Cost: To wander? Free. To attend school? A lot more.
Hours: Campus grounds are generally open.
Fun Fact: Georgetown’s school colors are Blue for Union uniforms and Grey for the Confederate uniforms, adopted by the rowing team in solidarity with all the student and faculty veterans returning after the Civil War.
4. House Hunting
It’s like window shopping for reality!
The cobblestone streets with historic row houses of all shapes and sizes with stunning gardens tucked away, this is a great neighborhood just to wander.
You can walk a few blocks and see a variety of architecture.
If you’re looking for the cobblestone streets, those can be found on O and P Streets NW on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue.
5. Exorcist Steps
If you’ve seen the 1970s film, The Exorcist, then these steps may look familiar.
They’ve always been an eerie part of town and were known as the Hitchcock Steps before the movie was filmed here in Georgetown.
The Exorcist House, where the young possessed girl lived, is just to the right of the stairs. It was movie magic that put the two immediately next to each other.
In reality, there is a small yard and a driveway.
Location: 3600 Prospect St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Cost: Just your soul…
Hours: Whenever you dare.
Fun Fact: It’s not actually haunted. But it is creepy – especially knowing that the movie was based on a true story.
This estate sprawls through the north of Georgetown with its magnificent architecture and garden.
Once the home to the Calhoun family amongst other early owners, it was last privately owned by Robert and Mildred Bliss.
They donated both the property and their large pre-Columbian and Byzantine art collection to Harvard University, which runs it today as a research center.
The Bliss’ art collection and a museum are open to the public, as is it’s renowned garden (ranked 6th in the world by National Geographic).
The Washington Conversations were held here in 1944 when the United Kingdom, Soviet Union, China, and the United States all joined together to discuss an international peacekeeping and security forces.
It’s also known as the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, which would lead to the signing of the United Nations Charter.
Location: 3120 R Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20007
Cost: Museum: Free
Garden: $5-8 (March 15 through October 31)/ Free (November 1 through March 14)
Hours: Museum: 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed on Mondays and most Federal Holidays
Garden: 2 pm – 6 pm (March 15 through October 31)/ 2 pm – 5 pm (November 1 through March 14)
Another Federal-style home, the residents of this house have always been interested in preserving the history of the house and family.
Descendants of Martha Washington and relatives of Robert E. Lee, the Peter family that lived here documented family heirlooms and architectural details of the house.
Inside you can see George Washington’s Revolutionary War camp stool, the family office from the 1920s with added electricity in a unique place to protect the historic floorboards, and a closet full of clothes from the 1960s.
Location: 1644 31st Street NW Washington, DC 20007
Cost: $3-$10 Garden Tours: $3
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 am – 4 pm / Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm. Closed on Mondays, Federal Holidays, and the entire month of January!
Fun Fact: Tudor Place has only been owned by one family – the Peter Family, from 1806-1983.
The district of Georgetown is located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, DC, with its easternmost border approximately 1 mile northwest of the White House.
Georgetown has a reputation for being difficult to get to, but with a little know-how – it is very accessible!
Trolley/Hop-On-Off Bus Tours
Many of the city’s trolley and bus tours drive through Georgetown, with a few select locations to hop on/off. Click here to compare the different options.
By Metro (subway):
Technically, there is no Metro station in Georgetown, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t Metro accessible.
How long and what route you will take really depends on where you’re going in Georgetown. The maps below show the biggest intersection and center of the shopping district at Wisconsin and M Street NW.
If you’re headed towards the Waterfront, Foggy Bottom will be closer and a shorter walk.
Making your way to Georgetown University, then Rosslyn is a better option.
The main strip of Georgetown, M Street NW, is about 20-minute walk from Foggy Bottom/GWU stop on the Blue/Orange/Silver lines.
As you exit the Metro, turn left and walk one block up the hill to Washington Circle, follow the Circle left to Penn Ave NW and that will eventually become M Street NW after you cross over Rock Creek Parkway.
If you’re trying to get to the western side of Georgetown, you can also walk from the Metro’s Rosslyn station on the Blue/Orange/Silver lines.
When you exit the station, head north (right if you’re exiting on to Fort Myer Drive and left if you’re on Moore St) to cross the Key Bridge. The bridge dead-ends on the far western part of M St NW.
There are many bus routes that service Georgetown, both down M St NW and northern areas of the neighborhood. Any of these routes will get you to Georgetown: 31, 32, 36, 38B, D1, D2, D5, D6, and G2.
Visit the Trip Planner at WMATA to get specific directions from your location.
