Georgetown is a district of Washington, D.C. located along the waterfront. This historic neighborhood is the oldest in D.C. and is one of the best places to base your stay while exploring the capital city as well as being one of the top communities in which to live.
Whether you’re planning a visit or moving into one of the Georgetown apartments, understanding what it’s known for will give you a great head start.
As mentioned, this is Washington, D.C.’s oldest neighborhood, settled back in the 17th-century, originally known as George Town, named after England’s King George II. It was founded in 1751, predating the creation of the District of Columbia by four decades. In fact, it was a separate municipality until after the Civil War.
After the Potomac Canal was constructed it was incorporated as George Town in 1789 and became a bustling trade center. It wasn’t until 1871 that it merged into D.C. and seven years later it was annexed into the district. In 1950, Congress passed legislation to preserve the character of the Heights section to be called Old Georgetown, which was later designated as a national historic district.
Today you’ll find shady, narrow streets reminiscent of times gone bylined with many magnificent homes. There are plenty of historic landmarks, including The Old Stone House, the oldest in D.C. It sits in the heart of Georgetown, built in 1765. Tudor Place Historic House and Garden, referred to as the “Estate of the Nation,” sits high atop a hill overlooking the river and the neighborhood. It can be seen by enjoying a tea session or a tour that will also reveal the impeccably preserved gardens and their early 19th-century character.
Georgetown may best be known for its university that dates all the way back to 1789, the oldest Catholic institution of higher education in the country. While it’s not an Ivy League school, it’s often considered to be on par with them as an elite private school with outstanding academic and athletic programs.
The institution is one of the best for those who want to earn a degree in political science or global studies, with admission extremely competitive. It has a beautiful campus that’s home to Healy Hall, a massive building constructed in 1882 that’s considered one of the university’s centerpieces.
Living in Georgetown isn’t just convenient for students attending the university, it puts residents within easy walking distance of the main business areas, the Kennedy Center, government offices, and countless upscale shops, restaurants, and bars.
As it’s located on the Potomac River, Georgetown is also known for its activities on the water. One can enjoy boat tours, paddleboarding, kayaks, and more. The Key Bridge Boathouse rents kayaks providing an ideal way to see the area from a different perspective.
If you don’t want to get out on the water, you can watch the boats or feed the ducks. Plus you’ll have opportunities for waterfront dining with many restaurants offering patio seating when the weather is warm like Farmers Fishers Bakers or Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place.
Georgetown can boast many former and current famous residents, including Francis Scott Key, known for writing The Star-Spangled Banner. He arrived as a young lawyer in 1808, moving into a home on M Street. Alexander Graham Bell lived here due to many legal hearings related to his telephone patents.
His earliest switching office for the Bell System sits just beneath the C&O Canal and it’s still in use as a phone facility. Others include John F. Kennedy who lived in Georgetown as a Congressman and Senator, and actress Elizabeth Taylor who resided in the community when she was married to Senator John Warner.
Current notable residents include Bob Woodward, who was a reporter for the Washington Post during Watergate and is currently an associate editor for the publication. Former Secretaries of State John Kerry and Dr. Madeleine Albright both reside here as well.
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