Wednesday, November 14, 2007

12 Days of Christmas (Shopping)

It's about that time when DC residents will wander zombie-like down to Gallery Place, Metro Center, and, worse, suburban malls to buy generic holiday gifts from chain stores. No one wants to receive another faux cashmere scarf, slippers, or coffee table book. In this post and subsequent entries I will highlight more original gifts available from DC businesses, most of them in Logan Circle and Dupont.

Disclosure: I do dislike the early holiday shopping ads, but I feel the need to counter their influence before Black Friday 2007 arrives.

Take Me Out
Your friends and family may already own much of what you could afford to buy them. Give them the gift of time with you and encourage them to try something fun that they may not have done on their own. I've tried to order the following by approximate cost.

Guided Walking tour
Washington Walks offers some really interesting walks on a regular basis including Moveable Feast: A Taste of DC, described as a "snack-a-thon". Take a walk with your giftee for $10 per person or give them a $40 Walkabout Card good for five walks.

House Tour
The Logan Circle Community Association will be holding their annual LCCA House Tour on Sunday, December 2. Enjoy a little house porn and an early holiday gift for only $15 per ticket.

Dinner and Gallery Hop
Dupont has quite a few commercial art galleries. On the first Friday of every month galleries stay open late and often have a unique feature of the night such as food and wine or live music. For more information go here. Before you begin your art stroll have dinner at any one of Dupont's great restaurants. (I recommend Heritage India at 1337 Connecticut Ave.) Similar gallery events also occur in Gallery place on the third Thursday of the month and in Georgetown on third Fridays.

Dance and Dine
You and your giftee want to dance, but you feel awkward about it, and Arthur Murray just isn't your thing. So learn salsa in a casual setting at 14U (1939 14th St.) on the first Friday of the month. For an exotic experience, grab some mezze and free belly dancing lessons at Mezze in Adams Morgan (2437 18 St.) on Sunday nights at 10.

Or combine your dancing with some embassy hopping. The International Club of DC hosts a number of dance lessons and some balls at fantastic locations around the city. Upcoming are waltz and salsa lessons at the French embassy on December 19th for $20-$35 per ticket. They will also be hosting a New Year's Eve gala at the Wardman Park Marriott ($155 per ticket or $215 for VIP tickets), and a Viennese ball at the National Museum of Women and the Arts on February 23rd.

Bar Hopping
Pick up the tab for a night of bar hopping in the neighborhood. Some places I love are Bar Pilar (1833 14th), Saint Ex (1847 14th St.), and Chi-Cha Lounge (1624 U St.). Top off the evening with a Nutella calzone at Coppi's (1414 U St.). Remind new parents what it's like to get out at night by also securing a baby sitter.

Jazz Night
Try HR-57 (1610 14th St.), Bohemian Caverns (2001 11th St.), or Twins (1344 U St.) for a night out. HR has a BYOB policy, very low cover charge, and a really relaxed atmosphere. At Twins you can enjoy two great neighborhood traditions Jazz and Ethiopian food. Bohemian is arguably the most famous area club with the most unique atmosphere.

Fine Dining
Use this gift as an excuse to treat yourself as well as your giftee to a great dinner. Swanky neighborhood establishments include Komi (1509 17th St.), Restaurant Nora (2132 Florida Ave.), and Viridian (1515 14th St.).

Wine Tour
Tour the wineries of Virginia in a limo. Virginia Wine Country Tours will chauffeur you around in a luxury sedan for $70 per hour or $35 per person (based on a minimum number of people and the reservation of certain type of car). They also have options ranging from hiring a chauffeur to drive you in your own car to renting a luxury yacht. Alternatively you can tour on the cheap by offering to be a designated driver on a self-guided wine tour. See the Virginia Wines website for more information.


Sanjaya Malakar said...

Bohemian Caverns is gone. THey owed 200k+ in rent and were finally evicted this week.

Mr. 14th & You said...

Sanjaya, do you have any additional information on this? We just walked by the place last night and there appeared to be people going in and out of it. Their website doesn't say anything about closing--in fact, it lists performances through November, with an option to purchase tickets online. Where did you find out that they were closing?

Mr. 14th & You said...

As a follow up:

I have it on good authority that Bohemian Caverns is *not* closing, and has no plans to. Not certain where your info came from Sanjaya, but it does not appear to be accurate.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you might want to add to your 12 days list visiting the final 2007 neighborhood farmers markets this weekend to buy things for Thanksgiving and for local food gifts.

14&U on Saturday 9-1 in front of Reeves Center
Bloomingdale Sunday 10-2 at first and R Streets NW

We have lots of preserves, jams,jellies, honey, sauces, fruit butters, sweet potato pies, bread pudding, apple pies, chesnuts besides the greens and fruits and veg...


Laura Kuah said...

thanks for the tips :) on behalf of the nevin kelly gallery, if possible, can you also add this event to your 12 days of christmas shopping post?

Opening November 24, 2007... NKG welcomes the Third Annual Attainable Art Show: Works Under $1500. Just in time for the holidays, works by various artists such as Sondra Arkin, Lukasz Huculak, Mark Parascandola, Joan Belmar, Mary Chiaramonte, Ellyn Weiss and Ming Yi Sung Zaleski (and many more!) will be exhibited and sold. Finally, affordable art that make the PERFECT holiday gifts.

Please join us:
Holiday Open House| Saturday December 1st | 4 to 7pm


14th & You said...

Hi, Laura. More posts to come soon and to include one on arts in the area. I'll keep Nevin Kelly in mind. Thanks for the tip!

Herb of DC said...

Thanks! I live at 13th and T and some of these are new to me!