How to plan the ultimate stay in Georgetown
The staycation takes on new meaning this summer as soaring gas prices continue to make driving to the beach less desirable. Known for its historic charm and European feel, a mini-vacation to Georgetown can also be a relaxing alternative to a trip that involves a passport and stressful airport delays. Eater DC has two days fully planned for you, including accommodations, meals, scenic attractions, and top nightlife picks, from a live piano bar to plenty of stylish cocktail lounges. We promise you will return home fully rested and recharged.
Jump headfirst into the neighborhood with a picture-perfect picnic on the banks of the Potomac River. To stock up, head down cobblestone-lined Grace Street to encounter a cluster of popular take-out counters. Best bets include a trio of veggie tacos from Chaia, excellent focaccia and salads at the Green Almond Pantry, and an iced latte from Grace Street Coffee Roasters. (The Reverie Tasting Room, Georgetown’s only Michelin restaurant, is also here.)
Pack your bags and stroll the nearby stretch of Washington Harbor for stunning views of floating boats and the iconic Kennedy Center. Sumptuous seafood dishes along the riverside promenade include shellfish towers at chic Fiola Mare restaurant and seasonal soft-shell crab dishes at Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place restaurant. Georgetown Harbor is also where the Potomac Paddle Club’s BYOB tiki bar and pontoon boats set sail.
For the ultimate overnight splurge, Tony Rosewood of Georgetown is a better bet. The 55-room hotel oozes luxury, with an intimate lobby filled with flowers, chandeliers, soft jade seating, chess pieces, and Wolfgang Puck Cut’s chic steakhouse. In-room perks include a Nespresso machine, high-end mini-bar, and bathrooms with marble rainfall showers stocked with Parisian Diptyque toiletries.
Epic summer add-ons to round out the stay include a private hot air balloon ride over the Shenandoah Valley, an afternoon excursion to Virginia wineries like Leesburg’s Lost Creek, and a three-course seasonal dinner organized by Cut.
Choose to ride a provided custom bike to zip around world-famous attractions like the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the always-free Smithsonian. (And two major private museums are waiving admission fees for DC Library Cardholders this summer: the Kreeger Museum, July 23, and the Phillips Collection, August 13.)
For more affordable boutique options, consider the Graham — home to one of the only other quaint hotel rooftops around — or the charming 96-room Georgetown Inn in the heart of all the shopping and dining along Wisconsin Avenue NW. At the foot you’ll find chef Jenn Crovato’s 1310 Kitchen & Bar, an adorable American comfort food spot with inspirational quotes scrawled on its windows and a delicious breakfast served until 2 p.m. daily.
DINNER AND WALKING
Puck protege Andrew Skala shows off his unsuspecting sushi skills in the candlelit rooftop lounge Cut Above. Save room for an airy chocolate soufflé and Basque cheesecake from Cut’s talented new pastry chef, Ligia Barros. For a more casual option, consider the lively pasta and pizza Flavio across the street. Order popular chewy ricotta gnocchi and savor a largely unknown fun fact: the brick-lined building was the home of inventor Thomas Edison at the time. One of Georgetown’s most romantic twilight walks takes place along the nearby C&O Canal, which was finally filled with water this year.
The corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW is the neighborhood’s nightlife hub. Hidden down the nearby alley of Prospect Street is the timeless and elegant Cafe Milano. Notice a Capitals Stanley Cup ring displayed at the exit, a glittering gift from the NHL team after their wild post-victory celebration in 2018. A few blocks down Wisconsin Avenue, one-year-old Donahue is a stage magnet for the Georgetown Social Ensemble. A doorman wearing headphones on a red carpet greets guests below. Blow bubbles in a crowd-pleasing “chambog” or stay awake with one of Georgetown’s best espresso martinis. Pro tip: A brightly lit Wawa on Wisconsin Avenue, open 24 hours a day, is a beacon for subs and late-night snacks. And instead of spending at the hotel bar, shop locally at the decades-old Potomac Wine & Spirits to stock the room.
A RELAXING SATURDAY
Shake off the hangover by treating yourself to a giant, gooey cookie at Levain on M Street NW, the beloved bakery’s first location outside of New York City. You’ll need the carbs (and sunscreen) for a fun afternoon of al fresco shopping for hundreds of local retailers and artisans at the pop-up Neighbors DC Market in Georgetown Park (Fridays 5-9 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). until October). This weekend, the park is also hosting the Capital Fringe Festival.
It’s time to freshen up a little more than usual and dress to impress in some of Georgetown’s classiest gems to drink and eat. Take a brisk walk along M Street to the outskirts of Georgetown to find the chic cocktail bar L’Annex. A sophisticated back room surrounded by infused liquors on shelves is a prime spot to enjoy elegant snacks and raclette burgers. More than a decade later, the dimly lit Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel across the street remains one of Georgetown’s most popular places to see and see. For something new, keep walking east to discover two speakeasy side-by-side: the female-run Bottles Wine Bar for a secret garden vibe and The Setting, a trippy tasting room tucked under a jewelry store. On the way back, admire some of Georgetown’s prettiest townhouses framing scenic Rose Park. This is where you will come across an unexpected surprise: the chic Apéro champagne and caviar bar.
Georgetown Piano Bar is the place to be on a Saturday night at 9 p.m., when the bustling basement features dueling pianists who take requests for just about any song. Inexpensive cocktails sent from a sunken circular bar are named after music legends, with happy hour starting at 5 p.m. And Blues Alley, a jazz and supper club established in 1965, is one of the last of its kind in DC
While a walk up the famous Exorcist Stairs isn’t an option in this heat, another way to experience old-school Georgetown is to check out the underground, stone-lined tombs for brunch. Framed with Ivy League rowing oars and other sports memorabilia, handsome favorite Hoyas depicted in St. Elmo’s Fire keeps the tradition alive with draft beers and stellar pub fare like Reubens and chili.
For a quicker bite around the Georgetown University campus, eat like President Joe Biden and grab a wood-fired bagel from Call Your Mother’s pink outpost before heading home to reality.