A trip to Washington, D.C. could be filled with monuments and museums or you could spend time away from the crowds exploring Georgetown. Founded in 1751, Georgetown is D.C.’s oldest neighborhood.
Today it may be well known as the original Georgetown Cupcake location, home of the Exorcist Stairs, and where gothic style university buildings are where Hoyas come to learn but Georgetown is a neighborhood that has so much more to offer. Among historic brick and frame row houses, cobblestone streets, and grand estates you’ll find Georgetown Suites, a perfect place to stay for a new perspective on our Nation’s Capital.
Living in the Washington, D.C. area, Georgetown has always been a neighborhood where my husband and I have headed for dinner, an afternoon of shopping and people watching with the kids, or has served as a cut through on the way home from Rosslyn. In reality, it’s a charming part of Washington, D.C. that feels a world away from tourists and politics thanks to a vibrant business district, an active residential community, and a popular waterfront with beautiful views.
Georgetown has never been a place we’ve thought to do a weekend getaway or a family staycation until recently when we were guests of Georgetown Suites. This fun long weekend allowed us to experience more of what Georgetown has to offer and why it’s a perfect destination for families who want to stay outside of the city during their DC trip or a relaxing long weekend getaway for couples, especially on the heels of a work trip.
18 Things to Do During Your Stay in Georgetown
Georgetown is both a destination and playground for shopping, dining, history, fitness, and family fun that will make you want to unplug and try new things while enjoying the neighborhood. Here’s an idea of how you can spend your time in Georgetown.
Try Something New
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in Georgetown and why stick to things in your comfort zone? You’re on vacation! Here’s a few of the many thing you can do when in Georgetown.
- Go ice skating — From mid-November to March, The Washington Harbour transforms its fountain into an ice rink with a spectacular view of the Kennedy Center and Potomac River
- Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard — In warm weather months Key Bridge Boathouse and Georgetown Paddle Company can outfit you with equipment that will provide you with a view of Georgetown and DC from the Potomac River
- Take a cooking class to add to your dinner repertoire— If you love to cook and are in need of inspiration or you just want to learn something new, head to Via Umbria for a Pasta & Dessert Cooking Class. During my stay in Georgetown, Via Umbria invited me to make fresh pasta. Even though I love to cook, I’d never attempted fresh pasta but found it was so easy! The best part about the class was getting to eat what we ate afterwards!
- Love bowling? Try bocce!— Tucked back from the street in the heart of Georgetown is Pinstripes, a bistro that features delicious food along with bowling and bocce that’s a fun for the whole family. Pinstripes elevates what you’d normally imagine as bowling alley food thanks to made from scratch Italian cuisine. The expansive menu ensures that everyone in the family will find something they love and generous portions means no one will walk away from the table hungry. Most entrees are even large enough for two adults to share!
- Take advantage of fitness studios in the neighborhood — Whether you’ve always wanted to try an Orange Theory Fitness class (I’m a fan!) or Barre3 class, Georgetown has boutique fitness studios that allow you to keep up with your workout schedule while away from home or try something completely new. I tried a Barre class while staying at Georgetown Suites and while it was outside my comfort zone, I ended up loving the class because it was different from my usual workouts! Many fitness studios offer free trial classes so call ahead to let them know you’re visiting and want to try a class.
Unplug in Favor of Opting Outside
Looking for a good reason to unplug? You’ll find it easy to resist your phone thanks Georgetown’s popular waterfront just steps away from Georgetown Suites. Scenic paths, beautiful views, and the river itself offer a good reason to unplug and opt outside during your visit.
- Rent a bike from Capital Bike Share and bike around the monuments or do a section of the Capital Crescent Trail, one of our favorite biking trails
- Get some vitamin D and people watch at parks like Book Hill or the Georgetown Waterfront
- Wander the C&O Canal National Historical Park — Located right in the middle of Georgetown, the C&O also provides a great opportunity to teach kids a bit of history, science, and engineering
Forgot your workout clothes? Get outfitted at the Athleta and North Face stores on M Street or ask them for more suggestions about things to do in the area.
Absorb the History
Georgetown was established 40 years before Washington as a tobacco port town in Maryland. Two of Washington’s oldest buildings, the City Tavern Club and the Old Stone House (built in 1765) are Georgetown landmarks. This Old Stone House was built using locally available resources and renovated by the National Park Service in the 1950s. Pro tip: National Parks Passport holders will want to bring their books for another stamp!
