Back in August, I chose to go to Georgetown on a 96 degree day, but it felt like 118 degrees according to my weather app. Good choice? Bad choice? I’ll leave that up to you, but it was less crowded than normal.
There is something to be said for walking down the iconic M Street, browsing the shops, and people watching. It is a great public space. However, one thing most people who I interact with on a daily basis say about M Street is that it is too crowded. I agree with that statement and it is based on my own experience. I used to live just above Georgetown in Glover Park and I took the bus to my internship each day. No matter what day of the week, the street was clogged with cars and the sidewalks were clogged with people.
Now this isn’t such a bad thing–yes, the transportation issue is a bit of nightmare–but M Street is a perfect street for observing city life. Pedestrians from all walks of life get to the street from two directions and flow into the street to have a good day. The street is picturesque with hanging planters and nice storefronts. So many people flood into the street on the weekends that a policy has been enacted to extend the sidewalk each weekend by closing off one lane on each side of the street.
I enjoy going to M Street, but I need to be mentally prepared to the hustle and bustle of the street. This is just because my choice in public spaces tends to be parks and green spaces where I can spend some quality time getting to know a bench. Miraculously, the weekend I visited the shops was the least populated I have ever seen the sidewalks. We can blame it on the heat. My friend and I ended up ducking in just about every other store to escape the heat wave. We also noticed that several stores put out water bowls for the dogs that might be passing by.
At the end of the day, we had a great time on the street–shopping, walking around, and eating. The design of the street is what made this day possible because the small streets allow for easy access to lots of different tiny enclaves from the street.