Locals come to Wake Up Little Suzie from all over the city to find unique gifts that are either playful, retro, wacky – or all of the above. You can find stuff you never knew you wanted inside the slightly cluttered but decidedly friendly storefront, from unique animal plush toys to robot-shaped clocks. There are also practical items like tableware, greeting cards and pretty candle holders, much of which is made by hand. Wake Up Little Suzie also offers a nice assortment of creative jewelry and kitchen accessories, both served up with just a touch of whimsy. It’s also a good place to pick up colorful and one-of-a-kind gifts for kids and pets.
Dalton Brody provides an upscale boutique atmosphere nestled in a cozy storefront of mottled stone and regal green awnings. The shop is stuffed to the rafters with crystal and glassware, painted serving trays, candles, handbags, picture frames, and much more. Fill your home with the mingling aromas of lavender and rosemary from a petite air essence incense-like air freshener ($45), or dappify the gentleman of your choosing with a pale-green American–sailboat tie ($75). For the homosapien who has everything, leather money clips ($38) come in a variety of grains and colors, while a small photo album bound in gentle green-and-pink floral tapestry ($34) will hold a variety of memories, images from the future, and souls. Dalton Brody also stocks numerous gifts for new moms and their babies; perk up a nursery with a pink piggy bank ($52) coated in white polka-dots.
In June 2010, after a late-night session of painting, drinking, and generally rousting about with a group of friends, magazine editor Michael M. Clements found himself pondering an unshakeable question: “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this at a bar?” The seeds of ArtJamz sprouted almost immediately into a traveling party, where the caterers brought not only beer and wine but also all-you-can-paint palettes, for-sale blank canvases, and invaluable artistic expertise. In the two years since that fateful, paint-spattered night, ArtJamz has become a citywide phenomenon, organizing collaborative events with the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and finally realizing the founding fathers’ vision of a tie-dyed capitol building.
Although these creative enablers still operate pop-up events at galleries and retail spaces across D.C., the brand-new, 1,800-square-foot permanent studio in Dupont Circle has an open-house policy to enable paint parties seven days a week. Freestyle paint sessions and classes are offered, charging separatley for studio time, canvas, and drinks. Day hours keep artists aged 5–18 in mind, whereas nightly sessions feature beer, wine, and creative cocktails for the 21+ set. More than 32 distinct colors await inspired brushes, and the walls of the cozy venue are fair game for a fresh coat. A trained staff is always on hand to offer advice if needed or requested, and to make sure nobody loses an ear.
The Phillips Collection emerged from one man's passion for art. Duncan Phillips filled his 19th-century Georgian Revival house with artwork, and he invited others to come and look at his collection. In 1921, the home formally became a museum of modern art. Impressionist and modern works fill its walls, and the collection continues to grow to accommodate contemporary artists.
Design shops are a rarity in colorful Adams Morgan, but the eclectic nature of Skynear makes up for the dearth. Located in a Victorian townhouse built in the 1890s, Skynear Designs Gallery offers a modern and cool take on everything from furniture and artwork to jewelry and iPad accessories. While most of the handmade products are local, Skynear does sell one-of-a-kind, silk-screened Cuban movie posters, along with art from nationally-known painters. While not part of Skynear proper, a wander up the stairs will lead shoppers to a gallery featuring art from artists of various origin including South America. Skynear hosts once-a-month curated evening events, which often feature artists whose works are sold in the space.
While the Georgetown outpost of national retail chain Anthropologie carries the usual home furnishings, baubles, bits of jewelry and clothing as their brethren across the country, the shop does manage to retain a very local feel. You’d even be forgiven for confusing the three-level space with one of the many upscale Georgetown townhouses nearby. The first level is cozy and intimate, and after perusing a small selection of accessories and clothing, you can wander down the stairs, via a mezzanine, to the basement space below. This lower, larger area seems to go on and on, stocked high with women’s clothing, home goods and items for the boudoir that range from lingerie to bedroom basics. Unlike some other Anthro outlets, this one even stocks shoes, and is known for their fabulous sales.