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Shopping in Washington, DC: Guide to Area Outlet Malls

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If you come to Washington, DC, by way of Union Station--or you just happen to pass through the area on a recommendation--you will very likely be impressed not only by Washington's progressive Metro rail system, but by the beautiful tourist shops built into the underground train stations. However, they are tourist shops and you will probably pay premium prices on things that you buy there. So where do you go when you want to pick up a few local bargains or you need to stock up on underwear and toiletries for the remainder of your vacation trip? Don't forget that the greater metropolitan Washington, DC area includes neighboring parts of both Maryland and Virginia.

If you're staying on the Virginia side of the Potomac River-- for example, at Comfort Inn Landmark or Quality Inn Iwo Jima -- the following list is for you:

  • Potamac Mills
    • Thirty minutes south of Washington, DC, in Prince William, VA, is Potomac Mills. Located right off of I-95 at exit 156, Potomac Mills sports almost 200 retail stores, services and eateries, as well as an 18-screen movie theater. Many of the stores are factory outlets, such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, JCPenney and L.L. Bean. There's even a Lego outlet store and an indoor skate park. And the larger stores often host special events to promote their products and entertain visitors. Potomac Mills has gained a reputation for extreme bargains, with as much as 70% discounts off of brand-named merchandise.
  • Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets
    • Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets are 35 minutes from D.C. at the intersection of routes 7 and 15 bypass, in Leesburg, VA. The village-like setting is home to 110 outlet shops. Leesburg Corner has designerwear, shoes, children's clothing, luggage, jewelry, and housewares. Attractive discounts are available at upscale brand name stores.

If you're staying on the Maryland side of Washington -- for example, at Best Western Baltimore-Washington Airport -- the following list is for you:

  • Prime Outlets of Hagerstown
    • There are two outlet malls in Maryland that are a manageable distance away. The first is Prime Outlets of Hagerstown, about 55 minutes from D.C. This is a fairly new outlet mall, which generally means bigger, prettier and with more amenities that make you want to go back over and over. For the one-time visiting vacationer, it is enough to know that Prime Outlets of Hagerstown boasts over a hundred designer and specialty outlet stores. Its End of Month Sidewalk Sales occur on the last weekend (Friday through Sunday) of each month. Expect significant savings during those sales.
  • Prime Outlets of Queenstown
    • The second Maryland outlet mall to consider is Prime Outlets of Queenstown, which is 75 minutes out of Washington, with over fifty designer and popular brand name outlet stores. Having driven this far, you should know that your trip will take you quite close to the Maryland/Delaware beach area, so you may want to pick up some new swimwear, and then head on out east to the shoreline.

Knowing to do your sightseeing in Washington but your shopping in its extended metropolitan areas within Maryland and Virginia will save you a few dollars over the course of your vacation. And serious shoppers know that some of the most memorable vacations are the ones where they find the great bargains!

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