There’s shopping and then there’s serious, whip out the gold card type of shopping. That’s what you’ll find in the Friendship Heights section of Washington. It’s far up Wisconsin Avenue, almost to the Maryland border. But it’s a nice, quiet enclave of high-end shops and great places to eat. This is not your cheesy souvenir type of shopping.
Location: Intersection of Wisconsin Avenue, NW, and Western Avenue.
Types of shops: Many of the shops in Friendship Heights are national chains. The focal point of the area is a small shopping mall called Mazza Gallerie, which has high-end stores, as well as an AMC Movie Theatre.
Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue are the two anchor department stores for Mazza Gallerie and they offer high-end clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry. Mazza also has smaller clothing stores like Ann Taylor and Corby Collection. There’s a few home decor stores like Emissary, Heritage, and Oriental Decor. Williams-Sonoma, which sells cookware, is also in Mazza.
Across from Mazza Gallerie on Wisconsin Avenue is another small shopping area called Chevy Chase Pavilion. At the time of this article (August 2012), the mall was going through a $32 million renovation. So many of the stores were on their way out. News reports say the renovated mall will include clothing store H&M, as well as a new restaurant by Top Chef’s Bryan Voltaggio, and a cigar and small plate eatery. Stores that are still open for business during the construction include clothing stores J.Crew, Loehmann’s, and Nordstrom Rack. World Market, which sells gifts, home goods, furniture, and international food, is also open the pavilion.
Diagonally across the Wisconsin Avenue and Western Avenue intersection is another shopping area called Wisconsin Place. The shops there are also national high-end chains. The anchor store is Bloomingdale’s, along with smaller shops like BCGB MaxAzria, which sells women’s clothes, shoes, and accessories. Cole Haan has shoes, accessories, and men’s and women’s clothing. Eileen Fisher carries women’s clothing and accessories, along with home goods. Giggle is a baby boutique with bedding, furniture, toys, baby care, and cleaning products. Ilori sells designer sunglasses and Talbot’s sells women’s clothing. MAC and Sephora both sell makeup and skin care products. White House/Black Market sells women’s clothing with a black and white color theme.
Where to eat: You will not go hungry shopping in Friendship Heights. There are several restaurants within a block of the Wisconsin Avenue and Western Avenue intersection. Everything from Subway (inside Mazza Gallerie) to The Capital Grille (inside Wisconsin Place).
The Capital Grille steakhouse has locations all over the country, including several in the Washington area. It’s known not only for its dry-aged steaks but also it’s dark wood interior. It’s more of an elegant restaurant where people go for everything from business meetings to anniversary dinners.
The Tasting Room is also at Wisconsin Place and serves wine and cheese. Not the best place if you’re craving a full meal and/or have children to feed.
Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s are both on Wisconsin Avenue near Chevy Chase Pavilion. Cheesecake Factory has a large menu with lots of variety. It’s also a great restaurant for kids. Maggiano’s is an Italian-American restaurant that offers individual entrees, as well as family style dinners for parties of four or more. This is where you choose a couple of dishes to share. Both Cheesecake Factory and Maggiano’s are good for big eaters.
Clyde’s is also an option. Just walk up Wisconsin toward Maryland. The DC-based chain restaurant also offers a wide variety of steaks, burgers, and salads.
How to get there: The easiest way to get to Friendship Heights is taking the Metro to the Friendship Heights stop. But parking isn’t as bad there as parking in downtown Washington. There’s metered parking along Wisconsin Avenue, as well as the cross streets along Wisconsin. Just make sure if you’re parking along one of the residential streets that it doesn’t require a special permit.