A Day in Georgetown: 24 Hours in Washington DC’s Hippest Neighborhood
November 9, 2017
Last updated on October 25, 2019.
I was recently in DC for a work trip, and of course I extended it for some personal time to explore the city! I’ve been to DC multiple times before, but usually just for the day and mostly around the National Mall and monuments. This time I was looking for something different, and I’d heard great things about Georgetown, so I did some research to get recommendations. The moment I realized that the famous steps from The Exorcist were there, I was sold! Shhh, don’t tell my friends at home in Syracuse, but I really loved Georgetown! Such a great neighborhood, even if the bulldogs are one of Syracuse’s biggest rivals.
While making plans to meet a friend for a quick dinner, she recommended Surfside for tacos. Located right near Dupont Circle, Surfside was a great choice! The restaurant is window-service with tables on the sidewalk and is open 24 hours a day! Mexican food whenever you want! And not just average tacos or burritos. These were absolutely delicious, original, and made with fresh ingredients. I ordered the Rio tacos – pork with pineapple and cotija cheese… yum! Each of the menu options is also named after a famous city, which is such a clever idea. Next time you’re near Georgetown/Dupont Circle, visit Surfside. And order a horchata!
Since I was there on a work trip, arrangements were provided for the first few nights, so I just needed to book one night for myself because I wanted to extend my time in DC. As I usually do, I wanted something unique and different, and I was willing to spend a little bit more for just the one night. I found rave reviews online of the Hotel Tabard Inn, a bed and breakfast spot nestled among the other brownstones and restaurants in a great location in DC. The Tabard is overflowing with charm and great service. The people at the front desk were incredibly helpful!
Staying at the Tabard is like stepping back in time. Your key is an actual key (not a plastic card), attached to a block of wood with your room number burned into it. You have to turn your key in at the front desk before leaving the hotel each day, then collect in when you come back in. There are private rooms with shared bathrooms down the hall – it’s a perfect spot for a solo-traveler. My room was small, but very cozy. The jug of water and glasses on the nightstand were a pleasant surprise.
With my reservation I got $15 dining credit for their restaurant, so I started my day with breakfast in the outside patio. First of all, the patio was like a secret garden hidden among the hustle and bustle of DC. It was wonderful! The waitstaff was incredible – super friendly and very helpful. Even though I was by myself, they made me feel important. If you’re having breakfast there, get yourself a Tabard doughnut. A freshly fried doughnut coated with cinnamon sugar and served with homemade whipped cream. It was the perfect morning treat!
Okay, on to Georgetown. Since Washington is such a walkable city, and it was unusually warm for October, I walked most of the day. I highly recommend walking through cities whenever you can because you get to experience so much more! You’ll come across things you didn’t know about before and get to know the city that much better. The first thing that surprised me was the Francis Scott Key Park. Nestled right in town, overlooking the river, the park was a bright spot. With the autumn colors, it was a great place to stop and honor the man who wrote our national anthem.
A little further down M Street, I (very happily) stumbled across Georgetown Cupcake! Being a sucker for sweets (and food tv shows!), I had to stop in. Oh boy, was I glad that I did. First of all, the shop is TINY. Like, really tiny. I was lucky enough to get there when it wasn’t busy. Which was great because I was in complete awe over the choices! Trying to keep myself on a budget, and not to overindulge, I had to make the perfect decision. Of course, when I saw they had a chocolate peanut butter fudge cupcake, I was sold. I had to forego the more original flavors for my all-time favorite. And holy crap it was amazing. Perfectly moist, rich with peanut butter, and not overly sweet! The stars of DC Cupcakes know what they are doing! Stop in and treat yourself.
The Exorcist Stairs
At the end of the little downtown area, you’ll find the famous steps from The Exorcist. Yes, the steps that Father Merrin arrived at and Father Karras later fell down to his death. But don’t worry, that was just a movie! If you’re a horror buff like me, you’ll love coming across this famous scene from the movie. Though the devil is not actually there, and you won’t get pushed down the stairs, they definitely are a challenge to climb on a hot day! But visiting scenes from movies is a travel hobby of mine (and on my list of freebies in any city!). At the top of the steps you’ll find an historical marker commemorating the steps and Georgetown itself for its appearance in several Hollywood features.