10 Actually Cool, Non-Cheesy Hometown Gifts for the Proud Washingtonian
By Austa Somvichian-Clausen / October 24, 2019 9:26 am

The holidays are coming up faster than you might think. Why not cross a few names of that last in advance so you’re not scrambling when the holidays finally come crashing in? To give you a helpful head start, we’ve put together this list of actually cool, non-cheesy gifts that are perfect for any current or former Washingtonian that might be inclined to show off a little DC pride.

DC Map Rocks Glass – $16 per glass


These city map rocks glasses are sold individually, so purchase 4 or 5 to make a full set and boom — perfect gift for your friend who’s always looking to add something new and impressive to their bar cart.

Set of Vintage Posters – $55


Don’t get us wrong, we realize posters as a gift can easily skew cheap and cheesy when done incorrectly, but this set of four from Vintage Outside are made printed on fine-art-quality satin paper. The locations featured on the prints are spots that your standard tourist may not know but a local definitely would, like the Key Bridge and Great Falls.

Homesick Washington, DC Candle – $30


Perfect for all your friends who deserted you for New York City, this candle by homesick will give them all the nostalgic feels. The classic, minimalist packaging works for really anyone no matter their style, and the scent is described as “a fragrance reminiscent of cherry blossoms in full bloom, stone-faced buildings, and leather-bound books in a sunlit library. Woody notes of cedar and vetiver complement a zesty orange and amber finish.” Sounds good to us!

Wood DC Skyline Clock – $45


Even the Washingtonian who has it all most likely doesn’t have a modern wall clock with the DC skyline etched into it. This handmade clock comes in a variety of sizes and your choice of cherry bamboo or walnut wood. The top of the clock features the silhouettes of the Washington Monument, Capitol Building and Lincoln Memorial; great for your friend on the Hill.

Mambo Sauce – $7


The unofficial sauce of DC, mambo sauce is another perfect gift for your friends who skipped town and need a reminder of what they’re missing. This sweet hot mambo sauce by Capital City Co. is all-purpose and can be used as a marinade, glaze, dipping or finishing sauce.

A Giftcard to the Anthem – Starts at $25

A giftcard to the Anthem is the perfect present for any music lover in your life. Even better — include enough money on the card so that they can grab you both tickets, and then tell them they can choose the first concert you both attend of 2020. A win-win situation for both of you … as long as your friend has good taste.

Set of 4 Marble DC Flag Coasters – $36.50

Forgo traditional wood or cork coasters for these extremely stylish marble ones, each decorated with the red stars and stripes of the DC flag. They also come with a cork backing that ensures they won’t scuff up a coffee or dining table.

Compass Coffee & Tote – $18 & $28

Any Washingtonian knows that Compass has some of the best coffee in town. Not only do the founders have a great story (they were deployed in Afghanistan together and got into coffee during their time in the Marines), they also work with some of the world’s best coffee buyers from Guatemala to Indonesia. Each of their blends are named after a DC street or neighborhood and their logo is a map of the city, making a tin and tote the perfect gift for the coffee lover in your life.

DC Cutting Board – $40

Home cooks will love this bamboo cutting board in the shape of the District—the perfect gift to combine function and aesthetics, while also subtly saying “please cook for me.” You can even have it hot branded with a heart on your location of choice, or add a custom etched engraving.

Local Bottles of Booze – Various

Help your friends stock their bars up with the locally made bottles of their choice spirits, because who doesn’t like receiving alcohol? For your gin-loving friend there’s Green Hat or Ivy City by One Eight Distilling, which also makes vodka. Jos. A. Magnus specializes in bourbon, and you can get rye or apple brandy from Republic Restoratives. Cotton & Reed makes spiced and white rum, and you can grab amaro, aperitivos and more from Don Ciccio & Figli.


Related: The Hidden Political References in DC’s Craft Booze Scene