Slip back in time as you enter the cobbled streets of Georgetown, one of D.C.’s oldest areas and now a National Historic Landmark. Established in 1751 along the banks of the Potomac River, the suburb is known for its 18th- and 19th-century architecture, including Georgian stone mansions and brick row houses.
To help you on a self-guided wander, pick up a map and pocket guide from the Georgetown Visitor Center on Thomas Jefferson Street. In summer, the center offers a free walking tour daily at noon. It will take you to landmarks such as The Old Stone House. Built in 1765, it’s Washington’s oldest, unchanged building. It’s now a public museum with rooms furnished in middle-class colonial style. See where America’s founding fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams dined at the City Tavern Club. At Tudor Place House and Garden, see more than 8,000 pieces of art and furniture, some of which date back to the 1700s, then stroll through the 5.5 acres (two hectares) of beautifully landscaped gardens. Also of note is the Custom House and Post Office, one of the first to be built in America.
Not far from the visitor center is the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Take a leisurely one-hour ride on a replica 18th-century boat drawn by mules that walk along on towpaths. The 184.5-mile (296-kilometer) canal goes from Georgetown to Cumberland, Maryland. It was built to transport wood, coal and goods as an alternative route to the Potomac River, which runs parallel to the canal. Walk or cycle along a portion of the towpath to see historic aqueducts, lock houses and mills.
Georgetown University, America’s oldest Catholic university, is located about two miles (three kilometers) from downtown Washington. Founded in 1789, Georgetown University includes former U.S. President Bill Clinton among its notable alumni.
Georgetown is rich with historic landmarks, but it’s also a good place to shop and dine in upscale boutiques and restaurants, especially along Wisconsin and M streets. As an alternative, go to the Georgetown Waterfront Park for a relaxing meal as you look over the Potomac River.
Georgetown is about a 12-minute drive just to the north west of downtown Washington. There are various buses that go to Georgetown from downtown, including the DC Circulator, the D6 and the S4. From the National Mall catch the 36 from the corner of NW 7th and NW Constitution Avenue.