Vibrant, posh Georgetown is located in Northwest Washington, DC on the banks of the Potomac River. The Georgetown neighborhood is known for its blend of history, culture, charming historic architecture, and wealth of first-rate places to eat, drink, and shop.
In this post, I’ll tell you about the most iconic things to do when visiting Georgetown.
Visit the C&O Canal
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is a historic waterway that runs through Georgetown. This canal was built in the 1800s to transport goods into and out of DC.
Today, it’s a great spot for an easy walk or bike ride. The canal is right next to the water since that’s where the mules would pull the canal boats, so you get a cool view from below of the businesses and homes on the street level.
In the warmer months, an extra fun way to experience the canal is taking an hour-long Georgetown Heritage Canal Boat Tour.
Explore the Shops and Restaurants
Georgetown is full of places to shop, window or otherwise. You could spend a whole day wandering in and out of trendy boutiques, art galleries, and open-air markets. And when you’re ready for some refreshment, there are many excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars to check out.
M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are the most famous streets in Georgetown. They’re the main shopping and dining thruways where you can find everything from clothing to jewelry to home decor.
Food-wise, I’ll just mention a few places to whet your appetite. If you want to know more about where to eat and drink in Georgetown, subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll get notified when those posts go live. Anyhow!
There are Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Lutèce, a stylish French bistro headed by Michelin-star chef Matt Conroy. Or there are multiple places to get high-end cupcakes, such as Georgetown Cupcakes or Baked & Wired. For drinks, check out the aptly named Rooftop at The Graham Georgetown, a rooftop bar on top of the swanky hotel.
Stroll along the peaceful, historic streets
While Georgetown’s most famous street is M Street, the whole neighborhood is comprised of charming, tree-shaded streets lined with historic homes.
Want a little more guidance on where to aim your wanderings? Of Georgetown’s many beautiful streets, some of the most picturesque include:
- Q Street is known for its historic row houses. Many have been beautifully restored and feature colorful facades and unique architectural details.
- 31st Street is a charming cobblestone street lined with historic homes and small shops, giving it a distinctly old-world feel.
- Wisconsin Avenue: Wisconsin Avenue, as mentioned above, is full of lively places to eat and shop. Plus, it will eventually lead you up to Georgetown’s artsy Book Hill section.
- Dumbarton Street is another historic street in Georgetown that features a mix of residential homes, art galleries, and boutique shops.
Brave the Exorcist Stairs
Made famous by the 1973 movie, “The Exorcist,” these steep, creepy stairs are tucked into the corner of a janky parking lot next to an abandoned gas station. Noisy traffic commutes past on M Street, and you can see the glass skyscrapers of Northern Virginia reflecting the sun and luring birds to their doom across the river. There’s a plaque on the wall next to the stairs talking about the stairs’ significance. You’ll probably encounter a few people reading the plaque, taking pictures, or walking up/down the stairs while tightly gripping the railing.
Take in the Academic Vibes of Georgetown University
Prestigious Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is located in the heart of Georgetown and is open to the public. When you’re walking around campus, make sure to visit Healy Hall, the university’s most iconic building. You can also check out the Georgetown University Museum, which houses a collection of art and artifacts from around the world.
Visit the Georgetown Waterfront Park
The Georgetown Waterfront Park is a beautiful oasis with lovely views of the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center. It’s a great spot for a picnic or just to lay out a blanket and relax by the water. You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the river. Throughout the year, and especially in the summer, the park has a packed schedule of outdoor events, including concerts and festivals.
Visit The Old Stone House
Georgetown is home to several historic landmarks that are worth exploring. One of the most iconic is the Old Stone House. Located right on M Street, it’s the oldest unchanged building in Washington DC, dating back to 1765. It’s a great example of colonial architecture and the grounds behind the house are expansive and very pretty. You can take a self-guided tour of the house and learn about its history and the daily life of the people who lived there. And to top it all off, visiting the Old Stone House is free to the public.
All in all
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a longer trip, Georgetown is definitely worth a visit. So the next time you’re in the city, make sure to add Georgetown to your list of must-visit places.
And if you’ve already been to Georgetown what do you think are the most iconic places to visit? Share in the comments – the people want to know!