A quick stroll through Del Ray—the cute neighborhood located just 10 minutes by car from D.C.—and you’ll understand why it’s a year-round hot spot for DMV families. Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray’s main drag outfitted with easy side street parking, is peppered with dozens of cafes, boutiques, specialty food stores, play places, and restaurants that are reminiscent of an earlier time when everything was small (don’t look for a mega mall here) and walkable. From a tart-focused bakery to a quirky little variety shop, Del Ray has a little something for everyone. Here are a few spots not to pass by.
The Purple Goose Jam packed with a mix of consignment, new, and local handmade clothes and toys for little ones, you’ll want to look up, down, and around the corner of this shop. The owners keep every nook and cranny filled with cute stuff (think: plush-Elmos-as-big-as-your-3-year-old, funky hair bows, model horses, and cheeky teething toys). Insider tip: The store is teeny-tiny, so leave strollers curbside.
2005 Mt. Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Del Ray Variety This neighborhood newbie stocks everything but the kitchen sink. Party supplies, greeting cards, craft supplies, collectibles, snacks, electronics, housewares, toys, cosmetics, books, stationery…well, you get the point. Little ones love traipsing the store’s aisles while pushing one of the tiny shopping carts parked by the front door.
203 E. Custis Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Happy Tart Bakery Classic French pastries (think: macaroons, cups of mousse, and meringue) get the gluten-free treatment at this adorable little bakery tucked away off Mt. Vernon Avenue. The bakers here also take custom orders for gluten-free or dairy-free birthday cakes for kiddos with sensitive tummies.
2307A Mt. Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Holy Cow Craving a burger? Make a bee-line to this joint where all-natural and hormone-free beef is used to make some of the tastiest patties in the D.C. area. For non-red meat eaters, Holy Cow also offers turkey, tuna, and veggie burgers. Kids will love the sweet potato fries served with a side of creamy marshmallow fluff. Bonus: The restaurant donates 25-cents from every burger sale to a local charity of your choice.
2312 Mt. Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Seva Cafe One of Del Ray’s newest businesses, this spacious cafe hawks salads, soups, smoothies, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt and tea as well as hot pour-overs and cold-brewed coffee from M.E. Swing’s. But, that’s not what you’ll love the most here. Order your noshes and mosey to the back of the cafe where you’ll find a spacious play room with toys, books, and mini kitchenettes for at least a solid half hour of indoor entertainment.
2016 Mount Vernon Ave. (Alexandria, Va)
Mt. Vernon Community School Playground Split into a tot lot and an area for bigger kids, swing by this school playground during weekday afternoons, evenings, or on weekends when the elementary school isn’t in session. The kids will love all of the playground staples–swings, slides, handle bars–and you’ll love the multiple picnic tables and concrete stadium seating that are perfect perches to keep an eye on the little one while sipping on a cappuccino.
2601 Commonwealth Av. (Alexandria, Va)
What are your favorite family-friendly spots in Del Ray? Tell us in the comments section below.
Photos courtesy of Ayren Jackson-Cannady andThe Purple Goose via Facebook