A National Historic Landmark located on the banks of the Potomac River

Planning Your Trip

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From The Washington Harbour to Dumbarton Oaks, there are centuries of history to explore in Georgetown and the D.C. area. Here’s how to pack for a trip that could include everything from important meetings to world-class museums to waterfront activities.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack
Business Travel

The standard professional attire for Georgetown is business professional but, depending on company culture, business casual may be appropriate.

  • For initial meetings, both in and out of the office, men should choose a dark tailored suit and simple accessories.

  • Skirts and pantsuits are the norm for women but professional dresses are also acceptable. Heels and flats should lean toward the conservative side.

  • Avoid bright colors and loud prints — you can’t go wrong with navy blue, gray or black attire. 
Summer Escape

From outdoor film screenings to alfresco dining on the waterfront, summer is Georgetown’s favorite season.

  • Always carry a water bottle and sunscreen — your best defenses against the notoriously sunny and humid D.C. weather. 

  • Although the quaint cobblestone streets make for beautiful pictures, those picturesque streets can take a toll on your feet. Opt for comfortable footwear, like sneakers, instead of sandals. 

  • Outside the office most people dress casually in simple sundresses or polo shirts and khaki shorts.
Exploring the City

The area boasts some of the nation’s finest national treasures. Be prepared to enjoy all of them in comfort.

  • If strolling through iconic places like the National Mall, Embassy Row or Georgetown University, dress comfortably and conservatively.

  • The area’s cold winters demand heavy coats — but even in summer you’ll need a light jacket or sweater to combat air conditioning. 

  • Pack activewear in case you get a chance to run, bike or walk the canal, or take an always-popular paddleboarding lesson.

Don't Forget

The Washington, D.C., area is home to some of the country's best golf courses. Be sure to pack your clubs and golf shoes, as well as the appropriate attire, so you can hit the green.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Reserve

Georgetown is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike — and for good reason. With so much old-fashioned charm and colorful history, this quintessential Colonial neighborhood is well-worth taking the time to explore.

Brunch is something of a Georgetown tradition. Don’t miss the divine á la carte brunch at Degrees Bistro in The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C. every Saturday and Sunday. Unwind in the all-season restaurant and enjoy a bottomless bloody mary alongside orange crème pancakes and eggs Benedict. Or if molecular gastronomy is of interest, reserve a table at the Michelin-starred Minibar by Andrés — and, yes, that would be famed Spanish Chef José Andrés. The avant-garde menu will excite the senses. If you’d like a classic Georgetown option, look no further than Chez Billy Sud — a neighborhood favorite that serves up South of France fare and an unmatched wine list.

At The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Georgetown, you’ll find a slate of treatments to nourish your mind and body. The Sole Reviver is a smart choice after days of walking on cobblestone streets. Its reflex-zone foot massage and exfoliation will relieve any aches and pains. Tight on time? The spa offers a menu of express treatments Monday through Thursday so you can always fit rejuvenation into your busy schedule.

Famous for its charming streets and historical architecture, Georgetown can best be experienced outdoors. Even the shortest stroll becomes noteworthy, given the waterfront access and wide array of cultural activities. Here, in D.C.’s oldest and most scenic neighborhood, you can rent kayaks or canoes on the Potomac River or take a serene walk down the Chesapeake and Ohio.

Each spring, millions of people descend upon Washington, D.C., to participate in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Dubbed “the Nation’s Greatest Springtime Celebration,” the outdoor event honors the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. You can see them in three locations: Tidal Basin, East Potomac Park and on the Washington Monument grounds. Peak bloom occurs in March and April, with special events (including a parade) happening across the city.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
  • Make a New Friend.

    On weekends, look for the special kids’ check-in area and pick up an activity folder. At The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C., you’ll receive the hotel’s famous Red Wagon Warm Welcome during which your children can choose a toy to take home.

  • Breakfast Fun.

    Have breakfast at the hotel’s Degrees restaurant. As part of the Ritz Kids Dining Experience, children can enjoy coloring books and Ritz Kids Healthy Taste Menus featuring nourishing and tasty treats. 

  • Get Curious.

