As an urban planner, I really love living in a planned city, and I love maps of DC too– so much that I recently looked around and realized that the majority of wall-hangings in my home are DC maps. So for those of you looking for a holiday gift for someone who loves DC, let me suggest a couple decorative maps that are currently hanging in my home that could make great gifts for the DC-lover in your life:
DC Ork Poster
This was an early Christmas present this year, and already it is one of my favorite DC things. It shows the District’s neighborhoods by their names, creating a very cool effect. While this is extremely useful for determining which neighborhoods I haven’t yet covered in my Where We Live series, it’s also just really cool looking.
There are Ork posters for many different cities, and DC is a fairly recent addition to the list. They’re attracting a big following too– check out where the posters have been spotted! You can purchase a poster online, or at Reiter’s Books downtown.
DC Metro Map
I happen to think the Metro map is pretty cool to look at– it helps you figure out routes, but it’s also colorful and interesting. Lucky for you, WMATA sells their full-size Metro maps, so you can hang one up at home. And if that’s not enough, there’s always a Metro shower curtain too!
I’ve found that having a full-size Metro map on my wall is a big conversation piece, and guests often head over to it to check it out (and consult it when we’re figuring out where to head for the evening). Here’s the thing though– the poster measures 30 3/4″ tall and 28″ wide, which is definitely not a standard frame size. Even though the poster is just $25, custom framing drove the cost up to $200.
International Spy Museum Scarf
Several years ago, I was given a DC map silk scarf from the International Spy Museum. I got it custom framed to hang in my house, and I really like how it looks. Sadly, the Spy Museum no longer sells these scarves, but the point here is that you can find cool DC maps in unexpected places.
Mary Belcher is a local artist who paints watercolor scenes and maps of the District like the one in the photo above. She sells her paintings over at Eastern Market on Sundays, and this time of year she’s over at the Downtown Holiday Market.
These neighborhood maps are beautiful, and call out the particular buildings and parks that define a neighborhood. Mary has maps for Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, Capitol Hill, Mount Pleasant, and Georgetown (among others).
Historical Maps of the City
Who knew that the FAA sold cool DC maps? If you’re interested in the historical roots of the city, that’s your place to go for inexpensive maps. They’ve got the 1792 L’Enfant Plan as well as the 1800 Ellicott Plan (I’ve got both), and they’re great quality and huge. So if you’ve got a DC history buff on your Christmas shopping list, consider one of these.
Well, now you know how ridiculously nerdy my house is– seriously, maps dominate the walls of my living room and kitchen. I like that they’re functional as well as decorative, and show how much I love urban planning and DC. So if you’ve got someone in your shopping list who has bare walls and who loves the District, I might have just done your Christmas shopping for you.