I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about how the era of the mall is dead. And while my Gen-X Mallrats self mourns a little, I haven’t actually been inside a mall in ages. I do, however, often find myself wandering around Reston Town Center in the sunshine, popping in and out of stores and dining on outdoor patios. These days, developers have evolved and integrated “malls” into our cityscape. Examples of these lifestyle centers are everywhere — Bethesda Row, Pike & Rose, DC City Center, and the Mosaic District.
Are these places all the same? The Mosaic District is our closest neighbor, is it worth the drive when Reston Town Center is 5 minutes away? Well, let’s find out, shall we? It’s field trip time!
Mosaic is located near the 66 and 495 split in Merrifield, VA. Once parked (which was a breeze), I was struck by the fact that out of the many businesses, most are not repeats from Reston Town Center. In fact, most are independent establishments or have very few locations. There is a nice smattering of home, food, fitness, and clothing places as well as an impressive selection of restaurants.
Here are some of our favorites:
GreatGatherings is a fun home goods store with an emphasis on entertaining. They have everything imaginable for a party, from outdoor BBQ accessories to indoor rec room furniture. Air hockey, anyone?
Lather is a holistic skincare store that sells products made from natural ingredients and pure essential oils in eco-friendly packaging.
As part of their dedication to giving back to the community, Lather donates 5 bars of soap for every one purchased. Plus, if you buy 3 bars, you get one free. That’s a total 20 bars donated to those in need.
Ah Love Oil & Vinegar is a must for anyone who loves the flavors of the Mediterranean. Stop in and sample a wide array of small-batch and hard-to-find flavors of oil and vinegar. They also carry gifts and specialty food items such as the ghee from Tava Life Provisions below.
One of the coolest places I have been to in a while is Stellogix, a S.T.E.A.M.-based store founded by a local engineer.
Here, you’ll find scientific instruments and toys for all ages, plus a staff that is eager to impart its scientific knowledge.
If you are searching for premium, organic, and natural teas and infusions, look no further than Capital Teas. This local tea empire has locations in and around DC and supplies their blends to some of the best restaurants in the Mid-Atlantic region. To encourage exploration, they offer free samples and maintain a vast “sniffing wall.”
For a fabulous wine buying experience stop by Swirl & Sip. This chic shop carries wine and beer from all over the world at all price points. They also host frequent tastings and stock a highly edited selection of gourmet goodies.
To take off the extra pounds of wine and cheese from Swirl & Sip, get physical at any one of the many fitness places in Mosaic. Take a yoga, barre or aerial class at Spark Yoga, strengthen your whole body at Solidcore, or sweat buckets at Zengo Cycle.
Before signing up for a class, be sure to outfit yourself at one of the best sporting goods stores in the region. City Sports carries a huge selection of equipment and gear for serious athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It was also a very colorful store!
For a luxurious mani/pedi book an appointment at the adorable Mint Nail Lounge. Mint adheres to the most up-to-date sanitary practices while providing a relaxing and posh experience. You’ll leave buffed, shined, polished and refreshed.
For date nights, hit the Angelika Film Center and any one of the SEVENTEEN restaurants within Mosaic. The Angelika features major motion pictures as well as independent and art films. They also have one of the best concessions menu I have ever seen. Why not have a kimchi hot dog with a North Coast Brother Thelonius Belgian Style Abbey Ale? Say that five times fast!
If you prefer to eat after the movie, it’s really just a matter of deciding what you’re in the mood for. Do you feel like southern fried chicken at Gypsy Soul, a mile-high reuben at DGS Delicatessen, a dozen (or two!) oysters at Brine or pan-seared salmon at Matchbox? You really can’t go wrong.
Another newcomer to mosaic is Sisters Thai Living Room. Sample their curries, noodle dishes, and Thai street food while checking out their quirky decor.
Sisters also has a little coffee bar for espresso drinks and baked goods.
There are a whole host of other restaurants including True Food Kitchen, Cyclone Anaya’s, Cava and B Side. Sea Pearl and Four Sisters Vietnamese are just outside the Mosaic limits and are both highly regarded.
I could go on and on about the offerings at Mosaic, this was simply a sampling. As you can see, there are PLENTY of reasons to get out of our comfy Reston bubble to explore, shop, and dine. The EDENS Developers hit the nail on the head with Mosaic by providing a great mix of local and bigger name businesses in an outdoor, walkable and fun environment.