The Circulator is only $1 ride or accepts SmarTrip cards. The Dupont-Georgetown-Rosslyn line runs from the Dupont Circle to the Rosslyn metro station, with stops along M Street.
The Union Station-Georgetown line runs from Union Station to Georgetown via K Street and back to Union Station with stops on M Street traveling eastbound. These buses are distinctive red and black buses with similar looking signs at the bus stops.
Parking in Georgetown
Like many busy parts of the cities, parking in Georgetown can be difficult!
There is street parking throughout the neighborhood. Street parking is $2/hr Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays and holidays do not have parking enforcement.
When parking, look for rush hour restrictions – parking on Monday through Friday along M Street and on the 1100-1600 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue, NW from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m will result in a towed car!
Parking on neighborhood non-metered streets is limited to 2 hours – legally, that is applicable to the whole of Zone 2 so moving your car from one spot to another in the same neighborhood may still result in a ticket.
Another easy way to park in Georgetown is through a service called SpotHero.
This website enables drivers to search for, compare, and purchase guaranteed parking spaces ahead of time in garages. They have a bunch of cheap options in Georgetown.
Founded in 1751 in the colony of Maryland, the town of George was founded as a tobacco port city on the Potomac River.
Georgetown, today, is much larger than the original town boundaries.
What is now N St NW (formally Gay Street) was the northern boundary of the city. The rest was bordered on the south by the river, east by Rock Creek and west by what is now Georgetown University.
When the founding fathers decided where to put the new federal district, the port of Georgetown was included in its boundaries.
In 1800, it became Georgetown, DC – still, its own city. This changed in 1871 when Washington City expanded and Georgetown lost its autonomy.
The streets were renamed and the city council disbanded.
The small town grew with the success of its merchants until the mid-1800s.
With the growth of the federal city, the stress of the Civil War, the silting of the Potomac River, and the failure of the C&O Canal, Georgetown fell into a decline that lasted decades.
After the New Deal-ers moved into the affordable neighborhood, cemented by the presence of the Kennedys, Georgetown became once again a neighborhood of businessmen and politicians.
Diverse is not the word you’d use to describe Georgetown today, but through its history, it has been the home of leading political figures and simple merchants and enslaved persons, full of Scottish and German immigrants, and a thriving community of freedmen at Herring Hill.
It went from mansions to slums and back again.
A walk through this pre-Revolutionary War neighborhood takes you through 250 years of history, through its architecture and the stories of the people who once and still live there.
If you’d like to learn more, our guide, Canden, has had two books published on Georgetown!
Wicked Georgetown: Scoundrels, Sinners and Spies, and Images of America: Georgetown. Both available on her Amazon author page!
As the oldest and one of the most affluent neighborhoods in DC, Georgetown is home to some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the city. There are many hotels to choose from, but here are some of our favorites.
If you’ve ever been on Canden’s Georgetown tours, you’ll hear her talk about one and only one restaurant.
By far all of our favorite places to eat in Georgetown, Martin’s Tavern is Canden’s only recommendation. It has great food (their grandmother’s recipe crab cakes are amazing), but what we love most is its history.
Martin’s Tavern opened in 1933 by an Irish immigrant, Billy Martin, and is still run by his great-grandson, also Billy Martin, who can sometimes be found behind the bar.
If you go there and tell them DC By Foot sent you… nothing will happen, they have no idea who we are but we highly recommend it!
Martin’s Tavern: 1264 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC – American Tavern $$
Georgetown is the go-to shopping area inside the District.
While walking along the two main streets of Georgetown – M Street NW and Wisconsin Ave NW you’ll find everything from staples such as Urban Outfitters and Nike to secondhand stores to vintage shops that carry designer brands.
The northern section of Wisconsin Ave NW (by the Georgetown Library) will have you feeling as if you are wandering the streets of Paris. Book Hill, as this area is known, offers more than the standard retail outlets.
Here you’ll find Antiques Row, bespoke jewelry, and curious treasures to take home with you.
Meanwhile, M Street NW offers more of the shopping mall experience without the mall itself.
Large chain stores can be found along this main road. Banana Republic, Anthropologie, J. Crew and more can all be found along M Street.
If you’re looking for a few unique finds or you just need to replace a lost suitcase, Georgetown shopping offers a varied experience to add to your visit to DC.
For a complete list of all the stores you can find in Georgetown, check out: http://www.georgetowndc.com/explore/fashion
Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 3 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the host of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All
With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 25 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 3) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.