Oh, Georgetown—be still my beating heart! If there’s one neighborhood that never fails to disappoint, it’s this idyllic, historic corner of Washington D.C. You may know it because of Georgetown University or maybe the famous shopping row, M Street. But those small snapshots only tell a partial story of a neighborhood older than Washington D.C. itself.
Georgetown is an expensive neighborhood—to both live in and enjoy—but when given the chance, I recommend it over and over again. A nexus of both southern prep and east coast sensibilities, the neighborhood has been home to some famous individuals like Thomas Jefferson, Julia Child, and the Kennedys. You could be next!
So close your eyes and imagine yourself in this savvy, classic neighborhood. Need help? Keep reading!
Image: Jacey Duprie, Damsel in Dior
Mornings can be busy, but you’ll want to take your time getting ready. While Georgetown is an active neighborhood, this isn’t the type of place where athletic attire can pass for “athleisure” if you’re past the college years. After working out or dropping off the kids at school, you’ll want to shower and change into casual, but polished clothes before heading out the door for the day.
Whether or not you have kids, you’ll need to budget plenty of time for getting around the neighborhood in the morning. While it’s hard to imagine Georgetown having any flaws, the traffic in here is terrible. There is no Metro line, so Georgetown is only accessible via car or the DC circulator bus.
As for schools— Washington’s public schools are notoriously subpar, but Georgetown’s schools arethe exception. Still, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with children who don’t either attend a religiously affiliated private school (likeGeorgetown Visitation Preparatory School, the gorgeous all-girls Catholic high school located next to the university on 35th St.) or a magnet school (like the exclusiveDuke Ellington School of the Arts also located on 35th St.). If you’re looking to get into some of the more exclusive schools in the greater metro area, like Presidential favoriteSidwell Friends, just know these schools require an extensive application process, complete with interviews and waitlists.
Image: Georgetown Cupcake
Unless you’re in the mood to do some serious shopping, you’ll most likely be avoiding the busy thoroughfare of M Street or Wisconsin Avenue. These streets are quintessential Georgetown and thus, usually filled to the brim with a mix of tourists and college students. (That being said, when you want to pick up a few things, head straight toKit and Ace,Tuckernuck, and thePhoenix while making sure to stop for a cupcake at the world-famousGeorgetown Cupcake—there’s a good reason these streets are so popular!)
Instead, spend a free afternoon with or without the kids leisurely strolling the neighborhood’s historic row homes. It’s always a good day when you end up atDumbarton Oaks, a historic estate with beautiful gardens. It costs about $10 in the regular season (March to October) to visit, but you’ll be there enough that I’d recommend acquiring a season pass. And you certainly won’t be alone. Georgetown is home to a generous mix of working professionals and stay-at-home parents/entrepreneurs with flexible schedules. No matter where you go, you’re bound to see people walking dogs, jogging, biking, or shopping.
If you’re looking to get your heart rate up, Georgetown has a plethora of boutique fitness studios like Soul Cycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Barre3. While studio classes are extremely popular, the neighborhood is also extremely bike, running, and rowing friendly.
Images: Fiola Mare
Georgetown really is a city in its own right and the evening is the perfect time to experience it. For a luxe dinner, head to the jacket-required1789 Restaurant or the equally fantastic seafood restaurantFiola Mare. Looking for something more casual? Head to the same location as 1789, but take the stairs down to the basement to the unofficial bar of Georgetown University, The Tombs (or just Tombs as the locals call it). Of course, these are just suggestions—there are plenty of options to choose from! (And, if you’re looking to explore, you’re only a 15 drive into the rest of Washington D.C.).
Image: Stock photo
However you decide to spend your day, make sure to take advantage of Georgetown’s bustling waterfront. The waterfront, which lines the Potomac River and backs up to the C&O Canal, boasts dozens of bars, restaurants, dessert shoppes, and even a state park. The waterfront is truly an all day or any day locale. In the summertime (July to August), the Waterfront Park hosts the Georgetown Sunset Cinema, a free movie series. In the Winter (November to March), the nearby Washington Harbour’s dancing fountain transforms into an ice skating rink.
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