The staycation takes on new meaning this summer as soaring gas prices continue to make a drive to the beach less desirable. Known for its historic charm and European feel, a mini Georgetown vacation can also be a relaxing alternative to a trip that entails a passport and stressful delays at the airport. Eater DC has two days completely planned out for you, including accommodations, meals, scenic attractions, and must-try nightlife picks, from a live piano bar to plenty of snazzy cocktail parlors. We promise you’ll return home completely rested and recharged.
Jump head-first into the neighborhood with a perfect picnic on the banks of the Potomac River. To stock up on a spread, head to cobblestone-lined Grace Street to encounter a cluster of popular takeout counters. Reliable picks include a veggie taco trio from Chaia, excellent focaccia and salads at Green Almond Pantry, and an iced latte from Grace Street Coffee Roasters. (Tasting room Reverie, Georgetown’s sole Michelin-rated restaurant, is also over here.)
Pack up and walk the nearby stretch of Washington Harbor for front-row views of bobbing boats and the iconic Kennedy Center. Stellar seafood picks along the riverfront promenade include shellfish towers at fancy fixture Fiola Mare to seasonal soft shell crab entrees at dressed-down stalwart Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place. Georgetown Harbor is also where Potomac Paddle Club’s BYOB tiki bar and pontoon boats set sail.
For the ultimate overnight splurge, Georgetown’s tony Rosewood is a best bet. The 55-room hotel oozes luxury out of the gate, with an intimate lobby filled with flowers, chandeliers, soft jade seating, chess, and Wolfgang Puck’s posh steakhouse Cut. In-room perks include a Nespresso machine, top-tier mini bar, and marble-wrapped rain shower bathrooms filled 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 three-course seasonal dinner curated by Cut.
Opt to hop on a provided custom bike to zip around world-famous attractions like the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the always-free Smithsonian. (And two top private museums waive entrance fees for D.C. library cardholders this summer: The Kreeger Museum, on July 23, and The Phillips Collection, on August 13.)
For more affordable boutique options, consider the Graham — home to one of the only other scenic hotel rooftops around — or charming, 96-room Georgetown Inn in the heart of all the shopping and dining action along Wisconsin Avenue NW. At the foot you’ll find chef Jenn Crovato’s 1310 Kitchen & Bar, an adorable American comfort foods spot with inspirational quotes scribbled on its windows and delicious breakfast served until 2 p.m. daily.
DINNER AND A STROLL
Puck protege Andrew Skala shows off his unsuspecting sushi skills at candle-lit rooftop lounge Cut Above. Save room for an airy chocolate souffle and Basque cheesecake from Cut’s talented new pastry chef Ligia Barros. For a more casual option, consider lively pasta-and-pizza standby Flavio across the street. Order popular pillowy ricotta gnocchi and savor a widely unknown fun fact: the brick-lined building was inventor Thomas Edison’s home back in the day. One of Georgetown’s most romantic twilight strolls is right along the nearby C&O Canal, which was finally refilled with water this year.
The corner of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW is the nightlife nucleus of the neighborhood. Hidden off the nearby Prospect Street alley is timeless and stylish Cafe Milano. Take notice of a Capitals Stanley Cup ring displayed upon exit, a glittery gift from the NHL team after their wild, post-win party there in 2018. Up a few blocks on Wisconsin Avenue, year-old Donahue is a scene-y magnet for Georgetown’s social set. An earpiece-wearing doorman on a red carpet welcomes guests below, where you can chug bubbles in a crowd-pleasing “chambong” or stay up with one of the better espresso martinis in Georgetown. Pro tip: the brightly-lit Wawa on Wisconsin Avenue, open 24 hours, is a beacon for late-night subs and snacks. And instead of spending at the hotel bar, shop local at decades-old Potomac Wine & Spirits to stock up the room.
A LEISURELY SATURDAY
Shake off a hangover by treating yourself to a giant, gooey cookie at Levain on M Street NW, the beloved bakery’s first location outside of NYC. You’ll need the carbs (and sunscreen) for a fun afternoon of alfresco shopping for goods from hundreds of local retailers and artisans at Georgetown Park’s Neighbors DC pop-up market (Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October). This weekend, the park is also home to the Capital Fringe Festival.
Time to freshen up a little more than usual and dress to impress at some of Georgetown’s classiest drinking and dining gems. Take a brisk walk along M Street to the outskirts of Georgetown to find swanky cocktail bar L’Annexe. A sophisticated back lounge surrounded with infused liquors on bookshelves is a prime place to enjoy elegant snacks and raclette burgers. Over a decade in, the Four Seasons Hotel’s dimly-lit Bourbon Steak across the street remains one of Georgetown’s hottest spots to see and be seen. For something new, keep walking east to discover a pair of side-by-side speakeasies: female-run Bottles Wine Bar for a secret garden vibes and The Setting, a trippy tasting room tucked under a jewelry store. On the walk back, ogle over some of Georgetown’s nicest row homes framing quaint Rose Park. It’s there you’ll stumble upon an unexpected surprise: chic Champagne-and-caviar bar Apéro.
Georgetown Piano Bar is the place to be on a Saturday night come 9 p.m., when the bustling basement venue showcases dueling piano players that take requests for pretty much any song. Dirt-cheap cocktails sent out 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 around since 1965, is among the last of its kind in D.C.
If a walk up the famed Exorcist stairs isn’t in the cards in this heat, another way to experience old-school Georgetown is checking out subterranean, stone-clad mainstay the Tombs for brunch. Framed with Ivy League rowing oars and other sports memorabilia, the handsome Hoyas favorite depicted in St. Elmo’s Fire keeps tradition alive with draft beers and stellar pub grub like Reubens and chili.