Happy Wednesday, friends!
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to best share all of my DC knowledge with you on the blog, and when I thought about how many favorite places, things to do, and restaurants I want to share, I realized it would be too much for a singular post. So, I thought I’d break things down into neighborhood guides to make things more manageable. And, hopefully, this is a more useful way for you to search my recommendations whether you’re local and looking for something new or planning a trip to DC and need specific advice about a particular neighborhood in the city.
I wanted to kick things off with Georgetown since it’s a neighborhood I’ve spent a lot of time in, and it’s also one of DC’s most popular spots, so if you’re coming into town, it’s likely on your list. I’ve been coming to Georgetown since high school, and due to its proximity to Arlington as compared to some of DC’s other neighborhoods, have also spent a lot of time here as an adult.
(A few of you may also know I graduated from Georgetown—Hoya Saxa! My classes were actually held at their Chinatown location, so besides an occasional group project at the library, I didn’t spend a ton of time on their main campus during grad school.)
I’ll be sure to add to this post over time as I discover new Georgetown gems—and if you’re local and I’ve forgotten any of your favorite places, let me know in the comments below and I’ll add them in!
HOW TO GET THERE /
Georgetown can be hard to get to depending on where you’re coming from since it is not serviced by a Metro.Coming from Arlington, where I live, it’s actually pretty easy to walk across the Key Bridge from Rosslyn right onto M Street, one of the main thoroughfares in Georgetown. It’s also a relatively short 15-minute walk from the Foggy Bottom Metro. Of course, there’s always Uber or the bus—WMATA has a helpful planner to get you from point A to point B that will tell you which bus line would be best for your trip. Regardless of how you arrive, I promise it’ll be worth it!
WHERE TO EAT /
If you come to Georgetown, definitely come hungry! The food options here are amazing. To help you better plan your trip, I’ve sorted my recommendations by which meal I prefer at each establishment—but of course, many of them serve up brunch, lunch, and dinner!
FOR A QUICK BITE //
- Chaia—if you love tacos, you’ll love Chaia. This farm-to-table shop is so cute, and the tacos are small enough that you can easily eat a few and try several different kinds.
- South Block Juice Co—a local juicery, South Block has great smoothies and acai bowls, and is conveniently located right near Soul Cycle so you can get a post-workout treat. I’m a huge fan of their Super Green smoothie—it’s almost as good as candy.
- Good Stuff Eatery—if you’re a burger and fries kind of gal, Good Stuff needs to be a stop on your Georgetown tour. And definitely splurge on one of their hand-spun milkshakes because they are so good.
- sweetgreen—my favorite salad shop in DC, the original one is in Georgetown! This is a great place to get in a healthy meal if you’re here on vacation and need some greens in your life. I usually make my own salad and would highly recommend the cucumber tahini dressing.
- Dean & Deluca—this is a chain, but I am obsessed with Dean & Deluca, so I wanted to call it out. It’s the cutest market, which has all sorts of prepared foods, pastries, and coffee. They also have a large outdoor patio, so it’s the perfect place for an afternoon snack.
- Blue Bottle Cafe—a great coffee shop if you need an afternoon pick-me-up. They also have delicious pastries and really good lemonade—I know from experience because I actually don’t drink coffee ;].
- Georgetown Cupcake—made even more famous by the TLC show, Georgetown Cupcake is an institution. I really do like their cupcakes, but there is always a line outside their shop. It does move fast if you’re willing to wait it out, but they also have an online store and ship within the US, so you could treat yourself that way, too.
- Baked & Wired—if you’re on the cupcake tour of DC, definitely stop by Baked & Wired. In addition to their famed cupcakes, they also have a range of other baked goodies and coffee. Unsurprisingly, there is always a line here, too!
- Bluestone Lane—an Australian-stlye coffee shop, the Georgetown location is their second cafe in DC and it shares a storefront with The Frye Company. There’s also one nearby in the West End, and that one is even more Instagrammable!
FOR BRUNCH //
- Sequoia—this is a beautiful restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Potomac River. They have an amazing weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with an all-you-can-eat buffet and bottomless cocktails. It’s definitely on the pricier side, but would be so fun for a special occasion.
