Seven Georgetowns: Lower Georgetown

GM is continuing to re-run his Seven Georgetowns series. Today, it’s lower Georgetown:

This week for GM’s series “Seven Georgetowns” GM is exploring the most overlooked corner of Georgetown: lower Georgetown.

As a quick reminder, this series is about demonstrating how Georgetown is really made up of seven distinct sub-neighborhoods that each could stand on their own as a neighborhood even if they weren’t surrounded by the other six sevenths of Georgetown.

When GM says that lower Georgetown is overlooked, what he means is that to people who live north of M St., it is a bit of a mystery. We know people live there, but they seem separate and apart from the rest of Georgetown. This, in fact, is a complaint GM has heard multiple times from residents of lower Georgetown.

And to be fair, it really is quite different from the rest of Georgetown. While there are a small handful of small rowhouses–which look much like small rowhouses north of M St.–the vast majority of households south of M St. are in apartment buildings. These range from modestly priced to some of the most expensive properties in DC.

And life below M St. has a surprising amount to offer. Most obviously there is the river. And the second best way to enjoy the river is to enjoy a walk or picnic at the Georgetown Waterfront Park. This beautiful park, which was completed in 2011, attracts huge crowds every weekend, and yet remains perfectly enjoyable. And the best way to enjoy the river is to get on it. And lower Georgetown offers plenty of opportunities to do so. There are public boat rentals from Thompson’s Boat House at the southeast corner of Georgetown, and at Key Bridge Boathouse at the southwest corner. Additionally there are two private historic boating clubs, Potomac Boat Club and Washington Canoe Club, which offer its members rowing and paddling respectively.

And don’t forget that Roosevelt Island is DC land, which makes it Georgetown land, which makes it lower Georgetown land.

Lower Georgetown also offers great access to regional trails, including the Capital Crescent Trail, Rock Creek Trail, and Mt. Vernon Trail (via Key Bridge).

And lower Georgetown offers plenty of nightlife. Even excluding the south side of M St., lower Georgetown has a lot to offer. There’s Washington Harbour, of course, which has several restaurants ranging from the affordable (Riverside Grill) to the budget-busting (Fiola Mare).

But lower Georgetown nightlife isn’t confined to just Washington Harbour. There’s Georgetown’s Little Italy (31st St.) which offers three different Italian restaurants. There’s the superb Chez Billy Sud. And several hotel restaurants, including the legendary Four Seasons and the Grill Room.

As for entertainment, there’s the legendary Blues Alley jazz club, Gypsy Sally’s rock club (ed: sadly it closed last year), Pinstripes bowling alley, and the thoroughly modernized AMC Georgetown movie theater.

And we’re only now getting to the Millennial Magnet that is Wisconsin Ave. and Grace St. This hive of salads and lyrcra has emerged as a hugely popular spot for the younger set. They’re drawn by the Soul Cycle, the Sweetgreen, Chaia Tacos, Dog Tag Bakery, and the Grace Street food hall, which includes Sundavich (ed: sadly this closed as well), Grace Street Coffee, and South Block Juice. (ed: it’s not all closures; the wonderful Georgetown Butcher has opened since this first ran.)

There are some drawbacks to living among this abundance. The highest concern mentioned is traffic. K St. and Wisconsin Ave. get extremely congested during rush hour and during the weekends. Road design changes eventually could be made to discourage pointless driving west of Wisconsin Ave. on Water St., but that’s still a ways away.

Also, there are no civic buildings (i.e. libraries, post offices, etc.) below M St. Although there is a Bright Horizons Day Care and a Montessori school.


Really, lower Georgetown has an enormous amount to offer. Residents living there don’t have a ton of reasons to venture north of M St. and are probably perfectly content to be overlooked a bit.


1 Comment

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One response to “Seven Georgetowns: Lower Georgetown

  1. Wonderful series. The only change I’d suggest is to place boundaries on rear property lines rather than in the middle of streets.

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