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8 Exciting Things to See & Do Along the Georgetown Waterfront
DC’s oldest neighborhood offers a wide range of on- or near-the-water fun.
While Georgetown’s cobblestone streets, cupcake stores, historic bars and stylish boutiques account for many of its charms, Washington, DC’s oldest neighborhood also sports a bevy of waterfront recreation that any visitor can thoroughly enjoy. From on-the-water revelry to dining accompanied by spectacular scenery to highly anticipated annual events, the Georgetown waterfront presents an array of activities for you to explore. And while you're there, discover the rest of the best things to see and do in Georgetown.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better afternoon on the water. Key Bridge Boathouse is the place to go to rent kayaks, canoes or to take a paddling lesson. You’ll enjoy incredible panoramas of the Potomac River and the DC and Virginia skylines while also getting a great workout. For the adventurous fitness fanatics, try the stand-up paddleboard yoga or fitness classes.
Georgetown’s river waterfront is home to tons of great restaurants – many, including Sequoia, Tony and Joe's Seafood Place and Farmers Fishers Bakers, offer patio seating in warm weather – and plenty of outdoor activities. In summer, children (and adults, too) can splash in the sprinkler-style water fountain, watch the boats and feed the ducks. Before or after, get your shopping on in the historic neighborhood.
Georgetown Waterfront Park beckons on a summer night, just as the sun’s going down, with a view of the Kennedy Center to the left and the Key Bridge to the right. Beyond its stunning views and ample space for recreation, the park also offers event options during the summertime. Georgetown Sunset Fitness in the Park is a free series of outdoor fitness classes, running June through August. If you’re more into relaxing than exercising, check out Georgetown Sunset Cinema, a free movie series that runs in July and August.
Georgetown also presents miles of trails for walking, biking or running alongside the Potomac River and the C&O Canal. The gorgeous C&O Canal Towpath and Capital Crescent Trail are two of the most popular trails in the region, with each presenting eye-popping vistas of water. Cyclists will also especially appreciate the nearly 50 public bike racks located throughout the neighborhood, as well as eight Capital Bikeshare stations and a bike fixit repair station on K/Water Street.
*Note that the C&O Canal Towpath is currently undergoing restoration, so some areas may be closed or require a detour.
The C&O Canal and the Potomac River are located just south of M Street, and in between the two bodies of water are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. You’ll find an array of bakeries, coffee shops and boutiques in this waterfront district, as well as architectural marvels and remnants of Georgetown’s industrial past.
One of Georgetown’s signature events takes place right near the water. Taste of Georgetown is an annual fall celebration of food, wine, and music that has been one of Washington, DC’s premier neighborhood events for more than 20 years. More than 60 signature dishes from over 30 of the restaurants are available for sampling, and you can also savor wine and craft beer pairings and family-friendly activities.
From mid-November through March, Washington Harbour’s dancing fountain turns into prime ice skating real estate. Nighttime means magic, as dozens of twinkling snowflakes light up the rink right next to the Potomac River.
Throughout December of each year, visitors can experience the sparkle of the season during Georgetown GLOW, the region’s only curated exhibition of outdoor public light art installations. Established in 2014, the innovative exhibition has quickly become one of the city’s most anticipated holiday spectacles.