Del Ray is "Where Main Street Still Exists" with made-for-strolling Mount Vernon Avenue dotted with family friendly pizzerias, barbecue restaurants and sophisticated spots. Cheesetique's Mac N Cheesetique was named a "Best Mac and Cheese in the US" by Food & Wine magazine while Artfully Chocolate's "Divas" are on Travel + Leisure's "America's Best Hot Chocolate" list. Eclectic shops and signature events like Art on the Avenue contribute to an artsy ambience while health and wellness businesses flourish. Del Ray hosts the popular "First Thursday" events, in which every first Thursday of the month a new festival takes to the streets, attracting visitors and locals alike in search of family fun and a splash of local culture.
On the north side of Del Ray, find shows at America's legendary music hall, the Birchmere in the up-and-coming area Arlandria. The neighborhood is also popularly known as Chirilagua, for the El Salvadoran village that was at one time home to many of its residents where now, small shops and restaurants with an international flavor line its streets.
Del Ray Gems
Dairy Godmother Frozen Custard and Nostalgic Treats: This Del Ray staple serves up frozen custard to the neighborhood and famous DC elite like President Obama. Declared a "Dessert Destination" by the Washington Post, this family friendly sweet shop also specializes in sorbets, cookies, cobblers and homemade marshmallows.
Cheesetique: Started by a local software guru, this specialty cheese shop was the first of its kind in the metro area when it opened. Now hailed as having "The Best Mac N' Cheese in the US" by Food & Wine magazine, Cheesetique offers hard-to-find cheeses as well as a full-service cheese & wine bar.
Artfully Chocolate: Travel + Leisure hails the shop's hot chocolate line "Divas" (named for big screen icons like Marilyn Monroe) as amongst the best in America. At this sweet shop-cum-art gallery, owner Eric Nelson takes the art of dessert to a whole new level, dishing up sugary delights from truffles, to cakes to French macaroons.
St. Elmo's Coffee Pub: Hang out on the corner of Del Ray and Mount Vernon Avenue, where live music fills the floor most evenings and outdoor tables let the coffee-sipping occur street-side.
The Legendary Birchmere Music Hall: Known worldwide as having the reputation for hosting the biggest names in country, R&B and folk like Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, this 500-seat music hall allows guests to dine on traditional American eats while sitting mere feet from the performers on stage.
Amalgamated Classic Clothing & Dry Goods: This vintage store not only brings timeless pieces to the closets of nostalgic fashionistas everywhere, but also supplies period outfits for major motion pictures and Broadway productions.
Truly-Life Eco Gifts: Truly-Life's mission is to provide handmade gifts that are better for its customers and the environment. Owner Mellenie and partner Andy utilize produce from their own "urban garden" to create loofahs, balms, soaps and skincare products with little to no carbon footprint left behind.
First Thursday: Free, 6:00pm to 9:00pm, each month May - September 2014, Mount Vernon Avenue
Del Ray Business Association Presents with area businesses: music, entertainment, children activities, special menu items, and free products. Each month features a different theme. (pets welcome)
Cinema Del Ray: Free, at dark, May 17, June 21, July 19, and August 16, 2014 Mount Vernon Rec Center field
Jen Walker with McEnearney & Associates Presents with the Del Ray Business Association: an outdoor animated movie. (pets restricted)
Taste of Del Ray: June 8, 2014, 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Del Ray Business Association Presents: Local restaurants sampling their very best tastes to create a meal and be judged by the community for the first place winner of the day. (pets restricted)
Del Ray Music Festival:Free, June 28, 2014, 10:00am to 9:30pm, Mount Vernon Rec Center field.
Kate Moran Presents with the Del Ray Business Association: an all day music festival featuring area bands and nationally known bands. (pets restricted)
19th Annual Art on the Avenue: Free, October 4, 2014, 10:00am to 6:00pm, Mount Vernon Avenue
Pat Miller Presents with the Del Ray Business Association: over 300 craft vendors, 5 music stages, multiple children activities, and many great food spots all available in one huge collection for the day. Join over 50,000 people for this grand event. (pets welcome)
18th Annual Del Ray Halloween Parade: Free, October 26, 2014, 2:00pm to 3:30pm, Mount Vernon Avenue
Del Ray Business Association Presents: adults, children, strollers, pets, and goblins in costume, all parade up the street from Bellefonte Avenue to the Mount Vernon Rec Center field for free music, food and candy. (pets welcome)
39th Annual Turkey Trot: November 27, 2014, - $, 9:00am to 10:00am, Thanksgiving, GW Middle School
A five mile run in the neighborhood for people, dogs, and strollers starting and ending at the GW Middle School. This is also a canned food drive for ALIVE! (pets welcome)
Holiday Tree Lighting & Luminarias: Free, December 5, 2014, 6:00pm to 8:30pm, Mount Vernon Avenue and E. Oxford Avenue
Photos with Santa, snacks, warm drinks, Christmas Carols, over 2000 luminarias along the street to light your evening stroll. (pets welcome)
Del Ray Farmers Market: Held year round on Saturday mornings, visitors stop by this farmers market for locally grown produce like seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as meats, eggs, fresh pasta and sauces, baked goods, eggs and jams.