Georgetown is one of the historic neighborhoods in DC and has something for everyone. There is so much history in this neighborhood–there are whole books written about it. The neighborhood, situated along the Potomac River, was founded in 1751. Until 1871, it remained a separate municipality until Congress created a new consolidated government for the District. Because of where it is situated, Georgetown was the farthest point upstream that oceangoing boats could navigate on the Potomac River. It is the home of Georgetown University and was frequented often by George Washington (especially the taverns). In the late 18th and 19th century, African Americans comprised a large majority of Georgetown’s population, having established a thriving community following the civil war. Current residents include Former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Madeleine Albright. So when can we move in?
Getting to Georgetown can be a little bit difficult, especially if you’re not fluent in the DC bus system. Where you start will determine your best course of action. If you’re coming from Alexandria or eastern Maryland make it easy on yourself and hop on the metro. Get off at Foggy Bottom-GWU and you can either walk (about ~10 minutes) or hop on a bus. Our suggestion is to get on the DC Circulator. It will pick up along Washington Circle, which is a quick walk from the metro. It’s only a dollar and comes roughly every 10 minutes!
If you’re coming from anywhere else, check out one of the following bus routes. Or you could always Uber…we’re just trying to save you some money! Popular Metro Bus routes into Georgetown include: 31, 33, 38B, D1, D2, D5, D6 and G2. However, do note that some of these don’t go close to the action. Some of them take you through the northern edge of the neighborhood.
Best times to Visit
Georgetown as a neighborhood is quite large and it has very residential sections and pedestrian heavy sections. As a rule of thumb, if you’re going anywhere near M Street, try not to go on weekends. It’s the main shopping district in the area and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
It is also worth noting that Georgetown includes a university and is really close to another one (what’s up GW?!), so watch out for big university weekends (like graduation!). It draws a large crowd for people looking for a good meal.
For the Coffee Lover
As with any good neighborhood, you’ve got options when it comes to finding your morning brew. Baked and Wired will forever be our first recommendation. You can find your perfectly Instagrammable cupcake here but they’ve also got coffee, tea and other muffins. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it until the day we die: skip Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles. They’re overrated.
If you’re an animal lover (or more specifically a cat person), Crumbs & Whiskers is your place. D.C.’s first cat cafe that benefits shelter animals is open for reservations ($18-22/session) or walk-in ($6.50). They do in fact have coffee, tea and macarons, but we take it most people go here just for the feline company.
For the Foodie
It sort of feels like Georgetown has something for everyone. If you’re looking for great pizza and beer, check out Pizza Paradisio. If you’re more into sweets, you truly can’t go wrong with Dean & DeLuca for a cookie that says “I <3 DC”. Say you’re looking for a DC Dive Bar or you want to relive some of your college nights. The Tombs is your place. If you’re looking for something more international, we’ve got you covered there too:
- Falafel Inc: everything on their menu is under $5!!
- Simply Banh Mi: it can be hard to find good Vietnamese without trekking into the far reaches of Virginia or Maryland. Head here and you won’t be disappointed.
- Chaia: Tacos that are 100% vegetarian and completely seasonal!
This is really #basic of us, but we feel obligated to mention there is a SouthBlock in Georgetown. Head there for all your smoothie bowl dreams. And make sure to invite us!
For the Weekender
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: avoid M St on weekends! It has gotten better over the years because they extend the sidewalk widths on Saturday and Sunday, but it’s still not great. Lines will be long everywhere. Instead, we suggest walking down to the waterfront and take your pick of activities. There are tables, benches and steps lining the water so you can sip your coffee and watch the morning rowers on the Potomac. You could also head to Fletcher’s Cove Boat House and go kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. If the boathouse is open, it’s an experience that everyone should experience, local and tourist alike.
During the fall, check out the Taste of Georgetown (usually in late September) for a local sampling of all the food in the neighborhood. If you miss the Taste, fear not. You can still get a metaphorical taste of the neighborhood by exploring some of its historic sites. Check out Dumbarton House, Tudor Place (built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter!) or The Old Stone House.
If none of those sound ideal, just take a walk. The neighborhood is chalk full of houses that will make you goes “ahhhhhh I wish I lived there!”.
For the Fashion Guru
M St is a shopping spree waiting to happen. It is lined with many stores from your high end furniture (hello West Elm!) to your work wear at Banana Republic, your yoga pants at Athleta and your future wedding invitations at Paper Source. There are also a number of smaller boutiques that you need to make sure you check out: American/Holiday has great small goods, Ann Masburn (or the brother store Sid Mashburn) have wonderful Southern inspired looks, and Relish has all the minimalist looks you could ask for.
For the Date Night
Farmers, Fishers, Bakers is right along the water and makes a lot of great options. But it is a bit overplayed in our minds. It’s also incredibly loud. Not great for some romantic dining. If you’re looking for something quieter, check out Fiola Mare right next door.
After you’ve had dinner, sign up for a ghost tour. Seriously. Georgetown, rich in all it’s history, is bound to have some juicy ghost stories. There are a lot to choose from and sometimes you can even find tickets to them on Groupon. Keep this one for a warmer night though.
Historical Fun Fact
The bar, City Tavern, was one of three taverns that opened in the 1790s and is the only one that is still open today. Unfortunately, it operates as a private social club. If you’re a member, hit us up! We’d love to join you for a drink!