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Georgetown (Washington DC), Washington, DC

What to see in Georgetown?

I will be traveling alone and I prefer walking around to see attractions. I only have 2 days in DC and want to spend a day exploring Georgetown and the national mall. Is this enough time to see all important monuments and places in Georgetown? What are can't miss things to see?

7 Answers

top answer by
Ellen from Washington, DC

Although you certainly could meander around Georgetown for a whole day, I frankly don't think it's worth it if you only have two days in DC. It has become very touristy, and a lot of what you will see are the same stores you could see almost anywhere else in the U.S.

That said, I would look carefully at a map and set up a walking plan that includes the C&O Canal towpath  and Dumbarton Oaks Museum (with a world-class museum of pre-Colombian art and gorgeous park and gardens).  If you plot your walk to include these places, along the way you can see some of M Street and Wisconsin Avenues  (the main commercial area) as well as the residential streets with their typical houses. The waterfront park along the Potomac St NW, with its views, is also pleasant if it's a nice day, and you can eat or get a drink there.

 Everything I have suggested here could fit into a half day. You might go there lunch at the waterfront, for example, and then do your visits. Or end up at the waterfront, possibly for the sunset.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Dumbarton Oaks Museum (attraction)
  2. M Street (hotel)
  3. Potomac St NW (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
peggy from Washington, DC

Wow! Two days is really not enough time so you'll have to use your time wisely. Decide which monuments and museums you want to visit. They are all free and very busy year round, so there may be specific things in each place you will want to see instead of trying to see an entire museum at once. The walk from the United States Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial is about 4 miles roundtrip. If you are a walker, it is easily done but if not I suggest you break it up. You can view the Capitol up close or from 3rd Street and Madison where you can get a good view and a few photos. From there you should walk along the National Mall and stop in any museums that interest you. That will take you up to 14th street. As soon as you cross 14th you will be at the Washington Monument, where you can go to the top for a city view before turning around and walking the other side of the Mall.

Washington is very safe at night, not to mention the fact there will be hundreds of people walking around. Since you have so little time, I would suggest seeing any Memorials you are interested in at night. Beyond the Washington Monument is the National World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. These places are absolutely beautiful at night and it will be cooler and more enjoyable to go in the evening.

You can cross the street near the Korean War Memorial and take a walk around the Tidal Basin. There you will see the Jefferson Memorial, the MLK Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. Perhaps you can walk the Tidal Basin your second evening so it's not too much in one day. You may want to go between 6 and 8, while it is still light out. Have a quick dinner before hand or pick up a picnic dinner and eat around the Tidal Basin. There are benches to relax.

Just a note, there are no bathrooms open in the evening along the Mall where the museums are. There are plenty of bathrooms where the Monuments are, including one right under the Lincoln Memorial and there are actually two at the FDR Memorial along the Tidal Basin. Other than those there are bathrooms located in little buildings along the Reflecting Pool. 

Each museum has a cafeteria and the Pavilion Café has a Café that is a very nice spot to sit and relax outside. Next to the National Air and Space Museum is a portable mini McDonalds for fast food. Otherwise, I suggest picking up some food or snacks and carrying it in a backpack.

Since you are traveling alone you may not feel comfortable walking at night. Look into some of the night tours offered. There are evening bike tours, Segway yours and walking tours that go specifically to the Monuments in the evening.

Not sure why you want to visit Georgetown (Washington DC). It is just regular commercial stores on very busy streets with restaurants and bars in the area. It is very crowded and can be expensive. I saw the mention of Georgetown Cupcake. The cupcakes are very good but a tourist draw and there is always a line around the block that can take up to an hour. Don't waste your time! You can get a good cupcake anywhere! If you do go to Georgetown, try to limit yourself to 2-3 hours. That would give you plenty of time to walk around and get a feel for the area and visit some shops.

Have a wonderful time. Washington is an incredible city and I know you will be back!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. United States Capitol (attraction)
  2. Lincoln Memorial (attraction)
  3. National Mall (attraction)
  4. Washington Monument (attraction)
  5. National World War II Memorial (attraction)
  6. Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (attraction)
  7. Korean War Veterans Memorial (attraction)
  8. Tidal Basin (attraction)
  9. MLK Memorial (attraction)
  10. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (attraction)
  11. Pavilion Café (restaurant)
  12. National Air and Space Museum (attraction)
  13. Georgetown (Washington DC) (neighborhood)
  14. Georgetown Cupcake (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Alex from Miami, Florida

check out the staircase used to film the movie The Exorcist. They are right next to the Key Bridge that leads to Rosslyn, but on the georgetown side! Also Georgetown Cupcake is delicious! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Key Bridge (attraction)
  2. Rosslyn (city)
  3. Georgetown Cupcake (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered first by
Tiffany from Corvallis

Will you spend one day in each or try do do both areas in the same day?   One day each is preferable, but if you get up early and stay out late and really pack it in, it is possible to see quite a bit in one day.

