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The Best Things to See & Do in Georgetown

A favorite of tourists and locals alike, discover the best things to see, do and eat in DC’s historic Georgetown neighborhood.

Shopping isn’t the only thing to do in Georgetown. Washington, DC’s oldest neighborhood is full of charm, Michelin-approved restaurants, fantastic events for the whole family and plenty of scenic views. Pick your adventure – from the exciting waterfront all the way up to Book Hill – and get exploring in this centuries-old part of the District.

Get active on the Potomac River

Georgetown’s waterfront offers a wide range of on-the-water fun, so head down to the banks of the Potomac for your next adventure. Pick up a kayak or standup paddleboard at the Key Bridge Boathouse and enjoy Instagram-worthy panoramas of the DC and Virginia skylines while also getting a great workout. Cycle on the water with Potomac Paddle Club‘s social, BYOB “cycleboat” experience or simply sit back, relax and let the motor do it’s thing.

Tempt your taste buds

A plate for every palate and a bite for every budget. With more than 100 restaurants representing nearly a wide range of ethnicities, Georgetown’s diverse food and drink scene is only growing. Wherever your taste buds take you, a picture-perfect backdrop awaits – from Georgetown’s vibrant waterfront dining to cozy drinks on tucked-away patios and power lunches among politicos.

Shop to your heart’s content

No trip to Georgetown is complete without some retail therapy. Fashionistas know to browse designer duds at Alice & Olivia, Billy Reid and Rag & Bone alongside department store offshoots and local boutiques. You can check out these shops and more in our Georgetown shopping guide. More interested in snagging a bargain? There’s a TJ Maxx/Home Goods on M Street, and a number of upscale secondhand stores in the neighborhood.

Splash, skate and more at Washington Harbour

Georgetown’s waterfront is home to tons of great restaurants – many, including SequoiaTony and Joe’s Seafood PlaceFarmers Fishers Bakers and Fiola Mare, offer patio seating in warm weather – and plenty of outdoor activities. In summer, children (and adults, too) can splash in the sprinkler-style water fountain, watch the boats and feed the ducks. In winter months, one of our favorite places to ice skate opens for the season.

Tour the gorgeous Tudor Place

This historic landmark has been a fixture in DC since 1816, serving as a home to descendants of Martha Washington for six generations. Inside the elegant house, discover furnishings, household items and fascinating Washington-related artifacts. The five-plus acres worth of gardens on the estate make for a wondrous and scenic outdoor experience.

Explore the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks

Secluded and lush, the grounds of this beautiful park have been described as being like the Secret Garden and it’s no surprise why: Manicured greenery, winding pathways and classical fountains comprise a 27-acre historic park that sits atop the highest hill in Georgetown. An adjacent museum specializes in Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art.

Exorcise and exercise

Get those demon carbs out of your body and run up all 75 of the super-steep infamous Exorcist steps at the corner of 36th and Prospect streets. The steps had their moment of fame as the spot where Father Karras tumbled to his demise in the in the cult horror classic The Exorcist. Locals flock to the steps to get their sweat on, so you’ll be in good company.

Ogle famous homes

Georgetown has been home to lots of celebrities: Julia Child taught cooking lessons and tested recipes for her legendary first cookbook while living in the yellow wood-frame house at 2706 Olive Street in the 1950s – the home sold for nearly $1 million in 2015. Or learn about the rich history of the Kennedy family in Georgetown – including the house John F. Kennedy lived in at 3307 N Street while running for president.

Walk in the steps of JFK

Retrace the steps of one of America’s most iconic presidential couples – John and Jacqueline Kennedy – with a self-guided Kennedy walking tour around the neighborhood. You can visit the the church where they worshipped and go to the restaurant to sit at the booth where JFK proposed in June 1953.

Catch some live jazz at Blues Alley

Founded in 1965 and modeled after the jazz clubs of the 1920s, this supper club-style music venue is hidden away in an alley carriage house and hosts live jazz musicians almost every night of the year. Throughout its history, such legendary performers as Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Bennett have taken the stage at the Washington institution.

Book it to Book Hill

Small, independent boutiques, galleries, and restaurants make up the charming area known as Book Hill, located along Wisconsin Avenue from O Street to Reservoir Road. From Book Hill Park you can take in a panoramic view of Georgetown, the Potomac River and Virginia.

Make a memorable lunch date

Georgetown is loaded with beloved lunch spots. If you’re looking for a quick, casual bite, hit up the homegrown chain Sweetgreen for healthy-yet-delicious salads, Good Stuff Eatery (owned by former Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn) for decadent burgers and milkshakes, or Stachowski’s for out-of-the-box butcher sandwiches. Don’t forget to swing by Olivia MacaronThe Bakeshop or Levain Bakery afterwards for sweet treats that are totally Instagrammable.

Get your bocce on at Pinstripes

This family-friendly game space – which fuses an Italian-American restaurant with a sprawling bowling alley – offers 14 bowling lanes and six bocce courts in an enormous 32,000 square foot space that borders the C&O Canal.

Solve a mystery at Escape Game

Georgetown is home to 30-plus design showrooms and stores, from contemporary to traditional home furnishings and decor. Cady’s Alley anchors the Georgetown Design District, with more than 20 showrooms and boutiques nestled in a cluster of historic industrial buildings. Enter at 3300 M Street NW, or access the area’s cobblestone walkway from M and 33rd or 34th streets.

Paint the (George)town

Whether you’re looking for an avant-garde abstract painting or a classic landscape, Georgetown’s neighborhood galleries offer a wide range of styles. A cluster of galleries can be found in Book Hill, while plenty more are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood.

Marvel modern architecture at the House of Sweden

A spectacular example of modern Scandinavian architecture, this waterfront building – which houses the embassies of Sweden and Iceland – regularly hosts events like yoga and jazz on its rooftop terrace, and exhibits on varied topics, such as an exhibit celebrating Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman.

Take a sweets break with a celebrity cupcake

Local bakery Georgetown Cupcake shot to fame when its owners, sisters Katherine Berman and Sophie LaMontagne, became the focus of a TLC reality show. The line for the shop’s sweet treats usually snakes around the block. Looking for more cupcake options in the ‘hood? Head down the street to Baked & Wired, a local favorite.

Prepare to be pampered

Playtime in Georgetown also means “me time” with a well-deserved visit to one of more than 50 salons and spas. Get the head-to-toe treatment for a day of pampering that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for even more exploring.

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