falls; 571-407-7093.
Best New Store for Home Cooks
Husband-and-wife duo Clementine Thomas and Sam Vasfi, co-owners of the Georgetown brasserie Chez Billy Sud, are behind this new bookstore in Mount Pleasant. Shelves hold timeless titles from Julia Child; modern hits like Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat; food books for kids; culinary magazines; and more. Shoppers can pick up equipment to make recipes, including pots and pans by the French brand de Buyer, or attend author talks by culinary personalities. And if you smell bacon, you’re not dreaming—neighbor Each Peach Market shares part of the space and is an excellent stop for ingredients. 3064 Mount Pleasant St., NW; no phone.
Best New Guide to Shopping Local
When Covid-19 hit, many Washingtonians made an extra effort to support small businesses. Leela Bhatia-Newman and Mariana Magala took it a step further, turning an Excel spreadsheet of local vendors they’d shared just with friends into Districtly Local, a searchable online directory of some 500 area businesses that sell clothing, artwork, chocolate, soap, and other goods. Want to especially support Black-, POC-, women-, or LGBTQ-owned brands? You can filter for that, too.
Hot New Salon
Blackbird | Reader Pick
This boho-chic salon, opened in Navy Yard in August 2020 by two alums of Immortal Beloved, has already earned a beloved following. Cofounders Justine Carlisle and Devin Cook (both said to be whizzes at color and extensions) lead a talented group of stylists. 801 Virginia Ave., SE; 202-481-0040.
Best News for Fans of Say Yes to the Dress
Monte Durham—the quippy, tell-it-like-it-is fashion director at Bridals by Lori, the Atlanta outpost of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress—has long considered the Washington area home. (It’s where he first got into bridal consulting.) Last year, he returned here to open Salon Monte in Old Town, where clients can book hair services with him (starting at $95 for a shampoo and style) or a team member (starting at $65). 210 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-217-7077.
This article appears in the September 2021 issue of Washingtonian.