New Canal Boat, Outdoor Events Energize Georgetown 


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This is the busiest spring we’ve had in two years, and we’re thrilled that Georgetown feels so alive again. 

Most anticipated of all, a C&O Canal boat is back in Georgetown for the first time in more than a decade – and you’re invited to celebrate with us. Join Georgetown Heritage, along with their partners from the National Park Service, the District of Columbia, and the BID, on April 28 from 6 pm – 8 pm for All Aboard Our Heritage. Enjoy a ribbon-cutting ceremony and boat christening with special guests Mayor Bowser and Councilmember Brooke Pinto, live music, boat tours, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres. All Aboard Our Heritage tickets are on sale at georetownheritage.org/events. 

Public boat tours commence April 29, available five days a week through October for the inaugural season. During this one-hour guided historical tour of the Canal, residents, visitors, and school children will learn about the fascinating history, technology and culture of the C&O Canal, and the surprising stories of the people who lived, worked and played here. Buy your tickets now at georgetownheritage.org/boat, and experience the Canal in a new way. 

That same weekend, our 19th annual Georgetown French Market returns to Book Hill – a D.C. spring tradition, and one of the most important events for our small businesses. More than 25 neighborhood boutiques, antique stores, restaurants, salons and galleries will display their discounted items for up to 75% off at the open-air market, Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1, in addition to food and drink specials featuring French cuisine and beyond. During the weekend, families are en- couraged to bring the kids and enjoy music, strolling entertainment, a pop-up book sale, and more. 

If you’re looking for something to do prior to French Market, don’t miss #ReframeClimate – the public art photo campaign on display through April 22 in partnership with Dysturb, Magnum Foundation, and Kennedy Center’s COAL + ICE. Visit four Georgetown locations to view eight large-scale photographs that illuminate climate change and offer an interactive component. 

Beyond Canal boats, croissants, and climate change exhibits, we have several new businesses that are creating additional buzz. Since January, The Fountain Inn rare spirits tasting room, interactive art gallery StudioLab RD, Bozzelli’s pizzeria, and men’s clothing boutique Buck Mason have all opened. Additionally, SCOUT Bags —  the lifestyle brand that was founded in Georgetown in 2004 — debuted a new flagship store. The BID continues to actively engage in tenant recruitment and retention, and we’re encouraging pop-ups, window activations, and new uses for vacant and underutilized spaces. 

With new businesses and events, foot traffic should continue to rebound. Georgetown attracted over 2.7 million visitors from January – March 2022, up 53% compared to Q1 of 2021, and outpacing almost all competitor markets. Throughout March, over 60% of neighborhood employees also returned to the office, compared to the same time frame in 2019. 

As more people return to Georgetown, we are reprioritizing transportation through studies to assess a better transit connection from Georgetown to the Metrorail system, and safety and mobility improvements throughout the neighborhood. Construction is also set to begin this spring on the federally funded Water Street Trailhead project – welcome news for area cyclists. 

For more on our restaurant and retail openings, upcoming events, and commercial district news, visit georgetowndc.com and sign up for our weekly BIDness newsletter. 

Joe Sternlieb is CEO & President of the Georgetown Business Improvement District.

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