    The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History houses some of the most famous artifacts in the world, including the mysterious Hope Diamond, said to be cursed. Q?rius (pronounced “curious”), the museum’s interactive education center, offers a lab for preteens and teens to conduct their own science experiments. 

  • Lunch Break.

    For a quick lunch, try The National Museum of American History’s Stars and Stripes Cafe, on the lower level. The restaurant uses natural and sustainable foods in its pizza and sandwiches.

  • America's Epic Story.

    The National Museum of American History holds a treasure trove of artifacts such as the flag that inspired the national anthem and the top hat worn by President Lincoln the night he was assassinated. Check out Spark!Lab, where youngsters become inventors, and the interactive exhibits at Wegmans Wonderplace for kids up to age 6.

  • Go Undercover.

    At the International Spy Museum, sign up for the Spy in the City program, an interactive experience that sends agents 10 or older on a secret mission on a circuit through Chinatown and Penn Quarter using a portable GPS.

  • A Taste of Americana.

    All will be hungry after a day of walking and museums, so comfort food should hit the spot. Try Ted’s Bulletin Family Restaurant, a homey, relaxed venue with such children’s favorites as grilled cheese — and elevated classics for adults.

  • Learn and Seek.

    The Ritz Kids program encourages children to explore the sights surrounding the hotel and introduces the four pillars of Ritz Kids discovery: Water, Land, Environmental Responsibility and Culture. As part of the program, sign up for a scavenger hunt around the hotel; a special prize awaits at the end.

  • Potomac Adventures.

    Step out to the 10-acre Georgetown waterfront. The children can navigate a labyrinth and feed the ducks while you take in views of the Kennedy Center or Roosevelt Island. On warm days, the kids can cool off in a fountain spraying giant arcs of water.

  • Go Wild.

    The 163-acre National Zoo is home to more than 1,500 animals covering 300 different species, including lions, tigers, giraffes and the charismatic, endangered giant pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian and their cubs. In fact, about 25 percent of the inhabitants are endangered. 

  • Monumental Treasures.

    The expansive monuments in Washington are a must-see and provide a memorable historical lesson for children. Avoid the big tours and long lines and go in style by hiring a private tour company to customize your sightseeing.

  • Blast Off!

    The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum features a smorgasbord of interactive activities for young scientists and explorers in training: Walk through the nose sections of an old DC-7 airliner and a 757 jumbo jet, touch part of a moon rock picked up by Apollo astronauts, and see shows at the Imax theater and Planetarium.

  • Quiet Time.

    Unwind from a full day in one of Washington’s many family-friendly pubs, where children are welcome and you can choose from a wide selection of craft beers and Virginia wines.

  • Sweet Treats.

    Surprise your kids by picking up gourmet cupcakes along M Street in Georgetown — a perfectly fitting end to a day of wonder and adventure.

  • Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Pastries.

    The whole family will need energy for the full day ahead, so make sure everyone has some fuel in their tanks with breakfast at one of Georgetown’s charming bakery and coffeehouses.

  • Step Back in Time.

    Head south to Old Town Alexandria, just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., yet a world away with its cobblestone streets, red brick sidewalks and architecture that will make you think you’ve traveled 200 years back in time. Start with a visit to the small Alexandria Archeology Museum and see artifacts from the Colonial and Civil War eras.

  • Neighborhood Stroll.

    Spend some time strolling the eclectic and artsy Del Ray neighborhood. Mount Vernon Avenue is known as the place “where Main Street still exists.” The area hosts a new family-friendly street festival every first Thursday of the month.

  • Presidential Field Trip.

    Visit nearby Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home 8 miles south of Old Town, where kid-friendly activities and high-tech, interactive experiences such as a revolutionary spy adventure app and a 4-D movie immerse you in the Revolutionary War. Just be ready for shaking seats and smoke when the cinematic cannons fire.

  • A Little Colonial Flavor.

    Linger longer to enjoy a taste of early America flavors at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, which offers a kids menu that includes Colonial Turkey Pye.

  • Spooky Fun.

    Time permitting before leaving Alexandria, older kids will like the spook factor of Alexandria’s Original Ghost & Graveyard Tour. Led by a costumed guide carrying an authentic 18th-century lantern, you’ll learn about the city’s legends, folklore and unsolved mysteries. Private tours are also available.

