Georgetown is a historic neighborhood in Washington D.C. Not only is the area known for its history, but it is also the commercial and entertainment district of the city. Therefore, it is a neighborhood that offers visitors a vast array of activities to enjoy that will suit all tastes, and you will have no problem keeping yourself entertained throughout your time in this area. So that you can plan your vacation itinerary and get the most out of your time in this destination, here are the 20 best things to do in Georgetown for first-timers.
20. Eat and Drink at Washington Harbor
One of the best places to eat and drink in Georgetown is at Washington Harbor, says Washington.org as there are multiple bars and eateries in this location. Even better, many of them have outdoor seating areas, so you can watch the boats in the harbor while you dine.
19. Explore Dumbarton Oaks Park
Dumbarton Oaks Park is a public park in Georgetown, and the main entrance is along Lovers Lane off R Street. It consists of 10-acres of formal gardens and 27-acres of naturalistic stream-side gardens. There are several trails within the park to explore, including trails that run alongside the stream and take you through forested areas. It is also a nice place to enjoy a picnic on a nice day. Dumbarton Oaks Park is one of the prettiest spots in Georgetown for those who enjoy spending time outdoors or getting back to nature.
18. Listen to Live Jazz Music at Blues Alley
Although many of the main attractions in Georgetown are activities to enjoy in the daytime, there are also options to keep you entertained in the evenings. A popular evening activity in this neighborhood is listening to live jazz music, and the best place to do this is at the Blues Alley jazz club on Wisconsin Avenue. Another great place to enjoy live music and a drink is at the Georgetown Piano Bar on Main Street NW.
17. Go Bowling at Pinstripes
A fun activity for all the family to enjoy during a trip to Georgetown is to go ten-pin bowling at Pinstripes. In addition to the bowling alley, visitors to Pinstripes can also enjoy a game of bocce ball. There is an eatery and a bar at this venue, so you can stay for a bite to eat and a glass of wine after your game.
16. Rent a Kayak or Canoe
The Potomac River is more than just a beautiful feature of Washington D.C. It is also the perfect setting to have some water-based fun. If you head to Thompson’s Boat Center of Key Bridge Boathouse it is possible to hire canoes and kayaks to take out on the river. For the more adventurous, there is also the option to take part in paddleboard fitness and yoga classes on the water.
15. Dine at Fiola Mare
There are many outstanding restaurants where you can dine during your stay in Georgetown, but the best is Fiola Mare. It is a sophisticated Italian eatery that specializes in seafood dishes. They also have an extensive wine list and a good selection of cocktails. In addition to the food, another reason this is the top-rated restaurant in the area is that its waterfront position means that diners can enjoy river views while they dine.
14. Have a Relaxing Spa Day
Georgetown DC recommends treating yourself to a spa day while in Georgetown, as this is the perfect way to relax and rid yourself of life’s stresses and strains. Two of the best places to enjoy relaxing spa treatments in Georgetown are Kim’s Nails and Luigi Parasmo Salon. Both Establishments offer a wide range of health and beauty treatments.
13. Enjoy a Stroll Around Oak Hill Cemetery
There are two reasons why you should include a visit to Oak Hill Cemetery in your itinerary. The first is to enjoy the beautiful gardens, as the cemetery covers more than 15-acres, and it is a 19th-century garden park. Another reason to visit is that the cemetery is historically interesting. Various esteemed professionals were involved in designing the cemetery, including the Gothic Chapel. The grave sites and mausoleums are interesting to see, and the cemetery is the final resting place of many people who are notable in Washington D.C.’s history.
12. Take a Walking Tour Around Georgetown
A great way to see the sights of Georgetown is on-foot, and there are many walking tours available, and many have a specific focus. For example, there are some tours that concentrate on the history of the neighborhood, while others take you to some of the top eateries in the area. Therefore, you can choose a walking tour that best suits your interests. If you plan to enjoy a walking tour when you visit Georgetown, then it makes sense to make this one of your first activities as it will help to acclimatize you to your surroundings.
11. See the Sights on a Washington Monuments Cruise
A unique way to enjoy the sights of Georgetown and other parts of Washington D.C. is by taking the Washington Monuments Cruise, which is a much more relaxing way of seeing the sights than on-foot. The cruise takes you along the Potomac River and highlights the most significant landmarks in the city. Some of the sights that you will see along the way include the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Arlington Memorial Bridge, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
10. Take a Tour of Tudor Place
There are several historic structures to visit in Georgetown, and possibly the most visually impressive is Tudor Place. It is a neoclassical mansion that sits on 5.5 acres of land. The property was built in 1816 by the son of Robert Peter, the first mayor of Georgetown and a prominent merchant and landowner. Visitors can take a guided tour of the grounds and the mansion. One of the tour’s highlights is the collection of items that formerly belonged to George and Martha Washington. Throughout the tour, the guide enlightens visitors about various elements of the mansion’s history and about the lives of those who lived there.
