One advantage of the oft-maligned 25-mph speed limit on this stretch of Broad Street in Falls Church is that it forces you to slow down and consider the wide variety of shops, bars and galleries nestled here. And double takes are common as you pass a decidedly landlocked beach shack or a line of neon-clad concertgoers in full ’80s regalia.

 


Games at the Compleat Strategist. Photo by Curt Seiss

The Compleat Strategist
103 E. Broad St.

The jam-packed store looks as if you've walked onto the set of a Dungeons & Dragons documentary. The shelves can barely contain the bounty of board games, DVDs, figurines and toys - with eyebrow-raising names for the uninitiated (Munchkin Booty! Killer Bunnies!). Navigating the space is its own challenge when gamers are waging war, saving the galaxy or debating the last "Game of Thrones" plot line at the communal table.

 


Clare and Don's Beach Shack. Photo by Curt Seiss

Clare and Don's Beach Shack
130 N. Washington St.

With every flip-flop stuck on the wall, Florida license plate and candy-colored rum drink, the shack, uprooted from its eponymous home of Clarendon, shakes you outta the 'burbs and elicits your inner beach bum. The seafood-heavy menu follows suit. Close your eyes and listen to the live music and the sounds of dogs and kids frolicking on the back patio, and you can almost forget that you're about a mile from Interstate 66.

 


The State Theatre. Photo by Curt Seiss

The State Theatre
220 N. Washington St.

Even on the coolest evenings the 78-year-old State Theatre frequently fills with sweaty masses flailing to their favorite artists. Whether it's the '80s-obsessed Legwarmers or Buddy Guy, the State's acts attract fans of the fervent nature. The East Falls Church Metro is about a 0.75- mile stroll, perfect for testing the strength of your Aqua Net and perfecting that "Walk Like an Egyptian" gait.

 


New to You. Photo by Curt Seiss

New to You
108 W. Broad St.

Since opening the consignment shop in 1992, Christina Novak has seen consignment boutiques "pop up like mushrooms." New to You's distinction, she says, is her fixation on quality, appreciation for the funky and the classics, and a willingness to say no to racks of Ann Taylor workwear and Gap khakis.

 


The Local Market. Photo by Curt Seiss

The Local Market
246 W. Broad St.

Remember when the produce section smelled like produce, before everything was waxed and sprayed into sterile sameness? You'll get a whiff of earthy freshness - apples, tomatoes, cucumbers and honey - at this three-year-old farmers market. From the life-size bear carved with a chainsaw by a 15-year-old Mennonite to the Nutella pie tempting folks, the shop's goods come "from a local hand," said cashier Danny Hickle.

 

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