- Farmers Fishers Bakers—perhaps one of my favorite brunches in the city, Farmers Fishers Bakers is located right next to Sequoia in the Washington Harbour complex. They have a buffet that has all sorts of breakfast and lunch foods, so it’s a great way to scope out what you might like from their menu if you were to go back for a traditional lunch or dinner service. Heads up, there’s no bottomless cocktail deal, so this might be a better hangover cure place.
- Malmaison—primarily used as an event space at night, Malmaison has a grab-and-go cafe and a full-service brunch on weekends with a $22 bottomless mimosa deal. It’s situated in a converted warehouse, and the decor is so cute.
- El Centro—one of my favorite Mexican joints in the city also has a great bottomless food and drink brunch deal for just $35. Their cocktail selection in that deal is wider than at most places, and they have some great breakfast tacos. Definitely save room for the churros!
- Kafe Leopold—located in Cady’s Alley, which is between 33rd and 34th Street, Kafe Leopold has the cutest patio and offers all sorts of European fare like schnitzel, bratwurst, and more. They also have a great dessert selection, so save room!
- Peacock Cafe—this cute white tablecloth restaurant has all sorts of delicious American food. I love the ambiance—and it seems a lot of other people do because this place is always packed on the weekends! I would definitely recommend grabbing a reservation.
FOR DINNER //
- Fiola Mare—one of the best meals I’ve ever had was a work lunch at Fiola Mare. I still dream about their lobster ravioli! If you’re looking to have a splurge dinner or a place to celebrate a special occasion, I can’t recommend this place enough. My best friend went here two summers ago after she got engaged and said they treated them like a queen and king!
- Chez Billy Sud—I went to this place on the recommendation of my coworker, who has amazing taste and lived in Georgetown. It did not disappoint! Chez Billy Sud is a French restaurant that would be a perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or just treat yourself with the gals. I had the mussels dijonnaise and would highly recommend!
- Clyde’s—Clyde’s is an establishment! Classic American fare, everyone can easily find something to eat here. And, it’s definitely family-friendly if you’re traveling with youngsters. I love the Georgetown one, but grew up going to the one out in Reston Town Center. They also do a great Thanksgiving dinner if you find yourself in town for the holiday.
- Los Cuates—this is your classic, no-frills Mexican restaurant, but the food is really good and the margaritas are strong!
- Pizza Paradiso—if you love pizza crust, you’ll love Pizza Paradiso! The actual pizza is delicious, too ;]. This is a causal, sit down pizza joint that would be a great place to grab a beer and catch up with friends.
WHERE TO DRINK /
While I don’t spend many a night in Georgetown anymore, there are definitely some great watering holes in the neighborhood! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Martin’s Tavern—this place can be a little touristy, but I absolutely love it because it’s where JFK proposed to Jackie. They have a plaque commemorating the exact booth!
- The Sovereign—a great Belgian bar with a ton of beers on draft. If their upstairs bar is too loud, definitely go downstairs where it’s more of a cocktail-lounge vibe.
- Nick’s Riverside Grill—a fun place to drink at the Washington Harbor right on the Potomac River, my coworkers and I love to come down here on the first warm day of spring! Because of it’s prime location, cocktails are on the pricier side, but I think it’s worth it!
- Eno Wine Bar—I’ve ended up here with my blogger friends more times than I can count! This is the wine bar at the Four Seasons, and despite that, it can be a relatively affordable place to grab a few glasses of wine with your girlfriends.
- The Tombs—if you want to go to a classic Georgetown bar, definitely go to The Tombs. I can’t promise it’ll be an upscale experience, but if you loved your college town bar, you’ll love it.
- Chinese Disco—much like The Tombs, you’ll probably want to have a few pregame beverages before you head into Chinese Disco, which is another Georgetown institution. It’s usually got a live DJ, and is a fun place to go with a group of friends when you want to go “out.”
WHERE TO SHOP /
Georgetown is probably most known for its shopping, so every store you can imagine has an outpost in the neighborhood—LOFT, J Crew, Madewell, Apple, Alice & Olivia, Anthropologie, The Paper Source, AllSaints, Zara, Banana Republic, Barbour, the list goes on. The majority of these shopping stops are on M Street or Wisonsin Avenue, which are the two main thoroughfares in the neighborhood.
Since you definitely don’t need my help popping into your favorite retailers, I wanted to call out a few stores I love in Georgetown that might be new to you if you’re visiting town:
- Tuckernuck—I wish I had a money tree so I could buy everything in Tuckernuck! They curate the cutest clothes and accessories that are timeless, but modern.
