Need some retail therapy, but on mommy/daddy duty for the day? Get your fix anyways with our round-up of the best neighborhoods to window shop, where you can indulge your passion while your kids oohh and ahhh…without breaking a thing.

Photo: Dawn Price Baby via Facebook

What better place to window shop than D.C.’s own favorite shopping destination? There are plenty of stores for mom (think: Kate Spade, Zara, Hu’s Shoes, and The French Apartment) and kiddo alike (Tugooh Toys, Dawn Price Baby, Little Birdies Boutique, and Georgetown Candy Bar). Wisconsin Avenue and M Street might be the center of the neighborhood, but side streets like P have great secret spots too (Check out Ella Rue and Just Paper and Tea).


Photo: ShashiBellamkonda via Flickr

Reston Town Center
Fountains, plazas, shops, restaurants, parking—what more could you want from this tiny neighborhood spot? Reston Town Center has evolved into one of the best shopping districts this side of the Potomac because of all the fun window displays. Whether you’re searching for something special, need a break from the monotony of the mall, or just want to cruise around outside, RTC is the place to be; Paper Source, South Moon Under, Anthropologie, and Francesca’s offer eye catching displays that might even have your kiddos saying “let’s go in!” There’s also Mayflowers, Bow Tie Cinemas, and Red Velvet Cupcakery that will definitely grab their attention.


Photo: Lettie Gooch via Facebook

U Street / Shaw
U Street might be one of the coolest nightspots, but it’s also a super fun spot to stroll along and window shop. Great inspiration for home décor, groovy clothes, cool music, and off the beaten path goodies dot the streets. Whether you’re looking for some place to walk (and shop!) with the kiddos, or you just want a different spot to wander, U Street and Shaw are the perfect mix of urban funk and family friendliness. Stores like Lettie Gooch, Millenium Decorative Arts, Junction, and Crossroads Trading Company will have you coming back for more.


Photo: Visit Annapolis via Facebook

Miniature sailors will love spending the day in Annapolis. From boats to ships, anchors to life vests, almost every window display is mesmerizingly nautical. A walk down Maryland Avenue will showcase the Lil Lamb Boutique, Ekka Hands that Create, the Annapolis Country Store and more. Turn down Main Street to see Kokopelli, Nautical North Charts & Maps, VIVO, and the Spice & Tea Exchange.


Photo: Old Town Boutique District via Facebook

Old Town Boutique District
Whether you love to shop in this century, or your heart lives in the past, the Old Town Boutique District is the perfect mixture of old and new. Windows abound with colorful jewelry, riding toys, home décor and more. Tucked down side streets are fabulous shops boasting vintage finds, rare antiques, candy and more. Little ones will love the fountains in the town square, and you’ll dig the variety King Street and the boutique district offers. Kiddos might just drift off to sleep with visions of fairies, and George Washington dancing in their heads. Some standout displays are housed in the windows of Pink and Brown, Lou Lou, Vintage Mirage and European County Living.


Photo: Hamad Masoumi via Flickr

If you’re looking for a quick getaway to stroll around, window shop and grab some lunch, then head out to Middleburg. With its quaint streets, and Hunt Country charm, the littles will be enthralled by horses, and you’ll feel the stress of the beltway roll off your back. A walk down Washington Street showcases treats from The Fun Shop, Hunt Country Yarns, Wylie Wagg, Christmas Sleigh, Richard Allen Clothiers, Salamander Touch and more. No need to travel all the way to England for a little bit of sophistication. Middleburg shopping is only a few short miles away.


Where do you go to window shop with your kids? Tell us in the comments below.

—Hilary Riedemann

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