Like I stated in G = Growth, Georgetown used to be a port city until the Potomac was too silted to navigate and the canal was sold to the National Parks Service. Today, when visiting the Georgetown Waterfront Park, you can still see boats floating by during the day and the lights of Arlington, Virginia at night. Here are two videos that I think show the Georgetown Waterfront off in its best light:
and for fun, a flashmob:
Without the Georgetown Waterfront, Georgetown would be similar to any other neighborhood in D.C. However, because of the unique combination of the university, the river, and the tourism, Georgetown is able to stand alone against the federal city.