Unless you're going to go outside the city to a major sporting goods store, City Bikes is the best place to meet your needs. The store isn't any bigger than the other tiny shops that line the streets of Adams Morgan, but fortunately bike parts are very small so they can stock a lot of goods in there. The staff themselves are all bike enthusiasts and a friendly lot. They can be a little rough at times -- last winter one of their customers came barreling out of the store on his bike and rammed me into a pile of snow, but all was good after that. I've had to replace the brakes on my bike several times since I've been riding in the city and they've taken care of me each time.
I've been popping in and out of Second Story books for over six years now. Interestingly enough, what drew me in there in the first place was not the books, but their other media. They also have a sizeable used video, dvd and record collection ini addition to their used books. The pricing structure for each is very reasonable. While I don't think the staff is quite as familiar with all the books as Idle Time Books up 18th Street, they're more than eager to help you if you just ask.
This is my one-stop shop for keymaking in the district because it's close and they have a solid repution. However, I don't usually go in here for more than some nails or screws because the store is too small to have the materials you need for special home projects. But to end on a high note, I will say they have saved me a trip outside the city on a number of occasions when I had to make a repair and needed some nuts and washers. They have an adequate supply of emergency plumbing supplies as well.
The Decatur House, located at the northwest corner of Lafayette Square, offers guests two attractions -- a tour of an 18th century mansion and a visit to the fanciest museum git shop in the city. The mansion is a lot like the other historic sites you'll find in the city (with the exception that you can rent it for special events), but the gift shop really stands out here. It's more like an art gallery store than a gift shop, really. Here you can find the entire collection of White House Christmas ornaments as well as other finery, including silver.
There are numerous trolley companies that charge an arm and a leg to take you on a tour around the city. But there is one that is different from all the others -- the DC Ducks. For only $30 (just a few more dollars than the Old Town Trolley and Tourmobile), you can see DC by land AND sea! Starting off from Union Station, you'll ride around the monuments and then drive right into the Potomac! While it's not dirt cheap, you get a lot more bang for your buck than those other commericalized tour companies.
This has been my number one stop for tobacco products since I movied to DC six years ago. They probably have the most knowledgeable staff of any area tobacco dealer. And to my knowledge, they have the largest walk-in humidor of any shop as well. Pretty much they stock everything but the cubans. (And who knows, maybe if you say the secret word??) The prices are very reasonable, so much so that I've been able to afford their wares even on my non-proft salary. Keep in mind this review refers to cigars and pipe tobacco, since I've never purchased cigarettes from them.
The Willard Dry Cleaners do a decent job with garments. Not as good as the DC Dry Cleaners on nearby Columbia Road, but they do have a quick turnaround and my garments have turned out good whenever I've take stuff their. But I'm a little disappointed in their tailoring service. I had a tear in a pair of dress pants that I showed to their tailor. A neighbor had recommended them to me so it was the first place I went to tackle my problem. The tailor flat out told me there was nothing she could do about it. I then proceeded to my regular tailor, who took on the project. End of story: I'm still wearing the pants today, no thanks to the Willard Cleaners.
Well, since September 11th, they're not letting people in for the FBI tour anymore, so the Spy Museum is really the place to get a feel for the history of espionage. Although it could be the most fun museum in the city due to its fascinating contect and level of interactivity, I did not give it five stars because this museum has a serious problem. They have a lack of space. During peak tourist season, it gets so crowded that you can't even make it up to the all the displays without getting shoved around. This would be a problem under most ciccumstances anyways, but the situation is exacerbated by the fact it's one of the few museums in the city where you have to pay an admission fee to get in.
I didn't give this five stars because although the museum is unique, the subject matter is a little bland. This museum takes up an entire city block near Judiciary Square. Once inside you'll find open spaces with differing architectural presentations to dazzle the eye. Technically, the museum is free, but a small $5 donation is strongly encouraged. Because it's such a departure from the stuffy Smithsonians nearby on the mall, the place is becoming the favorite museum of my friends and me. Particularly of interest is the record-number of Roman columns supporting the building's infrasturcture. It's almost like a city within a city.
Finally, a furniture shop that actually sells useful furniture. Unlike the upscale shops that line the otherwise run-down nearby 14th Street, Good Wood sells pieces of furniture that you'll find in the homes of normal people. The prices are a little expensive, but if you are serious about buying you may be able to haggle based on what you find at other funiture shops. As the name implies, they specilize in wood products. It's mostly dresser, tables, bed frames and armoires, but you'll find some other accents like shelves and containers.