- SCOUT Bags—they make the cutest tote bags, lunch coolers, and pool bags in such fun, colorful patterns. Their party coolers are great for toting around wine!
- Ledbury—my friend Laura recently hosted an event at this menswear shop, and I loved it so much I wanted to include it. At Ledbury, they sell hand-made and custom-fitted shirts for men. Their cute storefront on Cady’s Aly is worth popping into to shop for the men in your life.
- Bluemercury—did you know Bluemercury was founded in Georgetown? This is one of my favorite beauty stores and their in-house M-61 line is a staple in my medicine cabinet!
- Rent the Runway—even though I still order most of my rental dresses from RTR online, it is nice to know they have a showroom where I can make an appointment to try on options or pick up my dresses from. I would definitely recommend getting an appointment before you go—and, if you’re in a pinch, they offer same-day rentals.
- Ella-Rue—this is an upscale consignment shop I love popping into when I am in the neighborhood because they have some great deals on designer pieces. It’s definitely still on the expensive side, but can be a fun place to window shop—you never know, you may end up treating yourself!
One other thing to keep an eye out for in the Georgetown shopping scene are all the pop-up stores and markets. Monica first introduced me to the Georgetown French Market, which happens every April, and is a fun sidewalk shop with 40+ retailers. Two of my past favorite pop-ups in Georgetown have been the Birchbox store, which was in residence at Rent the Runway, and the Cuyana pop-up. I will definitely try to share any cool pop ups I hear of here on the blog or over on Twitter.
WHAT TO DO /
If you know me, you know that one of my favorite things in life is to be on the water. That’s why I absolutely love the Washington Harbor complex I’ve mentioned a few times when recommending restaurants. Those establishments are situated in a “U” shape around a large common area. In the winter, they put an ice skating rink in there, and in the summer, it’s a fountain display. Just beyond the complex is a walkable dock that puts you right on the Potomac, with stunning views of the Kennedy Center and Key Bridge alike. It also such a lively place to walk around because people pull their boats right up to the dock!
If you take the dock towards the Key Bridge, you’ll end up at Georgetown Waterfront Park, which is a beautiful grassy stretch right on the water. This is the perfect place for a picnic, and I love grabbing a snack from Dean & Deluca to enjoy here.
Then, if you want to get on the water and not just look at it, I’d recommend renting kayaks or paddle boards from Key Bridge Boathouse right near the Park. They also have classes and guided tours you can take, as well as sunrise paddle board yoga. (I’m not an early riser so I’ve never done it, hah!)
Now, I personally prefer being on the water with a drink in hand, which is why I love the booze cruise options that leave from Georgetown. Some of these cruises can definitely get rowdy—especially on the pirate ship!—but they also offer more family-friendly sails if that’s more your speed. If you’re looking for something a little more informative, but still requires no labor on your part, definitely check out the water taxi that runs from Georgetown to Old Town Alexandria, that will now also take you to National Harbor, where the DC ferris wheel and new MGM casino are.
Besides the water, the other thing I absolutely love about Georgetown are all the beautiful homes. If this is also your thing, I’d highly recommend just walking north from M Street and exploring N, O, and P Streets between 36th and Wisconsin. If you’re a Kennedy fan like me, the family lived at 3307 N Street when JFK was running for President and Jackie bought 3017 N Street after JFK was assassinated. And, If you’re in town for the annual garden tour, I’d highly recommend it. I’ve had the chance to enjoy some private Georgetown gardens, and they are simply stunning. I’m also a big fan of Dumbarton Oaks, which is a historic estate and garden that’s open for tours, varying by season.
As an alum of the school, I am biased, but I think the Georgetown campus is beautiful and definitely worth a 30-minute stroll. I love that even though it’s a city school, it’s still got that true campus feel. They also have a beautiful Sunday Mass at 11am weekly at Dahlgren Chapel—the music is amazing. And, while you’re in the vicinity, you can also see the Exorcist Steps if you so desire.
If you need any specific Georgetown advice, feel free to drop me a note in the comment below or email me at email@example.com. Georgetown is one of my favorite neighborhoods in DC because of its beautiful waterfront and historic homes, and I always love when my weekend adventures take me down there!