Few places in the US see past and present commingling so harmoniously as in the historic Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC. Filled with gorgeous townhomes, glitzy shops, trendy restaurants, picturesque waterfronts, and the renowned Georgetown University, the history and charms of Georgetown are undeniable.
The historic district of Georgetown technically predates the nation’s capital: It was founded in 1751, some 50 years before the District of Columbia. The heart of the neighborhood is the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW, now packed with glamorous storefronts and chef-driven restaurants. All around are multimillion-dollar townhomes, marked by 18th- and 19th-century architecture and tales of famous owners (such as the Kennedys). Then there’s the popular Georgetown Waterfront, home to buzzing outdoor cafés and a scenic Potomac River promenade.
Georgetown’s historic roots and bespoke charms offer the perfect afternoon excursion for DC visitors. For an in-depth experience of the area and its storied roots, book a guided walking tour; typically these include such sites as the C&O Canal, a bucolic waterway that was once an active center of commerce and transportation, and Georgetown University, which counts Bill Clinton and Bradley Cooper among its illustrious alumni. If you’re limited on time, many private and small-group DC tours stop in the neighborhood as well, as do hop-on hop-off buses.
Things to Know Before You Go
- History buffs and families alike will appreciate a leisurely afternoon in Georgetown.
- Many of the sidewalks are made of (sometimes uneven) cobblestones; come prepared with comfy walking shoes.
- Many cafés, bakeries, and other comfy local establishments offer free Wi-Fi.
How to Get There
Georgetown is accessible by car (there are more than 20 parking garages) and bikeshare service (Capital Bikeshare has eight stations). Public transportation is also available via the DC Metrobus and the DC Circulator bus, which connects tourist destinations within the city. The nearest metro stations are Foggy Bottom-GWU, a 15-minute walk away, and Rosslyn, located just across the Key Bridge from Georgetown; both are on the blue and orange lines.
When to Get There
Temperatures and humidity typically soar during summer in Washington DC, while winter can be cold and damp. Late spring and early fall offer the most pleasant weather. This is also when Georgetown University co-eds are back in school, allowing visitors to experience the neighborhood’s collegiate charms.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
A tour of Georgetown isn’t complete without stopping for a delicious treat from Georgetown Cupcake. The original outpost of the nationwide dessert shop, made famous on TLC network’s DC Cupcakes, sells its signature red velvet cupcake—with a vanilla cream cheese frosting topped with a red fondant heart)—and countless other finger-licking flavors at its store on the corner of M and 33rd streets.