The neighborhood is famous for its quaint cobblestone streets and 18th and 19th century architecture. It’s also served as home to a long list of famous residents including former U.S. presidents Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy.
Get Baked (Goods)
Not THAT kind of baked but there’s no shortage of bakeries featuring delectable confections that are sure to tempt your sweet tooth. Favorites include:
- Baked & Wired — Homebaked small batched goodness plus coffee? It’s everything you want it to be and more so skip the chain coffee place up the street in favor of this deliciousness when you’re in Georgetown. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
- Ladurée — Right on their home page, Ladurée describes the Ladurée life as “dreams, little pleasures enjoyed here and there, fantasy, rainbows and macarons” and the inside of their shop feels exactly like it sounds.
- Georgetown Cupcake — You may think you’ve lucked out by visiting at a time where a line hasn’t formed at the original Georgetown Cupcake location until you look around the corner! This cupcakery is incredibly popular for their classics, customer favorites, to seasonal flavors. Pro tip: Every day Georgetown Cupcake gives away 100 cupcakes of a secret flavor at each location. While you’re waiting, visit their Facebook page to learn the secret flavor of the day and if you happen to be one of the first 100 to ask for it that day, you’ll be handed a sweet treat for free!
Admire the Architecture
From the Gothic style of Georgetown University’s oldest buildings to grand estates in the neighborhood and row houses on streets leading down to the water, there’s no shortage of eye candy for architecture lovers.
Georgetown is well known for federalist architecture, historic brick and frame row houses, cobblestone streets and grand estates dating back as early as the mid-1700s. While the neighborhood provides plenty of Instagram-worthy photo backdrops, you can also tour historic sites, estates, and gardens and these 4 places are not to miss!
- Dumbarton House — This Georgetown landmark is a Federal period house that has been around for two hundred years. You’ll be treated to household furnishings, art, and décor from the early years of the republic during your visit.
- Tudor Place — Built by Martha Washington’s granddaughter Martha Custis Peter, this 1816 National Historic Landmark estate is home to the extensive Mt. Vernon collection and historic 5½ acre garden where you can explore 180 years of American history.
- Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection — Dumbarton Oaks is the former home of John C. Calhoun, U.S. vice president, and where the United Nations charter was outlined in 1944. The Federal-style house was built in 1801 and features the former owners’ Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art collections, an amazing boasting 10 acres of trees, including Washington’s famed cherry blossoms, as well as flowers, garden furniture and other ornamental garden fixtures, that make you feel a world away from Washington, DC.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
M Street is well known for being home to world class shopping but be sure to check out all the side streets because there’s no shortage of boutiques tucked into the neighborhood.
Where to Stay: Georgetown Suites
To enjoy everything Georgetown has to offer, you’ll want to stay at Georgetown Suites where apartment-style suites feature spacious accommodations for families and couples alike. In this post, I give you 6 Reasons to Stay at Georgetown Suites When Visiting Washington, DC.
- Metro– The Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro station is a short 15-minute walk from Georgetown or you could use the Rosslyn, Virginia station which is a short walk across the Key Bridge to Georgetown. Both Foggy Bottom/GWU and Rosslyn are located on the blue and orange lines. Metro fares depend on the distance traveled and fares are higher during rush hour.
- DC Circulator Bus– Look for the red and yellow-striped DC Circulator bus that links cultural, entertainment and business destinations within the city. The Circulator offers 2 lines in Georgetown: east-west from Georgetown to Union Station via downtown; and from Rosslyn, VA through Georgetown to the Dupont Circle metro. The best part besides the fact that DC Circulator Bus routes run all over town is that a single fare is $1!
- Capital Bikeshare— Biking around DC can be one of the best ways to cover a lot of ground that tends to be exhausting on foot and Capital Bikeshare makes it easy to get around in a fun and affordable way. Single trip rides are $2 each or purchase a 24 hour pass for $8 per person and take as many rides as you want in a day.
- Potomac Riverboat Company— For an alternate and scenic mode of travel, take the Wharf Water Taxi that connects The Wharf with Georgetown. There are six daily departures from Georgetown’s Washington Harbour (31st & K St) and the 25-minute ride provides a unique way to experience DC’s waterfront destinations.
Huge thanks to Georgetown Suites for hosting me and my family for a long weekend. No compensation was received for this post.