THINK TAKOMA PARK got left behind with those old Birkenstocks? Think again: The independent shops in this very independent Maryland city boast hidden treasures you’ll love to give as gifts (or, ahem, keep for yourself—it’s okay, our economy depends on it!). And there are tasty breaks for shoppers—and tired dogs—all wrapped up in the warmth of a small town done up for the holidays.
To mark Small Business Saturday (after enduring Black Friday), we want to point out that the City of Alexandria is home to nearly 50 independent boutiques, and Georgetown has a whole raft of indies nestled among the national brands. At least a dozen boutiques in Adams Morgan will be wooing customers with deals and . . . cookies.
But for right now, let’s take a new look at Takoma Park. Here are a few of our favorite places.
Things From Egypt . . . and Beyond, 7002 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 240-723-6025 — Curated by an American woman who lived in Cairo: glittering glass balls and ornaments, festive handbags, hand-painted dishes and tagines from Egypt and the Middle East. The shop shares 7002 Carroll with South Africa Bazaar Craft Cooperative with its beaded jewelry and utensils, and colorful telephone-wire plates and bowls. Proceeds support women’s cooperatives. West Farm Woodworks, with art and handmade wooden furniture, is in back. artists in back..
Tabletop Takoma Park, 6927 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park; 240-467-3982 — Brings a modern sensibility to gifts: unusual serving trays and other housewares along with cards, jewelry, bags and children’s items.
House of Musical Traditions, 7010 Westmoreland Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-9090 — String, wind and percussion acoustic instruments from around the world: beautiful wooden drums, Australian didgeridoos, banjos, carved flutes, and small but functioning travel guitars.
The Big Bad Woof, 6960 Maple Street NW, Takoma D.C.; 202-291-2404 — Sustainable pet products, organic pet foods and the biggest hit: scrumptious (we assume) doggie donuts. Discounts for new pet adopters. Its slogan is pure Takoma Park: Essentials for the Socially Conscious Pet.
Fave spots for taking a break:
Capital City Cheesecake, 7071 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-7260 — “Home of the miniature cheesecakes” also offers coffee, wraps and other snacks.
Busboys and Poets, 235 Carroll Street NW, Takoma D.C.; 202-726-0856 — Coffee and quick meals, plus books from Politics and Prose.
Republic, 6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park; 301.270.3000 — Part of the Black Restaurant Group (you know, BlackSalt in Palisades, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace on 14th Street NW), Republic offers a raw bar plus a menu of casual but adventurous plates for lunch and dinner.
For the adventurous: Pajamarama on Sunday, December 4, from 8 to 11am, offers discounts for those shopping in their pajamas! Then, on Saturday, December 17, from 3 to 5pm, go to the Takoma Cocoa Crawl with your Takoma mug and let participating restaurants and cafes fill it with hot cocoa.
ArtSpring, 7002 Carroll Ave., right between Things From Egypt and Mark’s Kitchen, Takoma Park; 301-495-3425 — Handmade pottery, jewelry, cards, children’s clothes and other items made by area artists.
Amano, 7034 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-1140 — Women’s clothing, hats, socks, bags, scarves and shoes, with an assortment of jewelry.
Fair Day’s Play, 7050 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-4999 — One of the area’s few remaining independent toy stores: fair trade toys, “cooperative” board games and a range of gifts for all children.
The Covered Market, 7000-D Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-270-1219 — Turkish imports, including brightly painted pottery, unique glass lanterns, elegant pillows, woven carpets and jewelry.
Polly Sue’s, 6915 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park; 301 270 5511 — A vintage resale store that is fun to explore, with beautifully presented clothing, hats, jewelry and purses.
S&A Beads, 6929 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park; 301-891-2323 — Offers a huge range of beads, stones and jewelry-making accouterments, as well as jewelry-making classes. For ready-made gifts, the store provides jewelry from around the world.