  • International Travel.

    Drive past Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue in Georgetown where buildings originally built for the area’s wealthy in the 19th century now house numerous embassies. Look for statues of Mohandas Gandhi at the Embassy of India and of Winston Churchill at the British Embassy.

  • Honor Military Sacrifice.

    Visit Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for more than 400,000 service members and family members. The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an especially moving and solemn ceremony.

  • A Capitol Idea.

    Tour the focal point of power, the U.S. Capitol building. Docent-led tours are available, or book through your representative or senator’s office ahead of time to be guided by congressional staff, or opt for a private company tour. A tip for keeping hungry kids happy: The Dirksen Senate Office building basement has a convenient, quick eatery.

  • Artistic Treasures, Family Style.

    amily programs at the National Gallery of Art are aimed at getting kids to slow down, focus on a single work of art, and develop observation and thinking skills. Some programs are age-specific — Stories in Art (ages 4 to 7) and Family Workshops (ages 8 to 11) — while others cover all ages.

  • Architecture Appreciation.

    Time permitting, stop by the National Building Museum, a wonderful way to learn the marvels of engineering, construction and architecture with hands-on exhibits. The Building Zone provides an interactive building experience for kids ages 2 to 6.

  • Delicious Charm.

    Return to Georgetown for dinner. Firefly has a whimsical cottage décor with a lantern-adorned tree that will captivate little ones. But if that isn’t enough to impress, each kids meal comes with a cookie to decorate

  • Tour the Nation's Cathedral.

    The Washington National Cathedral has seen many significant events, including funeral services for two presidents and the last speech from a pulpit for Martin Luther King Jr.  Kids can discover the cathedral’s highlights with a scavenger hunt — look for the stone-carved depiction of “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader.

  • National Treasures. 

    View the original documents that form the foundations of the United States — the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights — at the National Archives Museum. Check the schedule for Constitution-in-Action Learning Lab Family Programs. 

  • Book Look.

    At the Library of Congress, the research library for the U.S. Congress and the world’s largest library, family tours designed for kids ages 6 to 14 introduce the history, art and architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building as well as the work of the Library of Congress.

  • Moments to Savor.

    Take a last stroll along the mall to enjoy some peaceful time together and savor the sights you’ve seen, the history you’ve discovered and the memories you’ve made as a family.

  • D.C., Revitalized.

    Head south to Capitol Riverfront, a former industrial area on the Anacostia River that now is home to Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals and a thriving dining scene that features a variety of restaurants.

  • A Final Delight.

    Ice Cream Jubilee’s gourmet ice cream and sorbet are inspired by the owner’s childhood, international travels and even cocktail flavors. Using a small-batch technique and sourcing all-natural cream and milk from a nearby creamery, this treat puts the perfect topping on your stay.

  • Potomac Views.

    Walk along the Georgetown waterfront, part of the Georgetown Historic District that hugs the natural curve of the Potomac River and provides a clear view of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Breakfast Bites.

    Treat your taste buds at Union Market, a year-round communal market of artisan stalls and food stands with an almost overwhelming number of culinary treats — everything from breakfast classics to freshly squeezed juices and smoothies.

  • Natural Wonders.

    The beauty of nature evokes the enchantment of love. In the National Arboretum awaits a living museum of more than 400 acres with cherry blossom trees and gardens, including the National Herb Garden and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. For added romance, try the arboretum’s guided Full Moon Hike.

  • Lunch in a Magical Setting.

    Head to the National Mall and the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and dine at the Pavilion Café, with a lovely fountain-side location and a wide selection of meals. 

  • Art's Great Masters.

    At the National Gallery of Art, enjoy a feast for the senses among the artistic treasures that span from the Middle Ages to the present. The gallery’s masterpieces include evocative impressionist works by Monet, Renoir and Degas, and “Ginevra de’ Benci,” the only artwork by Leonardo da Vinci in the western hemisphere.

  • Magnificent Monuments.

    Before heading to The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, D.C., take a short stroll to the Capitol Reflecting Pool or hail a cab to visit the Lincoln Memorial, a captivating sight in at sunset. For a more extensive tour, hire a private driver to explore the monuments and memorials.

