15 Best Things to Do in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Georgetown, Washington DC
SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com

The historic neighborhood of Georgetown is one of Washington DC’s most popular tourist destinations.

Georgetown was founded in 1751 in the province of Maryland, making it much older than the country’s capital.

The area is regarded as a commercial and entertainment district due to the many tourist spots that attract many visitors.

It has numerous parks, memorials, historic sites, and recreational areas that provide unique experiences for everyone.

It's also filled with many restaurants and eateries, making it a great place for foodies to visit.

If you want to start your journey to the capital city, check out these 15 best things to do in Georgetown, Washington, DC:

Explore the Home of the Humanities at Dumbarton Oaks

Entrance to a garden at Dumbarton Oaks
Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock.com

Dumbarton Oaks is a beautiful site in Georgetown dedicated to the advancement of the humanities.

Art collectors and philanthropists Robert and Mildred Bliss founded this attraction on 32nd Street.

In 1940, they donated the estate and its collections to Harvard University to improve the public’s perspective towards history, culture, and the arts.

The estate is divided into two main sections: the museum and the garden.

View of Dumbarton Oaks
Karsten Jung / Shutterstock.com

The museum boasts a collection of tapestries, paintings, and other artworks from the Byzantine and Pre-Columbian eras.

The garden features a beautiful 16-acre open space with terraced gardens, meadows, and wooded pathways.

The beautiful world of history and art awaits you at Dumbarton Oaks.

Garden at Dumbarton Oaks
Karsten Jung / Shutterstock.com

Tour the Historic Old Stone House

Outside view of Old Stone House
GIBAN / Shutterstock.com

Old Stone House is one of the many historic sites in Georgetown.

Constructed in 1766, Old Stone House is the oldest structure in the city of Washington, DC.

The house was built using local blue fieldstone and brilliantly designed to make it energy efficient.

Street view of Old Stone House
Ann Ramsey / Shutterstock.com

Its thick stone walls and big windows help keep the house cool during the summer, and its low ceilings help trap heat, so less firewood is used during the winter.

Visit the Old Stone House at M Street Northwest in front of the local Nike store.

Canal house at Old Stone House
Sam M. Jamison Photograph / Shutterstock.com

Get to Know the National Anthem Author at Francis Scott Key Memorial

Beautiful view of Francis Scott Key Memorial
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Although it is the United States’ national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner" carries an iconic tune everyone worldwide recognizes.

To learn more about the brilliant author of the anthem, check out Francis Scott Key Memorial.

Located on 34th and M Street Northwest, Francis Scott Key Memorial is a small and quaint park in Georgetown with beautiful flowers and shades.

Narrow walkway at Francis Scott Key Memorial
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

It was made in honor of Francis Scott Key, the author of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The park features a bronze bust of the national anthem author and several exhibits portraying his life story.

Take the time to learn about this prominent figure in American history at Francis Scott Key Memorial.

Beautiful bed of flowers at Francis Scott Key Memorial
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Take a Journey to the Past at Tudor Place

Exterior view of Tudor Place
DC Gardens, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tudor Place is a historic site focusing on educating the public about the lives of the estate’s former residents.

Located on 31st Street Northwest, Tudor Place lets you learn about the stories of the descendants of Martha Washington and the enslaved people who worked in the estate.

Interior view of Tudor Place
Wknight94 talk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The historic house exhibits a collection of items and artifacts from the 1700s to the 2000s.

The main highlight is the guided tours which portray the previous’ owners dedication to preserving the estate’s beauty and their participation in slavery.

Get to know the bright and dark sides of early 19th-century Georgetown at Tudor Place.

Garden at Tudor Place
Wknight94 talk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Roam around the Magnificent Georgetown University

Healy hall at Georgetown University
Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com

You might be wondering why a school is included in this list of the best things to do in Georgetown.

It's because Georgetown University is one of the most beautiful places in the neighborhood.

Georgetown University is a Jesuit university founded in 1789 by John Carroll, the first bishop and archbishop of the United States.

