Unique Souvenirs To Buy In Washington, DC

Tacky DC Souvenirs | © Emily Mills/Flickr
Tacky DC Souvenirs | © Emily Mills/Flickr
Being a prime tourist destination, the District offers plenty of gaudy souvenirs that make Washingtonians cringe; there’s the ‘FBI (Female Body Inspector)’ sweatshirts that tourists can’t get enough of, and the shirts that exclaim ‘Osama Bin Laden: Dead.’ The good news, though, is that Washington, DC is an artistic and creative hub, and amazing souvenirs exist outside the tourist traps and street carts.

Neighborhood Prints

Local artist Anthony Dihle creates bright pop art of iconic Washington neighborhoods. Locals adore the prints, which capture the unique spirit of each beloved neighborhood, but they also make for a fantastic souvenir; the art represents the true essence of DC, unlike the mass-produced, tacky paraphernalia that all tourists seem to love. (Let us reiterate: Washingtonians hate those stupid FBI hoodies.) Purchase the prints here.

DC Neighborhood prints © Courtesy of Anthony Dihle

Einstein Bobbleheads

E = mc 2, or so we’re told by Einstein himself. The Air & Space Museum produces talking Albert Einstein bobbleheads, whose heads move according to the laws of physics that Einstein himself helped discover. Okay, they’re a little gimmicky, but kids love them and the profits support science. The heads also passionately exclaim, ‘The important thing to do is not to stop questioning,’ so they’re kind of like a motivational speaker, but cheaper.

This little guy made my day! #Smithsonian #nightatthemuseum2 #Einsteinbobblehead #3.14159265

A photo posted by Mackenzie Morrison (@kenzie_morrison) on

DC Brau Memorabilia

The District loves its beer, and it’s particularly proud of the emerging craft beer scene – launched by the start of DC’s first brewery in 2009, DC Brau. The brewery offers engraved glasses, graphic tees, tap ornaments, and, of course, cases of the beer itself. Nothing says vacation like buying a six pack of local beer as a souvenir.

SUNDAY…..the reaper releases at the brewery!

A photo posted by DC Brau Brewing Company (@dcbrau) on

White House Christmas Ornaments

The White House Historical Association commissions one ornament each year to commemorate the current president. Dating back to 1981, there are 35 ornaments in existence, and the entire collection is as impressive as it is valuable. The ornate ornaments exude elegance and veer away from gaudy decorations typical of its kind. Find them in The White House Visitor Center.

Taxation Without Representation Stickers

If you truly want to represent DC, look no further than its license plates. The slogan reads ‘Taxation Without Representation’ – a nod to the fact DC isn’t afforded senators or representatives. No one in Congress is there to specifically represent DC’s interests. The District is currently rallying for statehood again, but its bid will likely be rejected by Congress, again. Support Washingtonians in their struggle for autonomy and voting rights.

Fingers crossed #dcstruggles #taxationwithoutrepresentation

A photo posted by Whitfield Saliba (@whitasinwhitfield) on

Currency Sheets

Spend your money on…money! Purchase uncut currency sheets at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Of course, the money costs more than it’s worth. A sheet of four $2 bills (aka $8) costs $25, but isn’t the inflation worth it to lie that you robbed the U.S. government?

back at it! like the way they look at me #flipside #dollar#currencysheets #folding

A photo posted by Sipho Mabona (@siphomabona) on