Georgetown Cupcake, M St., Georgetown, D.C.
Hu's Shoes, M St., Georgetown, D.C.
Egg by Susan Lazar, Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
J.Crew, M St., Georgetown, D.C.

Springtime Shopping and Touring in Georgetown, Washington D.C.

April in Washington, D.C. is very busy with tourists, students and locals clamoring to get out and enjoy the spring weather and many visit the free national museums and monuments. Cherry Blossom peak blooming (estimated to be March 18-23, 2016) and the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20th thru April 17th, 2016) are earlier this year due to the warmer temperatures. The first half of April is within the forecasted blooming period, but if school vacation leads you to visit later in April you will still get a beautiful array of spring blooms to lift your spirits and most likely warmer weather appreciated by those cooped up in colder climes. Walking is a great way to get around D.C., but it is a big city so it is best to focus. For shoppers though, Georgetown attracts the most attention. Removed from the busy city of downtown D.C. is Georgetown, home to Georgetown University which is on a hill overlooking the Potomoc River and the historic residential streets surrounding it. You find brightly colored row houses with beautiful (More)

French Market, Book Hill, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.

architectural details, as well as historic brick and stone buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

 

On M Street and Wisconsin Avenue, there are unique independent shops, as well as big name chain stores. Shopping in Georgetown has lots to offer, from practical outdoor clothing to international designer outfits. Cupcakes and macaron shops are delightful and very popular. Plenty of restaurants and cafes provide delicious meals during your shopping outing.

 

Walking uphill on Wisconsin Avenue leads you to Book Hill, a small section of independent shops, galleries and antique shops that hosts an annual French Market in April (Friday, April 29th to Sunday, May 1st, 2016) where shops display their wares in a sidewalk sale and provide French music and foods. Items for sale include jewelry, home decor, scarves, gifts and hats. There are small shops such as Egg by Susan Lazar, Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Appalachian Spring, Ella-Rue and Sherman-Pickey. Nearby steep stone stairs lead to views from Book Hill Park, a small park on Wisconsin Avenue with benches and pretty spring flowers. Also in April, there is the annual self-guided Georgetown House Tour which is a fund raiser organized by St. John's Episcopal Church for its outreach program and includes tea at the Parish.

 

After visiting Book Hill, walking back to M Street where most of the shops and restaurants are located, you can take the side streets off of Wisconsin Ave. and follow a self guided walking tour of JFK's houses, a favorite restaurant (Martin's Tavern) and his parish Church. Also, the Georgetown Trail of the African American Heritage self-guided walking trail includes 6 Georgetown locations most of which are east of Wisconsin Ave as you head back toward M Street. Back on M Street you can visit the Old Stone House built in 1765 and its backyard garden. The C&O canal runs parallel to M Street and the old towpath is now a walking and biking trail. DC by Foot offers many tours, including their Historic Georgetown Walking Tour if you are interested in a guided tour. See the Activities list on our Georgetown page for more information and helpful links.

 

The intersection of M and Wisconsin Streets is the heart of Georgetown shopping. Shoppers crowd the sidewalks. There are many chain stores, mostly upscale, that will have you wondering if perhaps you were transported to Boston's Newbury Street. There are H&M, Lucky Brand Jeans, Vineyard Vines, Lululemon, North Face, Barbour, Nike and many more. But small independent shops and boutiques are here too though you may need to hunt a bit. You can find Relish, Helia's, Venturi, Sal's Euro Fashion, Wink Boutique, Hill & Dale (music shop), Georgetown Running Co., GT Players, Hu's Shoes, Hu's Wear, and Tugooh Toys, Village Art & Craft (belly dancer apparel), and American Holiday. There are also antique shops and art galleries. For more information about shops and galleries, see our Georgetown page.