Stone buildings at Georgetown University
Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com

The school is well-known for its excellence in nurturing future lawyers and in its highly-ranked law and medical schools.

What makes it an awesome tourist destination is the beautiful architectural designs of its buildings.

Being the oldest Catholic and Jesuit institution in the country, the buildings have a vintage vibe, with some people saying they resemble Hogwarts in "Harry Potter."

Hallway at Georgetown University
Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

The campus is spacious, providing visitors with an open space to relax and chat with the students.

Make sure to stop by Georgetown University on O Street Northwest.

Have a Relaxing Time at Georgetown Waterfront Park

Visitors walking along the Georgetown Waterfront Park
Evgenia Parajanian / Shutterstock.com

Georgetown Waterfront Park is the area’s premiere destination for relaxation and recreational activities.

Georgetown Waterfront Park is located on K Street Northwest with an amazing view of the Potomac River and the Key Bridge.

You'll enjoy the park’s serene atmosphere and several trails and pathways perfect for a relaxing stroll or hike.

Fountain at Georgetown Waterfront Park
Joseph Schanuel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The labyrinth found at the park's western end helps you disconnect from the outside world as you traverse from the outer edge to the center.

You can also find a fountain at the center of the park.

Georgetown Waterfront Park is perfect for people of all ages to relax in the neighborhood, so make sure to stop by.

View of Georgetown Waterfront Park
AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relive an Iconic Horror Scene at The Exorcist Steps

Visitors climbing the Exorcist Steps
Alexandre Tziripouloff / Shutterstock.com

The Exorcist Steps allows horror fans to relive an iconic scene from the film "The Exorcist."

The Exorcist Steps was the site of the final face-off between Father Miller and the 12-year-old Regan, who was possessed by the devil in the film.

If you're a fan of the classic film, you’ll find yourself fully immersed as you recall what transpired at the climactic showdown.

View of Exorcist Steps
Eddie Peterson / Shutterstock.com

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ll still enjoy your visit due to the spooky vibes brought by the dark and narrow dimensions.

You can find The Exorcist Steps between a stone wall and a brick house on Prospect Street Northwest.

Examine the Unique Gun Barrel Fence

Exterior view of Gun Barrel Fence
Matthew Carreiro / Shutterstock.com

The Gun Barrel Fence on P Street Northwest is not your average tourist attraction.

It might look like an ordinary fence, but its history gives it a unique vibe worthy of a visit.

The fence surrounding houses 2803 and 2805 is made of hundreds of recycled firearms.

When the British Invasion in 1814 commenced, the U.S. decided to ask for a loan from its citizens to aid its defense.

Street view of Gun Barrel Fence
Matthew Carreiro / Shutterstock.com

One of these people is Reuben Daw, a Georgetowner who agreed to give the country a fighting chance.

When it was over, the government lacked the funds to repay the borrowed sum, so it proposed repayment with surplus military gear, which Daw took advantage of.

After acquiring some Brown Bess muskets, he used them to construct the historic fence you can see today.

Because it was made from guns, the Gun Barrel Fence is sturdier and more resistant than other materials.

Grab a Cup of Coffee and Some Pastries at Cafe Georgetown

Cafe Georgetown has everything you need for a delicious brunch or snack time.

Situated on N Street Northwest, it offers a wide collection of caffeinated beverages and sweet pastries.

Their coffee drinks include hot and cold classics and signature blends perfectly complemented by their delicious desserts.

They also serve breakfast and lunch items, including bagels, sandwiches, paninis, and gluten-free options.

Stop by Cafe Georgetown beside EagleBank for the best coffee and pastries in the neighborhood.

Have Dinner by the River at The Washington Harbour

Boats at Washington Harbour
Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

The Washington Harbour is the center of the food scene in Georgetown.

Positioned near the beautiful Potomac River, The Washington Harbour features lots of restaurants offering different dining experiences.

For instance, many Italian restaurants are scattered around the area, like Fiola Mare and Bozelli’s Italian Deli.

