Beyond Georgetown’s trendy shops, celebrated restaurants, and lively nightlife, lies a historic port city with deep roots and old-fashioned charm.
Lined with quaint cobblestone streets and 18th and 19th century architecture, the neighborhood is a perfect blend of old and new. Georgetown, founded in 1751, predates Washington. In fact, DC’s oldest neighborhood was established 40 years before Washington as a tobacco port town in Maryland. Georgetown also housed a lumber yard, a cement works, and the Washington Flour Mill. Two of Washington’s oldest buildings, the Old Stone House and the City Tavern Club are Georgetown landmarks, and the neighborhood has served as home to a long list of famous residents including former U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy- making Georgetown a true historic destination.
Georgetown is renowned for federalist architecture, historic brick and frame row houses, cobblestone streets and multimillion dollar mansions dating back to the mid-1700s. Many of these historic places offer guided tours of their beautiful sites, estates, and gardens, including:
John and Jacqueline Kennedy, one of Washington’s most stylish couples, loved and lived in Georgetown, one of Washington’s most stylish neighborhoods. Visitors enjoy the Self-Guided Kennedy Walking Tour retracing the Kennedys’ journeys through their happiest and most tragic times. Relive the memories of one of America’s most iconic couples.
African Americans have lived and worked in Georgetown since its beginning. Follow the African American Heritage Trail to see the institutions and homes of Herring Hill, a 15-block area of eastern-most Georgetown, that was a magnet for families migrating to Washington after the Civil War.
Georgetown is home to world-renowned Georgetown University, the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S. It is also within a 15-minute walk to The George Washington University, bringing a combined student population of more than 28,000 to the area.
In addition to Georgetown’s political and social history, the neighborhood has quite a history in entertainment. Blues Alley, the oldest, continuously-operated jazz supper club in America, is both a locally recognized landmark and an international jazz icon. The venue has hosted every major jazz artist from Ella Fitzgerald to Count Basie to Dizzy Gillespie, Tony Bennett and Wynton Marsalis. For movie buffs, Georgetown will take you to the movies on its self-guided Celebrity Film Sites Tour featuring popular sites such as the Exorcist stairs and bar and restaurant featured in “St. Elmo’s Fire.”
In 1967, Georgetown was designated a National Historic Landmark and is included in the Inventory of Historic Places as well as the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more about Georgetown History, visit the Georgetown Library’s Peabody Room, which houses historical and current materials related to the history, culture and economy of Georgetown.