 

Cupcake and macaron stores are here too. Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles Cupcakes are very popular and customers line up for the delicious treats. Olivia Macarons and Lady Camelia Pastry & Tea Room have the light and colorful macaron. On side streets, find Dog Tag Bakery, Baked and Wired and Saxby's Coffee. Cupcakes, frozen yogurt and ice cream shops are great for a needed break and possible a cool down if temperatures get into the 70's. Thomas Sweet Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt, Sweet Frog, Ben & Jerry's, Haagen Daaz, Iceberry and Pinkberry offer dessert options. Many types of restaurants from casual to elegant populate this area, such as DC Wisey's, Pizzeria Paradiso, Paolo's Ristorante, Clyde's and 1789 to name just a few (see our Georgetown page for more details and a list of restaurants.)

 

When venturing the 1 1/2 miles from Georgetown to the start of the National Mall and the White House in downtown DC, there are several ways to travel. Walk about 1 mile to Foggy bottom subway stop then take the subway to your destination, or walk all the way to the White House. Alternatively, take a bus ride from Georgetown to downtown DC, on the Circulator bus or the Metrobus and this will get you to within several blocks of the White House and National Mall, or take a bus all the way to the Capitol Building.

 

Walking on the National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial brings you past museums, monuments, fountains and pools of water providing a serene park. Although the cherry trees around the Tidal Basin at the Jefferson Memorial will have likely passed their peak bloom in April, daffodils, tulips and many spring plants abound.

 

In D.C, your walking shoes will get quite the workout visiting the many monuments and museums. The Smithsonian Museums are free to the public though reservations or guided tours for some sites such as the White House, Capitol, National Archives and Washington Monument are recommended at this busy time of year. Plan in advance, and note that some monuments may be unavailable during certain times due to special events or construction projects. Many families and school groups spend their April vacation break in DC so you may encounter crowds. Monument gift shops have fun and educational souvenirs.

 

After visiting the sites on foot or tour bus, back on M Street in Georgetown you can walk south on Wisconsin Ave downhill toward the Potomoc River and visit Georgetown Waterfront Park. It has a large fountain, benches and a riverfront promenade. Walking left along the river leads you to the Washington Harbor Complex which has restaurants, some with river views and outdoor seating, as well as fountains and in winter, an outdoor ice skating rink. Restaurants here include Farmers Fishers Bakers, Nick's Riverside Grill, Fiola Mare, TbSP and Sequoia. There is a Starbucks coffee shop too. Strolling along the walkway, you can see the Kennedy Center, Watergate Complex, Key Bridge and across the river, the city of Arlington. Tour boats and kayaks occasionally pass by. This is a nice place to relax and take in the scenic views after a busy day of shopping.

 

If Georgetown is your base for visiting the capital, there are several hotels and inns in which to stay, as well as a movie theater (AMC Loews) and music venues (Gypsy Sally's and Blues Alley.) Hotels and inns that are in Georgetown or less than a mile away include Georgetown Suites, Georgetown Inn, Four Seasons, The Graham Georgetown, Washington Marriott Georgetown, Capella Washington DC, Ritz Carlton Georgetown, Park Hyatt Georgetown, The River Inn, Savoy Suites, Westin Georgetown, Embassy Suites Washington DC Georgetown. Several hotels over the Key Street Bridge in Arlington, Virginia (Marriott Key Bridge, Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, Le Meridien Arlington, and Residence Inn Arlington Rosslyn) are 1-3 miles from M Street and are a good alternative when DC hotels are crowded. See Where to Stay on our Georgetown page for helpful links.

 

There is so much to do that on your first trip you will only be able to scratch the surface of all that Georgetown and DC have to offer. Washington, D.C. is an exciting place to visit, and Georgetown is an accessible and fun location with lots of shopping and restaurants. Enjoy Georgetown for the day or stay here and explore its avenues and side streets. It is a worthwhile addition to your Springtime visit to the capital and a destination in itself.

 

-M.A. Barrett (March 2016)

 

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Lincoln Memorial statue, Washington, D.C.
View of C&O Canal, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.
Olivia Macaron, M St., Georgetown, D.C.
Georgetown Waterfront Park near the Washington Harbor Complex,  Georgetown, D.C.

Scenic Shopping Information about Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Olivia Macaron, M St., Georgetown, D.C.
M Street shoppers, Georgetown, D.C.
Georgetown Lutheran Church spring flowers, Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown, D.C.