In the Neighborhood: Your ultimate guide to Washington’s Georgetown
Upscale shopping and fine dining meet collegiate, laid-back vibes in one of the nation's capital’s most beautiful and historical neighborhoods.
By Cassandra Brooklyn | June 22, 2023
Out-of-towners may know Georgetown for being the home of one of the country’s most prestigious universities, but even a quick visit to this historical neighborhood in the nation's capital will reveal its charm, depth and diversity.
Georgetown is an upscale neighborhood with plenty of high-end restaurants and wine bars, but you’ll also find your fair share of casual eateries too. The area’s wide array of pubs, college bars, pizzerias and cupcake shops are popular with the university crowd. Consider:
- Yellow: Run by a talented Palestinian chef, this restaurant is the place for Levantine cuisine. Start with the barbecued harissa cauliflower, crispy falafel and the smoothest hummus you’ve ever had. Save room for dessert — their seasonal soft serve with flavors like apple cider labneh and tahini rhubarb won’t disappoint!
- Boulangerie Christophe and Baked & Wired: You’ll find craveable cupcakes, beautiful baguettes and perfect pastries galore.
- L’Avant-Garde or 1789: Ideal for classic cocktails, sophisticated surroundings and fine dining. Though fair warning, both require reservations for a reason.
Georgetown resembles a classic Colonial town with cobblestone streets lined with brightly colored townhouses alongside elegant brick mansions. Spend the day strolling the area, admiring rose-covered trellises and ivy-coated walkways or head to the lively riverfront for more outdoorsy action. Discover:
- Georgetown Waterfront Park: The perfect place for walking, biking and lounging — dine at one of the park’s seafood restaurants or grab a drink and watch local university crew teams training on the Potomac River.
- C&O Canal: Take a one-hour heritage canal boat ride along the serene waters, hop into a kayak or paddleboard out from the Key Bridge Boathouse to enjoy views from the river.
- "Exorcist Steps" : Make your way to this popular neighborhood sight where you can work up a sweat with locals who climb the seriously steep stairs made famous by a 1973 horror film.
Georgetown has two main shopping thoroughfares, Wisconsin Avenue and M Street Northwest, both of which offer an enviable combination of quirky independent shops, international boutiques, global fashion brands and everything in between. Don’t miss:
- Cady’s Alley: Part of Georgetown’s Design District, this one-stop shopping destination offers high-end furniture, home decor and all things fabulous.
- Nisolo: Browse the sustainable shoe company, alongside Austrian luxury apparel and lingerie brand, Wolford and Parisian luxury candle and perfumery, Diptyque.
- The Lantern: Shop rare and used books at this bookshop, which is a treasure-trove of paperbacks, hardcovers, postcards, maps and vinyls. You'll feel good with your purchase knowing the shop raises money to send students to the all-women's Bryn Mawr College.
Between its eclectic eateries, top-notch shopping and dazzling riverfront views, Georgetown is a destination you won’t want to miss. Pound the cobblestone streets or pick up a pedal-powered bicycle to explore every nook and cranny of this tree-lined and truly tremendous neighborhood.
Cassandra Brooklyn is a freelance writer specializing in travel, culture, and all things outdoors. She's the author of the cycling guidebook, Cuba By Bike, and has bylines in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Forbes, The Daily Beast and Lonely Planet, among others.