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Guide to Georgetown
On Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, Northwest, you'll find college prepsters and business-types looking for the latest fashion or a tasty bite. By sara levine
Comments () | Published May 1, 2008
Photograph by Sara Levine

Closest metro: Foggy Bottom (orange line).

THE SCENE
Georgetown is often pigeonholed as quaint, slightly stodgy, old-school DC, with its cobblestone streets, multi-million dollar 18th- and 19th-century row houses occupied by old-money Washingtonians, and the Gothic architecture of Georgetown University. Recent exploration uncovers a new face of Georgetown. You’ll find hip little boutiques among big name fashion chains on Wisconsin Avenue and M Streets, tasty snack spots tucked away on side streets, restaurants that contradict Georgetown’s reputation for culinary mediocrity, and options for a night out devoid of drunken, popped-collared college kids.

SHOPPING

A Mano (1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-7200): A Mano is Italian for “by hand,” and most of the home goods sold here—ceramics, stemware, linens, leather, decorative accessories—are made that way by European artisans, mostly Italian and French.

Bluemercury (3059 M St., NW; 202-965-1300): This chic spa and apothecary offers seven kinds of facials and products from the likes of Trish McEvoy, Kiehl’s, Bliss and Frederic Fekkai, so you can continue to pamper yourself at home. 

Dean & Deluca (3276 M St., NW; 202-342-2500): Foodies are in heaven at this upscale food emporium, with everything from wine to sushi to baked goods to hot prepared foods served by cooks behind a counter. There are plenty of samples of cheese, cookies, and gourmet packaged snacks to sate you as you roam the store.

Intermix (3222 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-8080): This import from Fifth Avenue stocks fashion forward clothing and accessories by Chloe, Catherine Malandrino, Michael Kors and many other top American and international designers.

Wink (3109 M St., NW; 202-338-9465): Hidden below street level, Wink is a great find for trendy, casual clothes. They carry jeans by 7, Citizens for Humanity, and Paige, basic tees and tanks from Splendid and James Perse.

DINING

Baked & Wired (1052 Thomas Jefferson St.; 202-333-2500): This tiny bake shop is open only on weekdays, but it’s worth a trip on your lunch break for one of their dreamy strawberry cupcakes or a sinful brownie-chocolate chip cookie.

Ching Ching Cha (1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-8288): An oasis in the middle of bustling Wisconsin Avenue, stop here for a soothing cup of one of their 48 teas and a snack or light meal of spicy peanuts, steamed dumplings filled with lamb, and chicken “rolls” wrapped in puff pastry.

Citronelle (3000 M St., NW; 202-265-2150): One of Washington’s most applauded culinary gems—ranked 12th on Gourmet magazine’s 2006 list of the 50 best restaurants in the nation—resides in the Latham Hotel. Chef Michel Richard is known for his imaginative whims on the plate, including Mosaic Surf and Turf -- thin slices of beef, eel, and scallop, among others, the bright colors arranged like a stained glass window, and his legendary “breakfast” dessert that comes out on a room service-style tray with thin cookies that resemble bacon, pound cake standing in for toast, and mousse that looks like eggs.

Dolcezza (1560 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-4646): Devotees to Italian gelato will not be disappointed by this Argentine shop, with offbeat flavors like avocado and fig.

Leopold’s Kafe and Konditorei (3315 Cady’s Alley at 33rd and M Sts., NW; 202-965-6005): This Austrian restaurant/coffeehouse is open straight from 8 a.m. through dinner hours, but stop by for a weekend brunch to enjoy the delectable lemon ricotta souffle pancakes, with fresh berries and passion fruit sauce. For something savory, steer towards “Leopold’s Fruehstueck,” a filling platter of eggs, cured and smoked ham, and toast.

ART & FUN

Blue Gin (1206 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-965-5555): Young professionals flock to this club/lounge that describes itself as Washington’s first “boutique nightclub.” There are three bars, including an upstairs Martini Bar where mixologists serve flavors like watermelon, passion fruit and pomegranate using fresh fruit in place of of sugary syrups. Plasma TVs add to the sleek, minimalist design, and two separate rooms feature local, national and international DJs spinning a wide range of music, from classic R&B to 80s to house.

Blues Alley (1073 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-4141): This intimate Washington institution was modeled after jazz supper clubs of the ‘20s and ‘30s, with exposed brick walls and candlelit tables. Many big time jazz artists have come through Blues Alley since it opened in 1965, including Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Eva Cassidy, Wynton Marsalis, and Maynard Ferguson. There are usually two shows each night, at 8 and 10pm.

Capitol Crescent/Georgetown Branch Trail: Georgetown may not be a very metro-friendly area, but it’s easy and fun to get here on the Capitol Crescent trail by bike, on rollerblades, or just on foot. The 11-mile trail starts in Silver Spring, MD, winds through Bethesda and Chevy Chase and ends right on the Georgetown waterfront.

Loews Georgetown 14 (3111 K St., NW; 202-342-6441): After a day of shopping, take in a movie at this multiplex (14 theaters) situated in a prime location, right on Georgetown’s waterfront. After sitting for a couple of hours, it’s the perfect time for a walk along the Potomac, to take in the scenery and boisterous tourists at the waterfront bars.

GREAT ITINERARY

A perfect Saturday in Georgetown starts with a laid-back brunch at Snap, a sunny little creperie with plenty of options both sweet and savory (1062 Thomas Jefferson St., NW; 202-965-7627). Then head down to the waterfront, perhaps to watch talented kids from all over the area row in a high-school regatta. Then, browse and window-shop the afternoon away with stops at a few of our shopping picks above, as well as at Coach (3259 M St., NW; 202-333-3005) for bags, Sassanova (1641 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-471-4400) for shoes, and Ralph Lauren's Rugby store (1065 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-5928) for “edgy/preppy” casualwear. A scoop of rich gianduja (a chocolate/hazelnut combination) gelato from Dolcezza should tide you over until dinner.

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This article is part of Washingtonian's Visitors' Guide. For more articles like it, click here.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 05/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles