The first lady, hard to recognize in a baseball cap and sunglasses, shopped Thursday at a Target store in Alexandria, Va., just outside Washington.
Casually dressed Secret Service agents arrived about a half-hour before Mrs. Obama, who walked in through the main entrance with an assistant. She spent 30 to 40 minutes shopping, pushing her own cart. She apparently was recognized only by the cashier who rang up her purchases.
Since coming to the White House, Mrs. Obama has lamented missing out on what she calls "normal stuff," like Target runs.
"It is not uncommon for the First Lady to slip out to run an errand, eat at a local restaurant or otherwise enjoy the city outside the White House gates," Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama's communications director, said in a statement to CNN.
She isn't the first first lady to try to go out unrecognized. Hillary Rodham Clinton went for walks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, too.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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