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Georgetown Tips (26)

Georgetown's historic cemeteries

We finished our day in Georgetown by visiting two very different historic cemeteries located quite close to one another. The first, Oak Hill Cemetery, was founded in 1848 on a 15-acre plot of land bought by William Wilson Corcoran, the same retired banker turned philanthropist responsible for the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In the 1830s, the garden-style Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had become hugely popular, and it was Corcoran's wish to bring the same type of final resting place to Washington. It's definitely worth stopping by this beautifully landscaped cemetery, which features gentle rolling hills crossed by lovely winding roads, as well as several beautiful Victorian monuments. Several important Washington public figures have been buried at Oak Hill over the years, although my knowledge of American politics was too limited for me to be able to identify them. But what I was motly interested in seeing was the chapel designed by James Renwick, the same architect who designed Smithsonian Castle and St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. Located near the main entrance, the chapel truly is a Gothic Revival masterpiece despite (or perhaps because of) its moderate size.

The second cemetery we went to was Mount Zion Cemetery. This cemetery's main claim to fame is that from its very beginnings in 1808, both black and white citizens were allowed to be buried there. By the middle of the 19th century, it had become exclusively used by the city's African American families. Today, the contrast between Mount Zion and Oak Hill is rather striking: while the latter is beautifully maintained, the former has fallen into a very sad state of disrepair. This historic cemetery is now a rather spooky scene of fallen tombstones over uncut grass. I can only hope that the city plans to do something to salvage what is left of this historically significant place.

Jefie's Profile Photo
Oct 09, 2014

A historic walk around Georgetown

We finally made it to the Georgetown area on our very last day in D.C., and I'm glad we did because not only did we end up saving the best for last, after several days of walking around downtown Washington, walking around this historic neighborhood somehow felt like we had a brand new city to explore. Georgetown was founded in 1751. At that time, it was part of the state of Maryland since Washington and the Dictrict of Columbia wouldn't be created for another 40 years. As such, it is home to several of the city's historical landmarks, including the Old Stone House (the oldest standing house in Washington; see my next tip) and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Although it didn't used to be a high-income neighborhood, wealthy young professionals made the place trendy starting in the 1950s. Among these young professionals were John and Jackie Kennedy, who had a house on N Street. We very much enjoyed walking around the lovely streets of Georgetown in search of famous addresses and historic landmarks, so much so that I bought a booklet that features a guided walk through Georgetown and I fully intent on spending more time in this charming neighborhood next time I'm in D.C.!

Jefie's Profile Photo
Oct 06, 2014

Washington Habor

It took over 10 years for the Washington Harbor project to be aproved, and another 5 years for the project to be completed. The complex was met with mixed reaction at first, mostly because its architecture is entirely different from what you find elsewhere in the city, but Washingtonians soon got used to the novelty and embraced the work of architect Arthur Cotton Moore. Bordered one one side by the the Georgetown Waterfront Park and on the other by the House of Sweden, Washington Harbor is a beautiful residential and commercial complex centered around a lovely fountain and pedestrian plaza that turn into an ice skating rink in the wintertime. A boardwalk also runs along the Potomac River. We'd already had lunch by the time we came to Washington Harbor, but I enjoyed the atmosphere around this place so much that dining at one of its restaurants (which range from casual to upscale) is definitely on my list of things to do next time I'm in Washington (oh right, because I really do plan on going back!).

Jefie's Profile Photo
Oct 06, 2014

Georgetown: wander and enjoy the architecture

I suspect many people go to Georgetown for its upmarket shopping, but that didn't interest me. I just enjoyed wandering around (and seeing more of it from the hoho bus). There is a real historical feel to this part of Washington and a a huge variety of architectural styles on show, especially if you look above the swish shop frontages.

Georgetown is an older settlement than Washington itself (older by 40 years or so, I believe).. It was founded in 1751 as a tobacco port and also had other industrial premises such as a cement works and a flour mill.

