An Unexpected Summer of Art, Pop-ups & Public Programming  

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Summer is traditionally slow in the District, yet there are a plethora of festivals, business openings, and initiatives well underway in Georgetown.

The Capital Fringe Festival is back in D.C. now through July 23, with Thursday – Sunday performances in our commercial district. The festival will take place at two Georgetown locations in partnership with the Georgetown BID, featuring 28 productions and 131 shows covering everything from original theater, to dance and stand-up comedy. Afterward, you can head to a pop-up bar at Powerhouse (3255 Grace St NW) for free live music and community space.

The 2023 theme is centered around the adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – a sentiment we can all relate to in recent years. Lemonade will be available for purchase at all theater venues, and at several participating Georgetown restaurants – in addition to other discounts from local businesses. Visit to see the full list of participating businesses, and to buy your tickets.

Taking creative chances is at the center of the festival – but what happens when that falls flat? The Museum of Failure ( will explore this topic in depth when it comes to Georgetown Park in early September for a two-month pop-up exhibition, featuring a collection of failed products and services from around the world. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation, which requires an acceptance of failure. The museum aims to stimulate a discussion about such inevitability and inspire us to take meaningful risks in spite of it.

In the spirit of trying something new, as you know, the Georgetown BID installed sidewalk extensions and streateries in 2021 to create space for outdoor dining and an improved pedestrian environment. We began surveying residents, visitors, and business owners in June, and are in the process of analyzing that data. We will report our findings later this month.

In addition to an improved pedestrian experience, new businesses are drawing more visitors to Georgetown. More than 15 shops, restaurants and services have opened in the last three months, including Fangyan, Georgetown Garden Shop, Boat House Apparel, DIG, Ever/Body, Van Leeuwen, Lugano Diamonds, Todd Snyder, Hitched, Alo Yoga, Pasha Castle, Studs, Café Con Bagel, The Gallery DC, Mugsy, and Two Nine – the latter, a pop-up that will have a permanent home on 31st Street this Fall, featuring an omakase concept. District Doughnut also reopened at its new M Street location in the original Sweetgreen building, and Apple and Diptyque completed their respective renovations. Keep an eye out for Arcay Chocolates, AWAY and Kyojin, opening later this summer.

Last month, DC restaurateur Hakan Ilhan also announced that he is opening a new Mediterranean restaurant at 1303 Wisconsin Avenue NW, previously home to Paolo’s. According to Ilhan – whose restaurant résumé includes Georgetown’s Brasserie Liberté – Alara will open in early 2024, featuring dishes from Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, and Israel. The restaurant will further rejuvenate Wisconsin Avenue and add to Georgetown’s dining renaissance.

In other summer news, Georgetown Heritage’s C&O Canal boat tours have been extended to run through October. Book your public tour or private charter now, and stay tuned for updates on Canal restoration work to begin later this year. Tickets and more information are available at

Stay up-to-date on our commercial district’s latest news and events by visiting, following us on social media, and subscribing to our weekly BIDness newsletter.


Joe Sternlieb serves as Georgetown BID’s CEO and President. 



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