9 Sweet Spots That'll Make You Love Del Ray

Cuter than Shirlington but not quite as aggressively quaint as Old Town, Del Ray is one of those rare Northern Virginia neighborhoods that doesn't feel too cookie-cutter. A historic hidden gem of a 'hood, Del Ray is full of gorgeous old houses, great indie shops, and delicious eats. Plus, the denizens of this friendly community are passionate about maintaining the laid-back Main Street vibe that makes it so special.
So, whether you're looking to explore a new-to-you slice of the DMV or you're a longtime fan of its unique charm, you'll want to take a stroll down Mount Vernon Avenue with our cheat sheet in hand.
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Ready to explore our favorite little corner of Northern VA? Here's a handy map to guide you along.
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Photographed by Maria Carey.
Happy Tart Gluten-Free Patisserie
Owner and master baker Emma Cech's gluten-free bakery is a cult favorite (and the only dedicated GF bakery between Richmond and Baltimore). If you're a celiac with a sweet tooth, the Happy Tart will make you feel like you've died and gone to heaven, especially if you order any of the delicious cupcakes, hand pies, or cookies. There's also pizza dough, English muffins, baguettes, and other gluten-less breads you can buy and take home.

Happy Tart Bakery, 2307 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 571-244-3662.
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Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Lounge/Greg Powers.
Majestic Lounge
We love the old-school decor and mason-jar lighting that give this local watering hole its Southern-meets-boho vibe. Tucked away in the back of Evening Star Cafe, it's a no-brainer spot for date night or some QT with your girlfriends. Kick back in a midcentury armchair, order a fun artisanal cocktail (we love the Good Herb, with rum and lavender syrup), and enjoy the ambiance.

Majestic Lounge, 2000 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-549-5051.
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Photo: Courtesy of Amalgamated Vintage.
Amalgamated Vintage
We seriously don't have enough glowing adjectives to describe how amazing this shop's vintage selection is. From gorgeous 1940s hats and dresses to killer men's pearl-snap Western shirts, you need to see it to believe it. This sunny shop stocks handpicked, mint-condition clothes and accessories from the early 1900s through the 1970s. Need proof? Amalgamated's owners have supplied clothing for Broadway shows, TV, and movies, so you know their taste is impeccable. Even better, the store also sells a small amount of awesome housewares, including vintage camp blankets and handmade decorative bunting.

Amalgamated Vintage, 1904 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-517-7373.
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Photo: Courtesy of Caboose Cafe.
Caboose Cafe
This cozy spot recently got a menu redesign, but it still serves the tasty sandwiches, soups, and salads that make it a neighborhood staple. We love that the owners change up the menu with healthy Ethiopian food for the night shift, too. Stop in for good coffee, cheerful service, and a dog-friendly patio.

Caboose Cafe, 2419 Mt Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-566-1283.
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Photo: Courtesy of Velocity Bicycle Cooperative/Tony DeFilippo.
VéloCity Bicycle Cooperative
VéloCity isn't one of those bike shops where you feel awkward if you can't tell the difference between a Trek and a Schwinn. It's a low-key, unpretentious shop where you can pick out a vintage bike with a killer banana seat or spend a few hours tuning up your existing set of wheels. It operates as a co-op, so it's a great spot to meet other cycling enthusiasts and learn more about bike culture and maintenance, too. The shop also sponsors biweekly community rides and other social events.

VéloCity Bike Co-op, 2111 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-835-0699.
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Photographed by Maria Carey.
Holy Cow
This gourmet burger joint has been open for less than a year, but it's already a local fave, both for the signature burgers and the build-your-own offerings. We love that Holy Cow makes it easy to indulge, even if you have food allergies or sensitivities (think gluten-free buns, lettuce wraps, quinoa-veggie burgers, and more). What's really cool about Holy Cow? The owners are committed to the community: 25 cents from each order goes to support a local Alexandria charity of your choice.

Holy Cow, 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-666-8616.
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Photo: Courtesy of Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga.
Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga
Need a good stretch? (Who doesn't?) Head to Mind the Mat, where you can choose from an abundance of classes, ranging from hot yoga and Zumba to therapeutic Pilates for injured athletes. There's also a roster of classes for moms and moms-to-be, as well as more in-depth workshop series.

Mind the Mat Pilates and Yoga, 2214 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-683-2228.
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Photo: Courtesy of Taqueria el Poblano.
Taqueria el Poblano
Come for the duck carnitas, stay for the salty margaritas made with fresh lime juice. This popular neighborhood Mexican joint is always packed with Del Ray residents, but luckily, the service is as good as the food. Think traditional Mexican with a slightly gourmet twist, served in a low-key, welcoming atmosphere. We'll drink to that!

Taqueria el Poblano, 2400 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-548-8226.
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Photo: Courtesy of Cheesetique.
Fancy cheese store in the front, cute wine bar in the back — Cheesetique is the ultimate spot for a girls' lunch or a lazy Sunday of day drinking. The cheese menu pairs well with the wide variety of wines on offer. The paninis are always a good bet, and don't pass up the lobster mac 'n' cheese.

Cheesetique, 2411 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria; 703-706-5300.