The Old Stone House (on M St NW) is the oldest surviving building. The interior was closed when I visited and the building has anyway, imo, undergone several changes and additions since it was first built in 1765 for one Christopher Lehman. But the gardens were open and, although small, they are lovely and somewhat reminiscent of an English cottage garden. I spent a very pleasant half-an-hour enjoying them and the peace they offered.

Most Georgetown buildings date from the 1800s, quite a lot are brick-built and many are 'rowhouses' (what we in the UK call 'terraces'). But there are quite a few with wooden exteriors too, similar to those I saw in San Francisco (they came in a sort of 'flat-pack', apparently) and...of course..the wealthy had their own architects to design houses which pleased them.

The Chesapeake & Ohio canal, opened in 1831 and used until the 1920s, begins (and ends) in Georgetown and eventually, after about 185 miles, leads to Cumberland in Maryland. It's now an historical park, with trails and towpaths to hike, although most of the canal no longer has any water. When I saw the canal (this part with water) running under 31st ST NW, with brick warehouses/factories alongside, it really did remind me of home...the English Midlands and the North especially. I have seen so many similar scenes when canals pass through industrialised settlements.

There is a lot more history in Georgetown....African American history in particular, especially in the Herring Hill district. And there are links with the Kennedys, with other famous Americans and with films too. Georgetown is apparently a popular film location and people visit to see, for example, the steps used in 'The Exorcist'. I didn't bother but you might be interested.

If I'd had more time, and if it hadn't been so warm, I'd have spent much longer exploring this part of Washington. It seemed to me by far the most interesting area from an historical point of view and history...of my passion. :-)

leics's Profile Photo
Aug 10, 2014
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Old part of Washington

Coming from Europe, we had something else in mind when talking about "old town". Of course we knew it wouln´t be as old as old towns in Europe, but we thought there would not be as big roads and lots of cars, and we thought there would be some special shops maybe selling handcrafts and homely restaurants.
Mostly it was fancy expensive shops selling expensive brands, only few restaurants.. Only one we found looking homely and some kind of personal was quite expensive, and we left without ordering anything.
In the end we ended up to Starbucks, since it was fast and cheap.
There was that "Old stone house", witch really was old, but quite small. We didn´t go in, since we had lost some time trying to find something to eat cheaply, and walking from railway station (should have taken a bus, there was no so much to see on the way).
And the most interesting part of Washington was allready "behind the corner".

Turska's Profile Photo
Mar 30, 2014

Walk along the bustling streets of Georgetown

If you have time go for a wander around George Town. We stayed in a hotel in the area and did a lot of walking on our way to the subway. There are a lot of funky shops, art galleries and restaurants. Walk along M street (Mike Kors, Luluemon)and Wisconsin Avenue (Apple, Gap, Zara) which are the main streets.
If interested in events in the area visit the website below.

albaaust's Profile Photo
Jan 10, 2014


Although Georgetown is mainly a residential suburb of The District of Columbia , with its tree lined leafy is a haven for Bars, Restaurants all sorts of eateries and music venues..The call of Georgetown especially at night and on weekends entices locals to Party hard in this fun town...I know I love this town and try and visit whenever in Washington DC or nearby Virginia. Being a prominent part of the Capital of the country Georgetown certainly gets its fair share of the city's visitors that come from all over the USA to see Washington DC and the many things that there are to see this usually sees the local venues packed with visiting patrons.I know there are just so many places to eat and drink here ...getting through one of "Clydes" huge burgers I know takes some doing.. and a cold beer or two at the "Guards" is hard to pass up.visitors find many good venues with music here also I know an all time popular favourite is "Blues Alley" here you can listen some of the best Blues in the country with Artista changed regularly..yes...drop into George town wont be dissapointed..

DennyP's Profile Photo
Sep 11, 2011


One afternoon after seeing many many monuments and museums we decided to get away from the city center and drink a beer somewhere else. We went to Georgetown which is now an upclass neighborhood of DC but 39 older than Washington DC. It was officially formed in 1751 with the name Georgetown because of king George II.

The only problem is that the metro doesn’t go there and we had to walk a bit from the station, believe me, we were so tired that we were thinking even to return back to our hotel. But we made it and didn’t regret it. It’s really a charming picturesque area with nice colonial architecture. The central avenue was full of people going shopping (the prices are high) but I also loved some small cafes, ideal for people watching.

