travel
When Abigail Adams arrived in Washington in 1800, she described Georgetown as “the very dirtiest hole I ever saw.” Then a major port with a huge slave and tobacco trade, cheap housing, and commercial wharves, the town may have been unattractive. But the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and its competitor, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, brought prosperity to Georgetown, and therefore style. When the canal began to fail after flood damage, slum conditions returned, until Franklin D. Roosevelt partly rehabilitated the area. Its current modish position stems from the Kennedy era, when Georgetown became fashionable.

Metro Connection and Bus

Georgetown has no Metrorail station, and it used to be difficult for visitors to get to attractions here without a long walk from the nearest stations or a taxi ride. The Georgetown Metro Connection has been created to alleviate the problem. Running every 10 minutes daily, the shuttle bus provides inexpensive and convenient transportation to 13 locations, and, best of all, no parking worries. The Circulator Bus also runs every 5–10 minutes from 7am–9pm daily .


Sights
  1. Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Gardens

    This elegant Federal-style house, with its Philip Johnson-designed wing, houses a world-renowned collection of Byzantine and pre-Columbian artifacts. El Greco’s Visitation is here also, possibly the Spanish master’s last painting. The house and museum are surrounded by acres of gorgeous landscaping .

    • 1703 32nd St, NW

    • Open 2–5pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

  2. Washington Harbor

    Dockside cafés, good restaurants, lovely views of the Potomac and the Kennedy Center, the Watergate complex, and the Thompson boathouse, walkways for strolling, and benches for resting make the harbor a magnet for Georgetowners on warm evenings. The Washington Harbor residential and commercial building is an architectural exuberance designed by Arthur Cotton Moore and Associates.

    • 3000–20 K St, NW, at the bottom of Thomas Jefferson St, NW (between 30th & 31st Sts)

  3. Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

    Like so many features of the area, the C&O Canal grew from a dream of George Washington’s as a gateway to commerce with the US lands to the west (“west” meaning Ohio at the time). Coal, flour, fur, timber, whiskey, iron ore, and other goods traveled on barges, towed by mules walking along canalside paths. The canal’s commercial days are over, but its entire length from Georgetown to Maryland has been turned into one of the most beloved national parks. Visitors˙ can experience the beauty and serenity of the canal by walking about a block south from M Street, NW and turning west onto the towpath. The National Park Service Visitor Center for the C&O has terrific guidance for enjoying the canal. Guided tours and seasonal mule-powered barge rides are offered .

    Visitor Center

    • 1057 Thomas Jefferson St, NW

    • 202 653 5190

    • Open 9am–4:30pm Wed–Sun; closed winter

    Rowhouses, C&O Canal
  4. M Street and Wisconsin Avenue

    This intersection is surrounded by the main shopping, entertainment, dining, and bar-crawling areas of Georgetown. The attractive shops of Georgetown Park include hundreds of retailers selling cool urban clothes, jewelry, fine wine, art and antiques, and countless other specialties. Restaurant food of every description is available, from modern gourmet to street window kebabs.

    M Street

    Elegant Georgetown House
  5. N Street

    Little attractions and oddities abound on this street, which is noted for its exemplary architecture. Best seen from the sidewalk on 28th Street, NW, the house at No. 2726 has an outstanding mosaic by Marc Chagall, a friend of the former owner. The elegant Federal house at No. 3038 was home to Ambassador Averill Harriman, who lent the house to Jacqueline Kennedy after her husband’s assassination. She later bought the elaborate 1794 Thomas Beall house across the street. Lessons in 19th-century architecture can be learned from the Federal houses at Nos. 3327 and 3339, the Second-Empire home at No. 3025–7, and the Victorian homes of Wheatley Row at Nos. 3041–45.

    N Street house
  6. Georgetown University

    This venerable institution sits on its hill overlooking Georgetown and the Potomac like a medieval citadel, its stone towers seemingly brooding with age. Yet the university is one of the most progressive in the country. Among the many interesting buildings here is the 1875 Healy Hall, built in an elaborate Flemish Renaissance style with surprising spiral adornment. Visitors can obtain campus maps and suggestions for strolls from the booth at the main gates.

    Gatehouse visitors booth

    • O & 37th Sts, NW

    • Opening hours vary depending on the university schedule

    • Call for details: 202 687 0100

    Georgetown University
  7. Grace Church

    The 1866 church construction was built to house a congregation founded to serve the boatmen and support staff of the C&O Canal. The simple but extremely elegant design brings back the mid-19th century, although admittedly without the raucous bustle that must have accompanied the canal at its peak. The grounds are beautifully peaceful. The church offers poetry readings, theater performances, and concerts. Today’s congregation has a serious devotion to community service and outreach.

    • 1041 Wisconsin Ave, NW (one block south of M St)

    • Open by appt

    • (tel: 202 333 7100)

    Office

    • Open 10am–6pm Mon, Tue, & Fri

    • Free

  8. Old Stone House

    This remarkable residence dating from 1766 looks a little incongruous standing directly in the heart of the shopping area, but it provides a captivating window into 18th-century life. The National Park Service provides tours and fascinating demonstrations of the crafts and tasks of colonial families.

    • 3051 M St

    • Open Jan–Mar: noon–5pm daily; Apr–Dec: 11am–5pm daily

    • Dis. access

    • Free

  9. Tudor Place

    This house museum would be remarkable for its beauty even without its historic interest. Completed in 1816, the house was built by Thomas Peter, son of a Georgetown tobacco merchant, and Martha Custis Peter, granddaughter of Martha Washington. The Peter family occupied the house for six generations and played hosts to many prominent guests.

    • 1644 31st St, NW

    • 202 965 0400

    • Open 10am–4pm Tue–Sat, noon–4pm Sun; closed Jan, federal holidays

    • Dis. access

    • Adm

    Tudor Place
  10. Oak Hill Cemetery

    The cemetery has a great diversity of graves and mausoleums in a Victorian garden setting. Its Gothic Revival chapel and the Van Ness Mausoleum are on the National Register of Historic Places.

    • R & 30th Sts, NW

    • Open 9am–4:30pm Mon–Fri, 1–4pm Sun, weather permitting

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