Planning a trip and need to find all the best things to do in Georgetown? You have come to the right place! Georgetown is a historic district of Washington D.C. and is full of hidden gems to explore. You can plan a visit any time of the year, and Christmas is one of the most magical.
Georgetown was originally built as a port town and was an important part of the shipbuilding history in America. Over the years Georgetown has evolved from its roots and is now one of the most popular and trendy neighborhoods in Northern VA, but still has been able to keep the historic charm.
There are so many fashionable shops, tasty restaurants, beautiful parks, historic homes to discover, and trendy boutique hotels to stay at.
Planning your trip to Washington DC last minute?
Hotels and tours sell out fast! Make sure to book in advance to ensure availability. Here are our top picks for Washington DC:
Top Experiences And Tours To Book In Advance:
- Monuments By Moonlight Tour (Our pick!)
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (Easy to get around)
- Gourmet Dining Cruise (Can choose brunch or dinner)
- Capital Wheel Entry Ticket (Save time in line)
Best Places To Stay In Washington DC:
- The Architect (Our choice for location)
- Citizen M Washington DC Capitol (Hip and modern)
- Glover Park Hotel Georgetown (four stars)
- Hotel Washington (Panoramic views!)
Like most of Washington D.C., Georgetown is very walkable and easy to get navigate. As well as being great exercise, walking will help you to see more of the cobblestone streets and really experience it like a local.
If you are not able to walk or do not have time, you can utilize the public transport system. Bus fare is cheap and there are plenty of stops around Georgetown. Another option is to rent a bicycle or grab a scooter off the street!
Now let’s look at some of the best attractions in Georgetown D.C. in more detail! This is truly one of the best places to stay in Washington DC!
15 Best Things To Do In Georgetown D.C. You Shouldn’t Miss
Go on a Spooky Walking Tour
Like any other deeply historic place in America, Georgetown has its fair share of ghostly activities. From haunted houses, churches, cemeteries, and railroad tracks, it is hard to avoid a chill going down your spine.
If you looking for what to do in Georgetown and are interested in paranormal activities or a cool spin on historic stories, you have to try a spooky walking tour of Georgetown. You will gain a whole new perspective on the historic streets as an informative guide leads you to many of the district’s most haunted places.
Book Here: Georgetown: Ghost Story Walking Tour
Take a Tasty Food Tour
Foodies will want to take a food tour while in Georgetown because there are so many yummy restaurants and cafes in Georgetown to taste test. This walking food tour is a great way to see the city as you learn about the history and food scene all while enjoying delicious food.
This tour hits up some of the most iconic eateries in lively neighborhoods. Including the James Beard nominee’s tarts near the canals and the delicious VPN-style pizza is always a crowd favorite.
Make sure you bring an appetite and a camera to capture the scenic streets. This is truly one of the best things to do in Washington DC at night!
Book Here: Taste of Georgetown Walking Food Tour
Visit the Dumbarton Oaks Museum
The Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is one of the best places to visit in Georgetown for anyone interested in history, art, or architecture. The library is open to any researchers who wish to expand their knowledge or if you wanted to just pop in to see the architecture.
The museum holds a world-class collection of art that includes Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art. There is also a Renaissance-inspired music room and a rare book gallery.
While you are there you can enjoy a tour the museum and gardens. The gardens are filled with over fifty acres of landscaped beauty. This is a wonderful place for a photoshoot among flowering trees or admiring contemporary art installations mixed among the plants. Be sure to add this as a quick stop on your things to do in Georgetown DC list.
Marvel at the Tudor Place Historic House
Another of the best things to do in Georgetown for architecture lovers is visit Tudor Place. This pretty, neoclassical mansion is a beautiful sight on a five-and-a-half-acre estate.
The historic property was built in 1816 and was the home of Martha Washington’s Granddaughter. The inside holds over eighteen thousand decorative objects and furnishings. This is where you will find the second-largest Washington collection, the first being at Mount Vernon.
The garden is a beautiful place to walk as well, especially in spring when there are flowers blooming around every corner. The most common flowers are different color roses, peonies, and big blooming hydrangeas. Tudor Place is such a peaceful area that will make you forget you are in the middle of Georgetown DC.