  • Dinner For Two.

    Settle in at The Living Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Georgetown, offering an atmosphere that is at once elegant and intimate, featuring a 130-foot wood burning fireplace and exposed brick walls. Enjoy cocktails, light fare of regional cuisine and complimentary butler-passed s’mores.

  • Café Classics.

    Put some pickup in your morning with coffee or tea at one of Georgetown’s charming bakery and coffeehouses. Baked & Wired serves espresso drinks and signature granola. But if you’re feeling indulgent, try one of their scrumptious cupcakes.

  • D.C., From the Water.

    Getting active together is a wonderful way to connect and do something healthy at the same time. In warmer weather, the nearby Washington Harbour is a perfect spot for water adventures while you soak up the splendid scenery of Georgetown, Roosevelt Island and Virginia.

  • Explore Chic Boutiques.

    After your invigorating time on the water, have fun with a little wardrobe shopping in the amazing variety of Georgetown shops — from boutiques to chains, from expensive to affordable, you’re sure to find something to fit your shopping mood.

  • Table Tales.

    Lunch at storied Martin’s Tavern, a family-owned restaurant that opened in 1933 and is steeped in the history of Georgetown and Washington, D.C. And how about this for romance: The story goes that then-Sen. John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier in Booth 3 in 1953.

  • Colonial Beginnings.

    Get a peek into life in the days of the country’s founding by way of Washington, D.C.’s oldest unchanged building, the Old Stone House, built in 1765. Owned by the National Park Service, it’s also Washington’s only remaining Pre-Revolutionary Colonial home, and visitors can glimpse the kitchen, parlor and bedrooms.

  • Forest Hideaway.

    Retreat from the bustle of town with a visit to the tranquil, alluring gardens of Dumbarton Oaks, a historical estate in a residential neighborhood. Truly a magical place, it’s made for wandering among flowering trees and shrubs, pebbled paths and fountains — or you can just sit and savor quiet moments together.

  • Culinary Wow.

    Try dinner at Washington’s popular new restaurant Métier. Award-winning Chef Eric Ziebold offers a seven-course tasting menu in a small, intimate setting, accessible by private elevator. Reservations go fast so plan ahead.

  • Jazz, at Its Most Intimate.

    Sit close as you listen to jazz at Blues Alley, an iconic nightclub literally in an alley off Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Opened in 1965, the small and dimly lit venue is Washington, D.C.’s longest continually operating jazz establishment.

  • Linger Over Breakfast.

    Begin with breakfast at the hotel’s Degrees restaurant, which serves delectable American regional cuisine. Your options include eggs Benedict with Chesapeake Hollandaise and signature South Street S’mores French Toast, District Chicken and Waffles and Orange Crème Pancakes.

  • Quaint Pleasures.

    Step into the charm of cobblestone streets and red brick sidewalks of nearby Old Town Alexandria, and discover the unique artistic environment in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Sip coffee in the first-floor café while you see artists at work or peruse the building’s six galleries.

  • Lunch for a King.

    Grab a bite to eat on King Street, Old Town Alexandria’s charming walkable main thoroughfare filled with shops, restaurants and outdoor cafés.

  • Presidential Estate.

    Just 8 miles down the road from Old Town Alexandria is Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, where you can walk among his farm and garden, experience interactive exhibits and even view his final resting place. 

  • Unwind, Together.

    Back at the hotel, pamper yourselves with an afternoon treatment at The Boutique Spa, newly reopened with five treatment rooms, including two couple’s rooms and the exclusive ESPA product line and ESPA treatments, curated specially for The Ritz-Carlton Spa.

  • Community Table.

    Dine at Farmers Fishers Bakers, a 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant with a cool, upscale vibe. It’s majority owned by more than 40,000 family farmers and supplied by hundreds of family farmers. The menu ranges from sushi and salads to pizza, fresh fish and jambalaya, and there’s a full bar with 24 beer taps.

  • Final Performance.

    Finish your evening with a performance at the Kennedy Center, home to the National Symphony Orchestra, the Washington National Opera and dance and theater productions. Afterward, the terrace is a divine spot to gaze at the stars and the gorgeous nighttime views of D.C.