Georgetown is truly the sparkling gem of historic Washington, DC. Located in the Northwest quadrant (section) of the city, Georgetown is bordered by the Potomac River and C&O Canal, Glover Park and Rock Creek Park. Among Georgetown’s notable landmarks? Georgetown University takes center stage, of course, with its soaring Gothic architecture, stone walls and lovely, walkable campus on a hill top overlooking the rest of Georgetown. Old Stone House, City Tavern, Tutor Place, Healy Hall, Dumbarton Oaks, Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts are among other landmarks within Georgetown proper. Each has its own story and past. The neighborhood itself is a study of Americana as architectural elements from each era distinguish home from home, building from building, along Georgetown’s picturesque streets. Cobblestones dot the byways and it’s not too difficult to imagine days long gone by.
The heart of Georgetown is where M Street and Wisconsin Avenue intersect. From here, walk in any direction, and you’ll find an assortment of stylish, upscale shops, eateries, bars and clubs, and so much more, amid Georgetown’s famous, historic buildings and streets. How on earth did Georgetown turn the corner from its historic past to become the stylish and fashionable DC neighborhood it has become today? Some might say it’s complicated.
What Makes Georgetown Stylish?
With Georgetown’s rich colonial history and original role as the municipal capital of the District of Columbia, the area could have become antique and so-yesterday or out-of-style. But, several factors combined to protect Georgetown from obscurity, including political gravitas and community involvement.
How so? Down through the years, some of the leading political figures of the day were charmed by Georgetown’s history and culture, including John F. Kennedy who owned a residence in the beautiful neighborhood while serving as a member of the House and Senate. The stylish parties thrown by Jacqueline Kennedy and other political hostesses lured the powerful away from the traditional downtown mainstays and into Georgetown, making this neighborhood a hub for political discussion and strategy. Georgetown’s Martin’s Tavern claims to be there very place JFK proposed to his darling Jackie. Publisher Katherine Graham of Washington Post fame maintained a home in Georgetown, as has Senators John Kerry, John Edwards, among other notable residents.
Several movies put Georgetown on the style map and several more have kept it there. From St. Elmo’s Fire, The Man with One Red Shoe, Chances Are, True Lies, Dave, and The Jackal to Spy Games, No Way Out and Transformers, among many others, Hollywood directors have long found the streets of Georgetown appealing backdrops for action, intrigue and adventure on the silver screen. Georgetown also lured The West Wing to its corner of the city.
Georgetown is so influential and such a trend-setter for DC that several publications call Georgetown home, including Georgetown Dish, Georgetown Metropolitan, Georgetown Current, Georgetowner, and Georgetown University’s Hoya, Voice, and Independent. America Online (AOL) is reportedly launching its first online neighborhood publication, Georgetown Patch in this hallowed section of the national capital region.
How Community Involvement Puts Georgetown on the Map
At the same time, the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) formed to ensure that Georgetown was protected from developers and grew to become a fashionable, stylish neighborhood in the Nation’s Capital. CAG has worked hard for years to protect, defend and preserve the “historic character” of Georgetown while making it a great place to live and work. CAG tackles important issues for the residents of this diverse community, from zoning, beautification and historic preservation to alcohol beverage control, public safety and security. Unlike most citizens associations, CAG must balance the needs of private citizens and commercial interests alongside a world-class academic institution and medical center. It can’t be an easy task. But, the future of historic Georgetown and all that comes with it today is certainly a worthy cause.
Georgetown’s Business Improvement District Makes Things Happen
Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) also injects style and energy in one of Washington, DC’s most historic neighborhoods. Each month, Georgetown BID hosts a variety of networking events to bring in the crowds and get people buzzing about Georgetown’s unique character. Fashion Night Out, a great Fall event, where more than 80 Georgetown stores, restaurants, and salons stay open for extended hours, brings thousands of people in for its fun and stylish promotional events. Georgetown BID also works with local business owners to host hip gallery openings, charity events, holiday trunk and fashion shows, fine dining and tastings, grand openings, product launches, and so much more.
There’s lots of energy in Georgetown, waiting just for you. Check out Georgetown on your next free weekend. You’ll be surprised at how much is going on every weekend in this great, historic area of Washington, DC.
Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG)
Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID)
Government of District of Columbia
Official Tourism Site – Washington, DC
Capitol of Fashion
Fashion Night Out