“Small businesses and artists and craftspeople really need a venue to be able to show and sell their work,” said Michael Berman in a 2016 Metro Weekly interview.
That tenet is ultimately what inspired Berman to launch the Downtown Holiday Market nearly two decades ago. And clearly residents needed it, too. The market has been a runaway success year in and year out, even during the throes of the pandemic.
Organized by Berman’s Diverse Markets Management in partnership with the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, the market turns a two-block-stretch of F Street northwest in the heart of downtown’s Penn Quarter into a bustling outdoor shopping destination, styled as “a one-stop-shop” preserve of pop-ups focused on local merchants, entrepreneurs, artists, and artisans.
This year’s 18th annual edition features more than 75 exhibitors offering a vast, eclectic, and international assortment of gifts and souvenirs, collectibles, and wearables — from prints and photographs, to pottery and glassware, to custom jewelry and accessories. “There are things that are unique to find here — you’ll never see them in any other location. Some of these vendors only show up for this event,” Berman has said.
Notably, every year since the pandemic organizers have emphasized the Black- and minority-businesses among the retail lineup, this year including Choquette, Terratorie Maps + Goods, imported crafts from Toro Mata: The Art of Peru, Kin & Care soaps and candles, Smell of Love Candles, Shade Metals, and Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration.
Also featured are the women and minority artists, candle makers, clothing designers, and jewelry makers part of The Pop-Up Collaborative, originally known as the Women of Color DC Pop-Up.
In addition to Toro Mata, other known LGBTQ vendors include Naked Decor and The Capital Candy Jar. A third annual collaboration with ARTECHOUSE introduces an all-new immersive extended reality experience in which a hidden layer of XR art is just waiting to be uncovered by visitors at the market.
Scattered across the market will be a number of food and beverage vendors, including Migue’s Mini Donuts, Alexa’s Empanadas and Churros, and A Taste of Germany. Each day also brings free staged performances by local and regional musicians, with an upcoming schedule posted to the website.
Operates daily from noon to 8 p.m. through Dec. 23, except Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, and Monday, Dec. 5. Located on F Street between 7th and 9th Streets NW. Visit www.downtownholidaymarket.com.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!