If you have time you can walk along the Chesapeake & Ohio canal, we did it only for some minutes.
We didn’t check any sights here though but we took a picture of the Old Stone House which is the oldest building in Washington DC! It was built in 1765!

mindcrime's Profile Photo
Nov 09, 2010

Top 5 Washington D.C. Writers

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Looking at Georgetown today, it's hard to see past the trendy colorful neighborhood that attracts tourists and locals alike but it's historical past dates back to 1761 with a lifeline tied tightly to tobacco. Named after King George, its past has not been all illustrious: going from prosperous shipping center, to a fashionable living quarter, to refuge of freed slaves, to one of the city's worst slums, to home to John F. Kennedy, and finally to the dining/shopping retreat it is today.

This was high on our list of places to see in the DC area. It's impressive old brick houses, colorful shops, and charming streets are a delight to stroll around. A bonus for us was it being home to the best beer bar in the DC area, the trendy Pizzeria Birerria.

richiecdisc's Profile Photo
Apr 25, 2010

Dumbarton Bridge, aka Bison Bridge

”Only seven years ago we made a treaty by which we were assured that the buffalo country should be left to us forever. Now they threaten to take that from us also.”
— Sitting Bull (1831-1890)

AND THAT’S NO BULL Unfortunately, as Sitting Bull predicted, the U.S. Government did take all.

When the Bison Bridge, also known as the Dumbarton Bridge and the Q Street Bridge, was built between 1914 and 1915, Americans were passing through a period of nostalgia (guilt?) for the nation’s native people and the West. The Indian head/buffalo nickel had been issued in 1913.

Alexander Phimister Proctor was granted the commission to sculpt the four enormous bison on the strength of the tigers he designed for the 16th Street Bridge. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the bridge was opened to the public on Christmas Day 1915.

von.otter's Profile Photo
Jan 22, 2010

A must visit

Georgetown is described as a neighbourhood of DC, but it almost feel like a totally different town. It is actually in Maryland, so strictly speaking it is a different town?
It is quiet and laid back, with quaint old houses and shops. This is a good area for shopping and eating, as it has many different types of restaurants.
There is no metro serving Georgetown, but it is a short drive from Du Pont Circle. Georgetown is one of the stops on the Open Top Bus Route.
This is definitely on the ‘must do’ list when visiting Washington DC.

PierreZA's Profile Photo
May 18, 2008


pictured is a typical street in georgetown. the streets of georgetown are tree lined with beautiful federal style town houses. some excellent examples of georgetown architecture is the stone house, (3051 M street n.w.), wheatly row on N street, the laird-dunlop house. (3014 N street), and the thomas beall house once the home of jacquline kennedy, (3017 N street). a very nice neighborhood to visit when in washington d.c.

doug48's Profile Photo
Sep 22, 2007

Things To Do Near Georgetown

Things to Do


Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and is America's oldest Roman Catholic University. It is said that during the Civil War, Georgetown students and instructors joined the Union Army while...
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Dumbarton Oaks

This fabulous estate dates back to the 19th century and it belonged to Robert and Mildred Bliss. Robert Bliss was an American diplomat who had graduated from Harvard University and, while they were...
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Watergate Complex

The Watergate Complex will forever be linked with the scandal that led to Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. The complex itself is made up of five buildings, i.e. one office building, three...
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Islamic Mosque & Cultural Center

This great Mosque was founded in 1947 during President Truman's term in office, and it is the very first Mosque to be built in the nation's capital. It came about after the sudden death of a Tursking...
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Kennedy Performing Arts Center

Be sure to go on the Kennedy Center webpage and be on the lookout for free things to do here. Just today the 20th of March I attended a free Concert by Punjabi MC an Indian DJ who combine hip hop with...
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Woodrow Wilson House

After he left office in 1921, President Thomas Woodrow Wilson retired to a beautiful house near what was to become Embassy Row. He lived there for 3 years until he passed way peacefully in February...
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Getting to Georgetown


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