Walk Around Georgetown Campus
You can’t go to Georgetown without visiting the campus of the famous university. As well as being one of the oldest colleges in the U.S., Georgetown is also regarded as one of the best. It dates back to 1789 and is a staple in Washington D.C.
The campus is beautiful and the architecture is amazing. The school overlooks the Potomac River so get ready for some awesome views.
Healy Hall is one of the most popular places to visit on campus. This building sticks out because of its distinctive Flemish Romanesque style and the inside is just as beautiful as the outside.
Interestingly, it was designed by the same architects who designed the Library of Congress. It is named after the college’s first president of African-American descent, Patrick Francis Healy. Touring here would be one of the best things to do in Georgetown with kids who are getting ready for college!
See the Exorcist Steps
Film buffs will want to see the famous Exorcist Steps in Georgetown. This innocent-looking staircase was a filming location for the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist in the dramatic chase scene. If you dare to claim the stairs, you will see the epic house in the movie as well.
The steps were iconic before the filming because they connect two important areas, Prospect Street and Canal Road. The views from the top give you a unique view of the city. Be sure to take a few minutes to take it all in!
There are 97 steps in total and they are pretty steep so be careful if you are visiting at night. Just be sure not to trespass, since it is a private residence. Many people climb the stairs on their daily exercise route, so you will be okay, just be respectful.
Stroll Along the Georgetown Waterfront Park
The Georgetown Waterfront Park on the Potomac River offers amazing views of Roosevelt Island and picturesque bridges. This ten-acre park is a great place for a romantic stroll or an adventure with your kids.
Speaking of kids, they will have a blast splashing in the refreshing fountain or twisting their way through the labyrinth path. The path creates a scenic nature walk and there are beautiful, native plants and rain gardens.
Pack yourself a picnic on the popular river steps to watch ducks swim in the water or boats cruise by. You might even be able to watch rowers practice for the Olympics. If you are looking for fun things to do in Georgetown, the Waterfront Park is a perfect place to start.
Stroll the Cute Streets and Canal
It is hard to say what the best street in Georgetown is, but almost everyone can agree that the best street in Georgetown to start at is N Street. This is because N Street known for the historic townhouses. Most were built back in the late 18th century and they are always the most sought-after real estate in the city.
There are also many homes of famous people found living here. Along with many politicians, these buildings have also been to A-listers like Julia Child, Elizabeth Taylor, and Alexander Graham Bell.
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or C & O Canal, is also one of the best streets in Georgetown. Construction of the canal began in 1828. While it was once important for transportation, it is now a scenic place to walk, bike, or boat. Walking around the city may seem like a waste of time, but it is actually one of the best activities in Georgetown.
Take a Photo in Front of Call Your Mother
Call Your Mother is a super cute deli that specializes in tasty bagel sandwiches. This eatery is one of the best Instagram spots in Georgetown, and you simply must come to take a photo here.
Found on the corner of O and 35th Street, this shop stands out among the other cute buildings because of its bright pink color and light, green trimming. The doorway is covered in flowers, only adding to the beauty.
Snap a few photos and grab a bagel to go. It is just a few blocks from Georgetown University so you can eat as you walk to the campus.
Visit the Francis Scott Key Memorial
The Francis Scott Key Memorial is near the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the C & O Canal. Scott Key is most famous for writing the U.S. national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”. He was also the fourth United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The bust of Key sits in a small park next to a pergola covered in wisteria. The park also features an American flag that is a replica of the one that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
If you want to see the actual, preserved flag, you can head to the National Mall and visit the Smithsonian Museum of American History where they have the Star-Spangled Banner on display. This is a simple stop along your tour of the best things to do in Georgetown, but definitely still worth a visit.
Eat at Fiola Mare
If you are looking for some of the best places to eat in Georgetown, you should reserve a table at Fiola Mare. This classic restaurant is found on the riverfront. It is near the ferry terminal, so grab a table on the patio to watch the boats and people roll by.
