Destination Main Streets

Kensington, Maryland

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Kensington is a suburb just north of Washington, DC known for its historic district made up of stately Victorian era homes. The area built up around a stop along the B&O Railroad line complete with a quaint downtown near the train station. However, as time went on, automobile-friendly suburban strip shopping centers were built along nearby Connecticut Avenue, the main highway bypassing the area a few blocks away. The commercial heart of Kensington began to die. A plan was developed to revitalize the heart of the original commercial district by turning the businesses into antique shops. The plan was a success. Now, Kensington, Maryland is one of the most successful antiques districts in the Washington area.

Kensington is located in Montgomery County, Maryland about 10 miles north of Washington, DC and about 37 miles south of Baltimore, Maryland. The antique district itself is just east of Connecticut Avenue on Howard Avenue. Armory Avenue and Fawcett Street are two side streets that also have businesses, so if you set your GPS for either of those roads along with the intersection of Howard Avenue you will reach the area. Oh yeah, and that stop on the B&O Railroad? It is now a stop on the Brunswick Line of the MARC Commuter Rail system, right in the heart of Kensington's antique district. Kensington also has an Antique Warehouse District on the west side of Connecticut Avenue just a short drive away that also may be worth checking out if you want more antiques. Other nearby Main Streets in the area, include Bethesda Maryland, which has an upscale shopping district.

Photo Gallery Tour

We'll start our tour of Kensington's antique district on the southeast end of town and work our way northwest along Kensington Parkway until it meets Howard Avenue, the primary Main Street through the area.
We'll start our tour of Kensington's antique district on the southeast end of town and work our way northwest along Kensington Parkway until it meets Howard Avenue, the primary Main Street through the area.
This part of Kensington has more of a suburban feel with the buildings further apart, but there are still some interesting shops in them, so I included them here.
This part of Kensington has more of a suburban feel with the buildings further apart, but there are still some interesting shops in them, so I included them here.
There are also some gorgeous homes in the Kensington historic district as well.  Kensington is known for its Victorian era houses.
There are also some gorgeous homes in the Kensington historic district as well. Kensington is known for its Victorian era houses.
Some of these buildings have more of an industrial feel to them but have been spruced up as part of the area's conversion to an antique district.
Some of these buildings have more of an industrial feel to them but have been spruced up as part of the area's conversion to an antique district.
We're now on Howard Avenue.  These are offices but they had a cardboard cutout of Elvis in the window, so that's pretty cool.
We're now on Howard Avenue. These are offices but they had a cardboard cutout of Elvis in the window, so that's pretty cool.
This is Kensington Station, once part of the B&O Railroad.  It's still in use today but as part of the MARC commuter rail system.  This station, built in 1891, was designed by E. Francis Baldiwn, chief architect for the entire B&ampO Railroad line.  This is one of the only few surviving of the original stations.
This is Kensington Station, once part of the B&O Railroad. It's still in use today but as part of the MARC commuter rail system. This station, built in 1891, was designed by E. Francis Baldiwn, chief architect for the entire B&O Railroad line. This is one of the only few surviving of the original stations.
A sign along with a small pocket park welcomes folks to the heart of Kensington's antique district.  At this point, we'll start seeing some more historic buildings.
A sign along with a small pocket park welcomes folks to the heart of Kensington's antique district. At this point, we'll start seeing some more historic buildings.
As we continue heading northwest along Howard Avenue, we come across Howard Avenue Park.  Behind it is the Prevention of Blindness Society Look Again Resale Shop.
As we continue heading northwest along Howard Avenue, we come across Howard Avenue Park. Behind it is the Prevention of Blindness Society Look Again Resale Shop.
Here are a row of historic buildings converted into antique shops.  In the 1960s this stretch of Kensington began to develop as an Antique Row as a way to better market itself and attract business.
Here are a row of historic buildings converted into antique shops. In the 1960s this stretch of Kensington began to develop as an Antique Row as a way to better market itself and attract business.
Another building repurposed into antique shops.  Nearby busy Connecticut Avenue is the main commercial highway through Kensington so that is where most of the typical suburban chain businesses can be found.  Quiet Howard Avenue and its Antique Row is a nice oasis away from that.
Another building repurposed into antique shops. Nearby busy Connecticut Avenue is the main commercial highway through Kensington so that is where most of the typical suburban chain businesses can be found. Quiet Howard Avenue and its Antique Row is a nice oasis away from that.
Older commercial buildings that had grown up around the B&O Railroad Station have since been converted into an Antique Village.  There's also a Tea Room.
Older commercial buildings that had grown up around the B&O Railroad Station have since been converted into an Antique Village. There's also a Tea Room.
Here's another view of the Antique Village and the Tea Room.  Some of those letters have seen better days.
Here's another view of the Antique Village and the Tea Room. Some of those letters have seen better days.
If you head down Fawcett Avenue, one of the side streets, you'll find additional businesses.  Decorating Den Interiors has since been replaced by Sweet Hairafter.
If you head down Fawcett Avenue, one of the side streets, you'll find additional businesses. Decorating Den Interiors has since been replaced by Sweet Hairafter.
Antique stores selling everything from furniture to jewelry on Fawcett Avenue.
Antique stores selling everything from furniture to jewelry on Fawcett Avenue.
These look like mid century garden apartments, but today they are antique stores.
These look like mid century garden apartments, but today they are antique stores.
We head back out to Howard Avenue.  Across the street from Antique Row are the railroad tracks along with a brick wall.  I took this shot to give you an idea of what was across the street from all the shops.  As you can see, most of the businesses are on one side of Howard Avenue.
We head back out to Howard Avenue. Across the street from Antique Row are the railroad tracks along with a brick wall. I took this shot to give you an idea of what was across the street from all the shops. As you can see, most of the businesses are on one side of Howard Avenue.
Here's another view of the Antique Village, which was built in the 1960s and jump-started the area's development into an antiques destination.
Here's another view of the Antique Village, which was built in the 1960s and jump-started the area's development into an antiques destination.
And yet another view.  If your car is low enough, you can drive underneath and head back behind the buildings.
And yet another view. If your car is low enough, you can drive underneath and head back behind the buildings.
This is the view behind the Antique Village buildings.  Back here we see the Kensington Antique Center.
This is the view behind the Antique Village buildings. Back here we see the Kensington Antique Center.
Here is a view of the backside of the Antique Village buildings that were fronting Howard Avenue.  This area behind the Antique Village is known as the Court Yard.
Here is a view of the backside of the Antique Village buildings that were fronting Howard Avenue. This area behind the Antique Village is known as the Court Yard.
Another building in the back of the Antique Village in the Court Yard.  This one is called The Studios.
Another building in the back of the Antique Village in the Court Yard. This one is called The Studios.
We're back out on Howard Avenue.  Here we see more shops, including a Book Store.
We're back out on Howard Avenue. Here we see more shops, including a Book Store.
We make it to the corner of Howard Avenue and Armory Avenue where we find more shops as well as a small gas station that is historic in its own right.
We make it to the corner of Howard Avenue and Armory Avenue where we find more shops as well as a small gas station that is historic in its own right.
Here is a closer look at those shops on Armory Avenue.  To the left, you can see the back side of the Safeway shopping center that fronts busy Connecticut Avenue, the main suburban highway through the area.
Here is a closer look at those shops on Armory Avenue. To the left, you can see the back side of the Safeway shopping center that fronts busy Connecticut Avenue, the main suburban highway through the area.
If you head down Armory Avenue, you'll find a few more shops and businesses.
If you head down Armory Avenue, you'll find a few more shops and businesses.
And we conclude our tour of Kensington's Antique Row with a few more shops and even a bakery on Armory Avenue.  If you hop in your car, and cross Connecticut Avenue, you'll find some antiques warehouses on the other side of Connecticut also on Howard Avenue in an area known as Kensington's Warehouse District.
And we conclude our tour of Kensington's Antique Row with a few more shops and even a bakery on Armory Avenue. If you hop in your car, and cross Connecticut Avenue, you'll find some antiques warehouses on the other side of Connecticut also on Howard Avenue in an area known as Kensington's Warehouse District.

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