10 Unexpected Spring & Summer Experiences in Georgetown

This season, there’s so much heating up in Georgetown – from last call to curtain call, and boats, brews, and scenic views.

Taking a Ride Through History

All aboard Georgetown Heritage’s C&O Canal boat! Boat rides are available Wednesday-Sunday, offering one-hour guided historical tours of the first mile of the Canal. Learn about the fascinating history, technology and culture of the Canal, and the surprising stories of the people who lived, worked and played here over the past two centuries. (A crowd favorite involves mule poop and children running around barefoot). Experience one of the most visited national park sites in the country in a new way.

Getting a Flavor for Georgetown's New Restaurants

From a NYC-based French bakery and café whose chocolate chip cookies made Oprah’s Favorite Things list, to a 100-seat restaurant helmed by the youngest chef ever to receive a Michelin star, Georgetown’s new restaurants are making a scene. Whether you’re in the mood for a truly transformative smoked lamb shoulder pita, tahini soft-serve with rhubarb jam on top (10/10 recommend), or a cocktail dating back to 1600, get a taste of Georgetown’s buzzy-worthy new restaurants.

Kayaking on the Potomac

It’s that time of year to get your sea legs – or, in this case, river legs. Bring the whole family to Key Bridge Boathouse or Thompson Boat Center and rent kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes by the hour or day. Tours and classes are also available. Paddleboard or boat past the Georgetown Waterfront, Roosevelt Island, some of DC’s most stunning monuments and under the beautiful Key Bridge. Or, you can kayak and board your way up river to the C&O Canal for a relaxing day of tranquility.

Grabbing a Front-Row Seat to Fun

For the second year, the Capital Fringe Festival is coming to Georgetown. More than 130 individual performances will cover sketch comedy, stand-up, documentary theatre, musical theatre, and the truly unclassifiable, July 12-23 in two spaces on Thomas Jefferson St NW. Shows will explore everything from the tragic Knickerbocker Theatre collapse to lighthearted brunch humor, from grappling with dementia and skin cancer to the comedic relief of stand-up performances. On Friday and Saturday evenings during the festival run, Fringe will host a community bar space along the C&O Canal at event space Powerhouse (3255 Grace St NW), offering food and beverages, plus live music.

Meditating Near the Key Bridge

Toward the western end of Georgetown Waterfront Park, you can get your meditation on with a few laps around the labyrinth – funded by an organization that promotes urban green spaces to facilitate community healing. Work your way from the outer edge along a circular path to the center and quiet your mind. One lap for every day since March 2020 should do the trick.

Sipping Cocktails on a Rooftop

Some of the best-kept secrets in DC (until now) are the rooftops at two Georgetown hotels, Rosewood Washington, DC and The Graham Georgetown. Both are open to the public and ideal locations to see the city and its monuments from a unique vantage point, while enjoying al fresco dining and drinks on plush furniture, watching sunsets over the Potomac, and moving to the beats of after-hours DJs. If you’re in town for the 4th of July, skip the crowds on the National Mall and watch the fireworks from above.

Visiting Europe Via Cady's Alley

Tucked away just one block south of bustling M Street, Cady’s Alley feels like you’ve been transported to a quiet European village (without involving TSA). The charming cobblestone alley is home to more than 20 home furnishing showrooms, fashion and specialty boutiques nestled in a cluster of historic industrial buildings. Nestled in between the showrooms, Kafe Leopold serves Austrian fare, from schnitzel to strudel, on its patio. A few doors down, the highly-anticipated sushi restaurant Kyojin will open this summer.

Discovering Secret Gardens & Patios

Known for its antique stores, art galleries, independent boutiques and buttery croissants, the historic Book Hill neighborhood is home to more than 50 small businesses, the heart of which are along the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue. Lesser known are its hidden backyard patios and gardens, perfect for a quiet and picturesque escape. Enjoy a cappuccino and apricot tart on Patisserie Poupon’s patio, or dinner under the garden lights at City Sliders. A few blocks down the hill, Boulangerie Christophe’s back patio features a hidden mural.

Seeing the Oldest House Plant in North America

And you thought keeping that orchid alive was hard?! Inside of the Dumbarton Oaks orangery grows a 150+-year-old Ficus Pumila – the oldest house plant in North America. All of the historic estate’s gardens are rooted in the legacy of Dumbarton Oak’s original gardener, Beatrix Jones Farrand. The only female founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Beatrix began designing the garden in 1921 with Mildred Barnes Bliss, who purchased the property with her husband the year prior. The grounds were eventually donated to Harvard University. In addition to the gardens, don’t miss the Dumbarton House museum for its world-class collections of Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art.

Retracing the Footsteps of JFK

Individually and as a couple, John and Jacqueline Kennedy chose Georgetown as their home time and again. JFK live here as the newly-elected Massachusetts Congressman, when he met, courted and married Jacqueline Bouvier, and during his presidential election. Take a self-guided tour through Georgetown’s quaint and historic streets to see the homes where they lived, the church where they worshipped, and the “Proposal Booth’ in Martin’s Tavern where JFK popped the question.


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