Top 10 Things to Do in Georgetown, Washington DC

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    What to See and Do in Georgetown

    A Georgetown, Washington, D.C., street
    ••• Glowimages/Getty Images

    There are a variety of things to see and do in Georgetown, Washington, DC's most historic neighborhood. Lined with cobblestone streets and 18th- and 19th-century architecture, the waterfront town was first established in 1751 and remains as one of the city’s most treasured neighborhoods blending the old and new. Throughout history, Georgetown has served as home to a long list of famous residents including Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, John F. Kennedy, Herman Wouk and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, it is a popular area to visit for both locals and tourists.

    Georgetown is an interesting and fun place to explore. Enjoy the following guide to learn about the top attractions and activities in the area.

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  • 02 of 11

    Take a Sightseeing Tour of the Georgetown Historic District

    The streets of Georgetown in Washington
    ••• Mableen/Getty Images

    Georgetown is most known for its shopping, dining, and nightlife. But the area has a fascinating history. Take a tour of Georgetown, learn about the neighborhood's history and see 18th- and 19th-century homes, the C & O Canal, the prestigious Georgetown University, and more. The following tours are available:

    • Washington Walks. The 2-hour walking tour of Georgetown. Meet at the park located at the intersection of 28th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC.
    • Spies of Georgetown. The 2.5-hour walking tour highlights sites associated with spies. Learn real-life stories that took place in historic Georgetown. Meets on specified days in front of the Georgetown Public Library at the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and R St., NW Washington, DC.
    • Gastronomic Georgetown Food Tour. This 3.5-hour food tour highlights the cuisine of locally owned and operated restaurants and shops in historic Georgetown. Try some Presidential favorite dishes, handcrafted European beverages, high-end...MORE Turkish inspired cuisine, desserts from Georgetown's favorite family run bakery and much more.

    Note, the Historic District covers a wide area, bounded by Reservoir Rd., NW, and Dumbarton Oaks Park on the north; Rock Creek Park on the east; the Potomac River on the south; and Glover-Archbold Parkway on the west.

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  • 03 of 11

    Explore the Historic Canal

    Georgetown C&O Canal
    ••• Georgetown's C&O Canal. Brian Keith Lorraine/Getty Images

    As you take a walk along the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, stop by the Georgetown Visitor Center and learn about the history of commerce and transportation in Washington, DC. Park rangers will transport you back in time to the 1870s and tell you about the lock system and life during the early years of the capital city.

    The C & O Canal is a national historic park that runs 184.5 miles along the north bank of the Potomac River, starting in Georgetown and ending in Cumberland, Maryland. Read more about exploring the C & O Canal.

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  • 04 of 11

    Eat and Drink

    dining-group.jpg
    ••• Photo © Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

    Georgetown is known as one of DC’s best destinations for dining and nightlife. Restaurants range from fine dining to casual eateries serving cuisine from all over the world. See a guide to Georgetown's Best Restaurants.

    During the warmer months of the year, restaurants on the Georgetown Waterfront are very popular and offer outdoor seating with great views of the Potomac River. You’ll find everything from singles hotspots to romantic wine bars to lively collegiate gathering places. See a guide to Georgetown Bars and Nightlife.

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  • 05 of 11

    Shopping

    A street corner in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
    ••• Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Georgetown is a popular Washington, DC neighborhood for shopping, ​dining, and nightlife. This shopping mecca appeals to the younger crowd but also has plenty of boutiques and antique stores for all ages. Most of the shops in Georgetown are centered along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

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  • 06 of 11

    Tour Georgetown's Historic House Museums and Gardens

    The gardens at Tudor Place
    ••• The gardens at Tudor Place. Robert Lyle Bolton/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Georgetown is one of the oldest neighborhoods in DC and has many interesting historic homes. A few of them are museums open to the public for tours.

    • Old Stone House, built in 1765, is the oldest known private home in Washington, DC.
    • Dumbarton House is owned by The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and showcases colonial period furnishings.
    • Tudor Place Historic House and Garden is a National Historic Landmark that was originally owned by Martha Custis Peter, the granddaughter of Martha Washington.
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  • 07 of 11

    Explore the Georgetown Waterfront

    ••• © Rachel Cooper

    The Georgetown Waterfront has been recently redeveloped with the addition of Georgetown Waterfront Park, a peaceful place to relax and enjoy shade, flowering trees, and a view of the Potomac River. The walking paths are a nice place to take a stroll.

    The restaurants on the Georgetown Waterfront are popular places to enjoy dining outdoors during the summer months.

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  • 08 of 11

    Take a Sightseeing Cruise

    Nightingale, on the Potomac River.
    ••• Rachel Cooper

    Capitol River Cruises offers a 45-minute historical narrative sightseeing tour of Washington, DC aboard a small river boat, the Nightingale and Nightingale II Tour Boats. This is a fun and family-friendly way to see the spectacular views of Washington, DC from the Potomac River. Read more about Capitol River Cruises.

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    Kayak on the Potomac River

    Kayakers on the Potomac River.
    ••• Kayakers on the Potomac River. Potomac Conservancy/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Local sports outfitters and paddling organizations offer kayaking lessons and rentals. Georgetown is a great destination to enjoy a few hours on the river. In recent years, standup paddleboarding has become popular as well. Read more about kayaking in DC.

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  • 10 of 11

    Bicycling

    ••• © Getty Images

    The Capital Crescent Trail is a beautiful 13-mile bike trail that begins in Georgetown and extends to Silver Spring, Maryland. Bike rentals are available through several vendors around the Washington DC area. Bicycling has gotten very popular in the capital region in recent years. For information about bike trails, bike tours, rentals and more, see  A Guide to Bicycling in DC.

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  • 11 of 11

    Ice Skating

    Ice Skating Georgetown
    ••• Ice Skating Georgetown. Photo by Daniel Lobo

    The Ice Rink at Washington Harbour, located on the Georgetown waterfront, is 11,800 square feet and is the largest outdoor rink in the DC area. The skating season is November through February. Skating lessons are available and the rink can accommodate parties and special events. Read more about Outdoor Ice Skating in the DC Area.