People enjoying at Washington Harbour
AgnosticPreachersKid, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There’s also a selection of seafood establishments like Nicke’s Riverside GrillFarmers Fishers Bakers.

The Washington Harbour also hosts many exciting events and is home to The Washington Ice Rink.

Visit The Washington Harbour on K Street Northwest and taste the delicious flavors of Georgetown.

View of Washington Harbour
Ingfbruno, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Other Things to Do Nearby

Pass by the President’s Home at The White House

Exterior view of White House
Gwen Juarez Photography / Shutterstock.com

The White House is arguably the most well-known spot in Washington, DC.

Located on Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, The White House is where the president of the United States lives and works.

Last March, the current administration announced public tours of the White House, free of charge.

Soldiers at White House
Gil Corzo / Shutterstock.com

The process of booking a tour is a bit tedious, but once you get past that, you’ll be able to observe the beauty of the White House.

Aside from the famous building, the area is also home to a park with fountains, statues, pavilions, and other attractions like the visitor's center.

Corridor in White House
glenda / Shutterstock.com

Get to Know Honest Abe at the Lincoln Memorial

Majestic architecture of Lincoln Memorial
Andrei Medvedev / Shutterstock.com

The Lincoln Memorial is one of the most famous tourist spots in the whole country.

Constructed in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial was made in honor of the 16th president of the United States—Abraham Lincoln.

Enter the memorial through the Lincoln Steps, which begin at the edge of the Reflecting Pool.

Night view of Lincoln Memorial
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

As you traverse these steps, you’ll see the memorial’s beautiful Pantheon-inspired design.

Once you’re at the top of the steps, you won't miss the imposing statue of Lincoln.

The statue stands 19 feet tall and took four years to complete.

Statue of Lincoln at Lincoln Memorial
MarkVanDykePhotography / Shutterstock.com

There are also murals depicting the values and principles Honest Abe lived by.

The Lincoln Memorial is about 0.2 miles south of the United States Institute of Peace.

See the Full Beauty of Washington D.C. at The View of DC

Situated on Wilson Boulevard in Arlington County, Virginia, is The View of DC.

The View of DC is an observation deck that offers visitors a 360-degree panoramic view of Washington, DC.

As you stroll through the 12,000-square-foot observation deck, you’ll see the various attractions in the area.

You should check out sites such as the Pentagon, Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetery, and more.

Visit The View of DC and enjoy the best view of the beautiful city of Washington, D.C.

Discover the World of Espionage at the International Spy Museum

Entrance to International Spy Museum
DavidNNP / Shutterstock.com

The International Spy Museum is a facility dedicated to showcasing the history of the art of espionage.

Located on L’Enfant Plaza Southwest, the International Spy Museum features a variety of interactive displays and exhibits teaching you what it means to be a spy.

A man posing infront of the International Spy Museum
Regine Poirier / Shutterstock.com

You’ll learn about its history, the different gizmos and gadgets used, and the prominent figures in the world of espionage.

The venue also has a store that sells spy goodies and delicious treats.

Stop by the International Spy Museum during your stay and experience this secret and dangerous world.

Spy themed door at International Spy Museum
Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.com

Go Hiking at Glover Archbold Park

Glover Archbold Park is one of Washington's many outdoor spots.

It features 183 acres of wooded areas with a 2.5-mile trail that stretches from Van Ness Street NW to Canal Road NW.

Snow covered Glover Archbold Park
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

The rugged terrain of the trail provides a challenging hiking experience, so it’s best that you prepare your gear and essentials.

You’ll immerse yourself in the park’s pristine atmosphere as you hike along this amazing stretch.

Be one with nature at Washington’s premiere woodlands—Glover Archbold Park.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to tour Washington, DC, you should not leave out the bustling neighborhood of Georgetown.

Georgetown is full of entertainment, dining experiences, and recreational activities.

On top of that, the nearby areas are home to some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, like the Lincoln Memorial and the White House.

Get ready to go on a historical and cultural adventure by checking out the best things to do in Georgetown, Washington, DC.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.