9. Go to Washington D.C.’s Oldest Building
An interesting historical place to visit in Georgetown is the Old Stone House, which along M Street. It is the oldest building in Washington D.C., as it was built in 1765 when the neighborhood was still the British colony of Maryland. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is possible for visitors to take self-guided tours of the house, which is filled with furniture from the period in which the house was built.
8. Visit Georgetown University
Georgetown University is one of the world’s leading academic institutions and a premier private research facility. It is also the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the United States, as it was founded in 1789 by Bishop John Carroll. Visitors can take self-guided tours of this educational establishment and explore the campus grounds. Most visitors begin their tour at the College Dean’s Office, then head through the campus to the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business.
7. Enjoy a Hot Beverage at Grace Street Coffee Roasters
If you are exploring Georgetown during the day, then you should stop for a cup of coffee at Grace Street Coffee Roasters. It is an independent and locally-owned coffee shop that sources single-origin coffees. They only roast small batches at a time to get the best flavors and aromas from the coffee beans, so it is the best coffee you will drink in Georgetown. The interior of the coffee has an old-world style, with dark wooden furniture and flooring, high ceilings, large window, and white brick walls. However, there are also modern touches, such as pop art on the walls and hip-hop music playing in the background. Try to get a window seat so that you can watch the world go by while you drink your coffee.
6. Go to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection
Dumbarton Oaks is a historic estate that was once the home of Robert and Mildred Bliss, but it is now a research library and museum. The facility welcomes researchers who want to study their documents, books, objects, and images. The museum section is also open to the public, and it boasts some world-class art collections. The permanent collections on display include galleries of pre-Columbian, textile, and Byzantine art. There is also a rare book room and a music room. The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection also has various temporary exhibits throughout the year, and it is used as a lecture venue.
5. Visit Dumbarton House
Built in 1800, Dumbarton House is a Federal-style stately home set in 1.5-acres of landscaped gardens and terraces. Inside the house, there are many fascinating collections to see, including paintings, silver, ceramics, and furnishings. There is also a collection of documents that pertain to around 300 years of history in the local area as well as the history of the house. Outside, there is a pretty herb garden to visit that has more than 40 herb plants.
4. Go Shopping on Cady’s Alley
One of Georgetown’s trendiest locations is Cady’s Alley, which is home to various retail outlets selling hip apparel and brand-name fashion. It is the ideal place to visit for those who enjoy a little retail therapy during their vacation. The design of the buildings and the courtyard reflects the trendy vibe of the alley. Another part of the neighborhood for shopping enthusiasts to visit is Book Hill, which is an upscale shopping district that has many independent and boutique shops. It is also known for its antique stores and art galleries.
3. Walk the Capital Crescent Trail
Many people enjoy spending time outdoors during their vacation, even when they are visiting an urban setting. If this applies to you, then one of the best ways to do this is to walk the Capital Crescent Trail. It is a paved, urban trail that is used for both walking and biking. The trail runs for 11 miles along what was once the B & O Railroad. Although most of the trail covers even ground, there are two tunnels and seven bridges along the way. The trail is undergoing continuous improvement, including widening some sections of the trail and adding amenities such as kiosks, benches, and water fountains.
2. Take a Stroll Along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
The creation of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal began in 1828, and President John Quincy Adams with the first to dig. Originally, the canal was intended for use as a trade route, but it became obsolete when railroads became a faster and more convenient option. Now, the canal side is a pleasant place to take a walk through the area and see some of the nearby landmarks. There are future plans for the canal to undergo a complete renovation that will include building a sustainable urban park, and there are plans to offer canal boat rides.
1. Spend Time at Georgetown Waterfront Park
According to Vacation Idea, one of the best things to do in Georgetown for first-timers is to spend time at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. The park runs alongside the Potomac River, and it links 225 miles of parkland. An appealing feature of this waterfront park is the views of the Potomac River, Key bridge, and Roosevelt Island. Visitors also love the park’s unique design. The centerpiece of the park is an elaborate fountain. It is a pleasant place to enjoy a picnic, sitting either on the river steps or in the steel-cable pavilion. There is also a labyrinth, which is an area that aims to promote quiet contemplation.
Written by Liz Flynn
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