As an Italian restaurant specializing in seafood, you are in for a delicious meal. Fiola Mare is open every day of the week, starting at 11:30 for lunch. Except for Mondays when they open at 4 for dinner service.
Some of the most popular meals include delicacies such as caviar, oysters, and prawns. For pasta try their ravioli dish or the homemade red sauce. There is also a wine list inspired by the Italian coast, ask your server to help pair it with your meal! Don’t forget to save room for dessert, too the chocolate cake is to die for!
Step Back in History at Old Stone House
The Old Stone House on M Street is the oldest building in Washington D.C. that is still on its original foundation. You can’t really get more historic than that. The home was built in 1765, so this unassuming stone building is even older than the United States.
If you want to step back in time, you can do a self-guided tour of the property. Each room is furnished accurately to represent the colonial era.
This is one of the best free things to do in Georgetown for all ages. Also noteworthy there has been a shop in this spot since the 1800s, and today you can purchase souvenirs at the gift shop just as they did way back in the day.
Buy Locally in Historic Shopping Districts
There are many historic places to shop in Georgetown. Whether you buy anything or simply window shop, you will have a great time soaking in the lively atmosphere. Most of the buildings have exposed brick, lofted ceilings, and cool design elements. The shops are just as beautiful to see as the clothing they sell.
Keep your eyes peeled for Cady’s Alley. This super trendy fashionable store will have a little something for everyone’s style. When you need a break there is a courtyard and alleys where shoppers can take a load off.
Another popular spot to shop is The Book Hill shopping district. Which is named after the nearby Book Hill Park. This area has many independent stores that sell things like clothes, home goods, antiques, and art. Even celebrities have been spotted shopping here, so you know it is one of the best things to do in Georgetown!
Walk in JFK’s Footsteps
If you are a fan of the Kennedys, then you will be happy to learn that John and Jackie have quite a history in Georgetown. You can tour places in the area where this beloved couple lived and worked on a self-guided walking tour.
A quick Google search will bring up all the addresses you need to see. Make sure to only admire the homes from the sidewalk and respect the owners.
Along with places where they lived or JFK worked on his presidential campaign, you can also see more personal locations. They attended services at the Holy Trinity Church. JFK proposed to Jackie at Martin’s Tavern. If you eat there, you can dine in the “Proposal Booth.” How cool is that?!
Hear Some Jazz at Blues Alley
Music lovers will find that listening to jazz at Blues Alley is one of the best things to do in Georgetown at night. This iconic, jazz club was founded in 1965 and has hosted many famous musicians.
Eat a delicious Southern meal like blackened catfish or jambalaya as you enjoy live jazz music. The club is hidden down a little alley right around the corner from the C & O Canal.
This is one of the best things to do for adults in Georgetown as well since you get dinner and a show. After supporting the historic business, go for a moonlit stroll along the canal to end your romantic night in Georgetown right!
Watch a Performance at the Gaston Hall
One of the best Georgetown DC activities can be found on the GU campus at Gaston Hall. This beautiful auditorium was originally built by Francis Healy and was molded after the 16th century Gesu in Rome with gothic features.
The hall is multi-purpose and regularly hosts concerts, lectures, and theatrical performances. Be sure to check out their local website to see what is going on when you are visiting DC! If nothing interesting is happening, you can do a self-guided tour to check out this beautiful and historic music hall.
Take a Boat Tour of the Potomac River
One of the best ways to see the best attractions in Georgetown DC is from the water. You can take your pick between paddle boats, electric boats, or the traditional river boat. These tours are available all season long but peak season is during the warmer months of the year.
The most common boat tour will take you to see famous landmarks like the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. Some season options available are a cruise to see the blooming cherry blossoms, a sunset cruise, or a booze brunch cruise. With so many options this is one of the best things to do in Georgetown any time of the year!
There is no excuse not to enjoy some of the best things to do in Georgetown, most are simple to navigate and won’t break the bank.
There are so many things to do in Georgetown for adults and kids alike. This can be a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation. No matter what, you will make great memories!
With so many historic buildings, informative museums, pretty parks, and yummy restaurants, you could easily spend a few days here exploring. Do not forget to add Georgetown to your Washington D.C. itinerary.