Off 5th Congressional Plaza

This post was sponsored by Congressional Plaza. I received $200 in gift cards to shop the Plaza, but I’ve spend thousands of my own dollars at that shopping center since moving here 9 years ago.

I’ve been shopping on Rockville Pike since the first week I moved down to Montgomery County in April, 2007. I remember it clearly, because I needed to go to REI, and it realized the Pike was one shopping strip after another full of everything from high-end salons and spas to restaurants to specialty stores. It was overwhelming suburbia for my New York City brain. But it was also so convenient, especially since I figured out quickly that the trick is to never go around rush hour.

Of all the places to shop along Rockville Pike, hands down Congressional Plaza is where I’ve been the most. So when I was asked to cover the opening of Off 5th and write about the center’s new and improved look, it was a no-brainer for me. I’m literally there at least once a week.

Saks OFF 5th is must-see for fashionstas and bargain shoppers alike. It’s the best of Saks 5th Avenue but with all sale items. Two levels of brand-name bargains (Michael Kors, Coach, YSL, UGG, DKNY, BCBG, Hugo Boss, and hundreds more) await shoppers. There’s a small children’s section as well, and so, so many accessories, from purses and shoes to jewelry and scarves.

The customer service is top-notch as well. I must’ve asked a sales rep to look at every single Michael Kors watch before settling on the one I wanted (it was 50% off!). They have Black Friday sales, so make sure to check those out if you’re brave enough to shop in person this Friday!

Child's Play Rockville

My favorite toy + book store Child’s Play is also at Congressional Plaza. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’m on a first-name basis with the managers and staffers (and the former owners). I’ve been a loyal Child’s Play Rockville shopper for nearly a decade, and I love how knowledgeable the staff is about games, books, and toys. Child’s Play Rockville is one of four Child’s Plays around the area, but it’s the only one I frequent. When I know exactly what to get a kid, I go to Child’s Play. When I have no idea what to get a kid, I go to Child’s Play. I can talk to the staff there about only the bare minimum I know about one of my kids’ classmates, and they will have a bunch of recommendations. I go every holiday season with at least ten children to buy gifts for, and they never steer me wrong.

Silver Moon

Right next to Child’s Play is a fabulous gifts and jewelry store, Silver Moon Jewelry & Accessories. Long before Alex and Ani opened at Montgomery Mall, Silver Moon sold their bracelets, as well as a collection of Pandora, Vera Bradley, Swarovski, Crislu, and a host of other accessory brands. They have ongoing sales and also offer many of the same promotions that corporate stores do, so for example, every month they have the same Alex and Ani bracelets and charms on sale that the brand’s official sites sell. I’ve bought gifts for teachers, bridal and baby showers, bat mitzvahs, birthdays, graduations, and hostesses, not to mention myself, there on a regular basis. The personal attention I receive there is what keeps me coming back. Don’t take my word for it, though, head there yourself!

In addition to the stores I’ve mentioned, other stores at CP include Appalachian Spring, As Kindred Spirits, buy buy Baby, Chico’s, Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus, lucy Activewear, LOFT,  Richey Shoes & Co., ULTA Beauty, and White House Black Market — and a bunch of restaurants, a spa, Performance Bike, and more. Check out the complete list.

GIVEAWAY: We have one $50 gift certificate to OFF 5th to give to one local reader. To enter, just comment here or on our Facebook page (don’t forget to like our page) by 11:59PM Sunday, Nov. 27th. The winner must have a local (D-M-V mailing address), and I’ll mail the gift certificate via USPS with tracking by Friday, Dec. 2.