There's a list below of the National Mall museums in order of location if you do a circle around the mall. Since they're all free, unless there are horrible lines, it's easy to pop in and out, see what interests you, and move on. The worst lines are at the Natural History Museum (and around the Hope Diamond) and the National Archives during the summer.

So you want to see the Monuments too? If you do, you can see all the main monuments in about three hours. I'll list them in order of a walking tour loop. Washington Monument, National World War II MemorialConstitution Gardens,  Vietnam War Veteran's Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, MLK Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt MemorialThomas Jefferson Memorial. From here you'd loop back along the Tidal Basin towards the National Mall.

At the National Mall, starting at the Washington Monument and walking on the right towards the United States Capitol, you'll find the following museums in order if you walk a loop around the mall.

  1. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery house the Asian art collection. It's an excellent collection and one of my favorites, but it's all Asian art, so if your interests lie elsewhere, this is one to either see quickly or skip altogether.
  2. National Museum of African Art - Like the Freer and Sackler galleries, this is a specialized collection, so it's wonderful to stop in and see, but you can adjust your time to your interest.
  3. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - I personally love this collection, but I also love sculpture. It's not as "popular," but it gets some really interesting exhibits. Walk around it to see outdoor sculptures and duck inside if you have time to see what they have going on.
  4. National Air and Space Museum - I personally think this is the most boring museum on the mall and I prefer the airplane-packed counterpart near the Dulles airport (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center), but, this is a popular museum and others love it.
  5. National Museum Of The American Indian - Beautiful rotating exhibits. See the video on the top floor and then see the exhibits that interest you. This is where you eat on the mall. The Mitsitam Cafe is a cultural experience in itself. Amazing!
  6. The United States Botanic Garden is beautiful, but it gets hot in the summer months. I particularly love their orchid collection.
  7. Cross the mall here to see the National Gallery of Art- Get a map and choose the room/rooms that interest you most and check out any special exhibits. I love the impressionist rooms, but you'll find the only DaVinci painting in the US here and it's worth swinging by. (Good gelato and coffee in the basement)
  8. National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden - This is just next to the National Gallery of Art and an easy 5 minute walk to zigzag through to see a few sculptures and relax a moment by the fountain.
  9. US National Archives - Go early to avoid crowds and see the Magna Carta, US Constitution and Bill of Rights. If there aren't horrible lines, you can be in and out in 10-20 minutes.There are other parts of this museum, but those three are the top priorities on a tight schedule.
  10. Museum of Natural History - I think the Hope Diamond and mineral exhibits are the most interesting here, but they also have an amazing dinosaur exhibit, so check out their website ahead of time and see what you'll enjoy best.
  11. National Museum of American History - Don't miss the Star Spangled Exhibit on the first floor. It has the actual flag that flew over Ft. McHenry during the War of 1912. Incredible exhibit. Also, the first ladies' dresses exhibit is fun.

Georgetown: I love to just walk around Georgetown, window shop, and explore. It's a fun area. Here are some highlights, but if you're short on time, pick one or two and just walk. Georgetown is as much a place to be than a place to really tour.




1 thanks

answered by
Margot from Washington, DC

Two days is not much time to cover could spend an entire day in one or two museums. If you go down to the National Mall you will cover most of the museums, but you really need more time to get a good mix. Also, Georgetown (Washington DC) is nice to see, but the museums are a better use of your time. Maybe you could see museums during the day then pick a spot in the evening after the museums close to go to dinner in Georgetown. The Water Front Center (K Street) is nice in G'town to eat, but you'll also want to go back up a few blocks to M Street and Wisconsin Avenue to see the shops, etc.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. National Mall (attraction)
  2. Georgetown (Washington DC) (neighborhood)
  3. Water Front Center (attraction)

answered by
Jim from Washington, DC

Georgetown (Washington DC) is mostly people-watching or buying at nice but expensive shops.  Washington National Cathedral is at n. end of Gtown if you want to take that in.  I'd spend most of my time on the Mall.  The museums can eat up 2 days easily.  Don't miss Freer & Sackler Galleries Museum Shop for East-Asian art; great offerings but not s widely appreciated as the others.

answered by
Dani from Oakland

Honestly there is not much in Georgetown (Washington DC), except for shopping.  Spend your time at the museums and seeing the monuments.  The shopping in Georgetown can be done in an anywhere in the world.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Georgetown (Washington DC) (neighborhood)

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