DC Shopping Guide: Intern Version

So it’s intern season again in DC, where a horde of well-scrubbed and earnest young people descend on the city for a summer of working for peanuts. It can be hard to pack for a professional wardrobe, and harder still to shop for one when you get here — especially if your are a veteran thrift-shopper — so in the spirit of welcoming you to our fair city, I give you the DC Shopping Guide: Intern Version.

First, some ground rules:

1. Stand to the left.

2. Do not wear flip flops to the office.

3. Do NOT, on pain of DEATH, come into my local and play Journey on the jukebox. I stopped believing years ago, quite possibly the year in which your boss was a fresh-faced intern and played that song one too many times. Also? I have it on good authority that there’s no such place as “South Detroit”.

The rules of the Shopping Guide are easy. Everywhere is accessible by metro; everywhere that I mention is a place where I’ve acquired a piece of professional clothing for less than $30. DC is not a town where it is easy to find thrift stores. I’ve included a few consignment stores on the list; you shouldn’t expect thrift store prices from these. You’ll also need DCists excellent Google map/metro mashup.

Your best bets downtown are Macy’s (1201 G St NW) and Filene’s Basement (529 14th Street NW, in the National Press Building). Macy’s might seem an odd choice for bargain shopping, but if you look for coupons (in the Post) or sales, and sift through the 65% off racks when you are there, you can pick up wardrobe basics for a song. Also worth checking out is H&M (1025 F St NW). All three of these are accessible from Metro Center. There’s also an Urban Outfitters in Chinatown — but frankly, I wouldn’t bother.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: Hotdog carts; the Pavillion Cafe in the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery (7th & Constitution).

The Hill

Eastern Market (7th & North Carolina SE). A longtime DC institution, the main market hall was gutted by a fire about a month ago, and these folks could use your business. The flea market is open Sundays, 10-5, and has a number of used clothing vendors as well as tons of local jewelery & crafts. You can also pick up veggies and meats. Accessible from Eastern Market metro station.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: Used to be the lunch counter in the market, but AFAIK, it’s out of business at the moment.

Lower NW (Dupont/Adams Morgan/ U St)

There’s a second Filene’s at 1133 Connecticut NW (Farragut North metro). In Dupont, there are two consignment stores worth checking out: Secondi, upstairs at 1702 Connecticut, and Cellar Couture (which has some odd opening hours) in the basement at 1728 Connecticut. In Adams Morgan, you’ll find Second Affair Consignments at 1904 18th St (by T). All of these are accessible from the Dupont Circle metro.

If you head up 18th from Second Affair and take a quick right on U, you’ll find all number of funky boutiques, some of which mix vintage with items from local designers. These places don’t tend to be cheap, however. Take a right on 14th and go south a couple blocks, and you’ll find L&N Superthrift Store (1830 14th St), which is a real thrift store. Accessible from U St/Cardozo metro station.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: At U St/14th St; Ben’s Chili Bowl (1213 U St NW), Sparky’s Cafe (1720 14th St NW). At Dupont, Zorba’s (1612 20th St NW), Julia’s Empanadas (1221 Connecticut NW), Potbelly Sandwich Works (1635 Connecticut NW), Five Guys (1645 Connecticut NW).

Friendship Heights

This tony upper northwest shopping strip isn’t exactly set up for bargain shoppers, but if you steer clear of the Saks and Neiman Marcuses, there are a couple of possibilities. As well as both a Macys and a Filenes, there’s also a TJ Maxx (4350 Jenifer St NW) and a Loehmann’s (5333 Wisconsin NW). Accessible from Friendship Heights metro.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: Nothing really fantastic. There’s a couple coffee/sandwich chains on Wisconsin. Booeymongers at Jennifer & Wisconsin does a decent sandwich.


There are a couple of real thrift stores within walking distance of the Silver Spring metro — Hadassah (8622 Colesville Rd) and The Prevention of Blindness Store at 942 Wayne Ave. The shopping mall at Wheaton (Wheaton metro) has Target, Penney’s and Macy’s as well as various other smaller stores; there’s also a metro-accessible Target at the Prince George’s Plaza stop.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: If you head across Viers Mill from the mall in Wheaton, there are a bunch of cheap neighborhood joints. Silver Spring & PG Plaza, I got nothin’.


Head over to Pentagon City for department stores and mall offerings. For shoes, Pentagon Row has a DSW — from the metro, go straight through the Pentagon City food court, head out the back door, go through the underground parking lot and up the stairs. Keep going into the Pentagon Row courtyard — DSW is on your left. If you head out the other side of the metro, you’ll find a plaza with a Ross.

Cheap lunch in the neighborhood: Eh. The food court at the mall. Nothing special, but it will keep the wolves from the door.


One Response to “DC Shopping Guide: Intern Version”

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