In a time when everything is available online (and polar vortex after polar vortex keeps us at home), we’ve all become pros at online shopping. But when it comes to scoping out kid-friendly art, sometimes you want something more…artisan; something that kiddo can see, touch, and help pick out. These D.C.-area brick and mortar spots—including several boutiques, a cool cafe, and a gallery—offer just the offbeat pieces to set your kid’s space apart. So, gather the bambinos and have your own pint-sized art crawl around town.
The basics: This second-story boutique in Arlington feels cozy and cool at the same time. Owner Autumn Clayton, herself a young mom, has a great eye for clean-lined but not austere pieces. She also knows what appeals to kids and parents alike (think: Star Wars and owls).
Blue ribbon goes to: Store cofounder Sabrina Cabada’s sweet paintings—perfect for a young girl’s room.
5140 Wilson Blvd. (Arlington, Va)
The Blue House
The basics: This bustling, colorful, overstuffed corner shop—stocked with everything from cookbooks and handbags to candles and picture frames—will cheer any visitor on cold day. The friendly staff is great with custom orders, and there’s tons of kiddie stuff besides the awesome artwork: books, clothing, and gift ideas galore.
Blue ribbon goes to: Oopsy Daisy’s Love You More print would be great in any sassy girl’s room, and she’ll enjoy it well past toddler age.
7770 Woodmont Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
Busboys and Poets
The basics: The D.C. chain of “community gathering places” offers more than delicious grub (try the chocolate cake, stat!) and awesome events (check out open mic night, asap!). They just so happen to also exhibit and sell some interesting art that might inspire great conversations (and history and geography lessons!) with your kids.
Blue ribbon goes to: Featured artists are always changing, but recently at the 14th St. branch, “Faces of the Middle East” featured Australian photographer Hermoine Macura’s striking portraits of children in that region.
4251 Campbell Ave. (Arlington, Va)
1025 5th St., NW (Mt. Vernon Sq.)
2021 14th St. NW (U Street)
5331 Baltimore Ave. (Hyattsville, Md)
The basics: Modern with a few ornate touches, Daisy Baby is owned by Dana Evans who will help decorate at every stage of childhood, from searching for art for a nursery to redecorating for an older kid. She also stocks all kinds of adorable baby and maternity gear.
Blue ribbon goes to: Wooden transportation-themed pieces are sweetly boyish.
4912-A Del Ray Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
The basics: Elyse Harrison’s gallery and studio occupy the second floor of this airy, green (literally and in color) corner building in the heart of Bethesda. In addition to her beloved children’s art classes and camps, Harrison frequently exhibits thought-provoking, appealing work by herself and other local artists.
Blue ribbon goes to: Harrison’s adorable birds: three-dimensional objects made of carefully collected objects like buttons, hair clips, and fabric scraps.
5001 Wilson Ln. (Bethesda, Md)
Where do you go to personalize your kid’s room? Tell us in the comments section below.
Photos courtesy of Nadya Sagner, Studio Neptune, Busboys and Poets, Covet