If you haven’t already heard, D.C.’s new Wharf is all the buzz! The Southwest Waterfront has always been an important part of Washington’s story and, after decades of being dormant (save for a bustling fresh fish market) and a three-year revitalization, The Wharf is helping to reestablish our waterfront city. This extraordinary, mile-long stretch along the Potomac River is chock full of fun things to do, including heaps of restaurant options both fast food and sit down, fun stores, games, amazing views and an energetic culture. Here are a few things your kids will love.
Photo: Guiomar Ochoa
First Things First…Food
The Wharf is divided into about 12 areas and each corner has a unique charm. The Market Pier has plenty of casual, outdoor seating and you can hop over to the Fish Market, grab something yummy from one of the many food trucks and vendors and take in the bustling market and river environments.
Take pics at Blair Alley, a charming entryway featuring a beautiful fountain, before strolling down District Square where you’ll find some of the fun boutiques and shops. , D.C.’s most famous, independent bookstore opened here and they plan to host regular author events, book signings, and classes. If you have a tween into bath bombs (or you are yourself!) head over to and make your day more relaxing. And who can pass up chocolate? A definite Wharf must do is to stop into the chocolate store. Manufactured and founded in D.C., these chocolates are AMAZING! Powerhouse cocoa couple and parents Sarah Hartman, a São Paulo, Brazil native and her husband Colin Hartman, a U.S. Marine vet, are making D.C. a chocolate capital and we aren’t complaining one bit!
Photo: Guiomar Ochoa
Get Your Eyes and Ears Involved
Got kids obsessed with seeing ships? Park yourself at the Transit Pier where they can see the coming and going of people via the water taxi. Stay tuned for an ice rink here this winter. And grab a sitter so you can catch a concert at the . The Transit Pier is where The Wharf hustles and bustles.
Play Date Powerhouse
A human sized Scrabble board and Battleship game are super fun for kids and, let’s be real, adults too! The District Pier is a spectacular meeting place that will host festivals and performances. And the 7th Street Park offers some green space where you can enjoy a picnic or just relax and take in the view. If your crew is all about the water, you’ll be hanging at the Recreation Pier. This is where you rent your kayaks and paddleboards or just sit on a bench and admire the sunset. Swings, for kids of all ages, dot the pier.
Photo: Guiomar Ochoa
The Wharf has parking garages to park in or you can take the metro and hop on the Southwest Shuttle which will take you to the Wharf and back for free. The “Wharf Jitney” will ferry people from the piers to East Potomac Park for free. You can even tale a water taxi from Georgetown in DC, Old Town Alexandria in Virginia, and, coming soon, National Harbor in Maryland.
Thanks For Giving (Nov. 4, 11 am-2 pm)
Kick off the Thanksgiving season with a special day of salutes in honor of active duty military members and veterans. Thanks for Giving will feature free, family-friendly activities, including live music from Jonny Grave, Melissa Gomez, the Voice of Service with CAMMO Kids, and a patriotic crafts corner. The Wharf has also partnered with Operation Gratitude to coordinate a shipment of Halloween candy to the troops and their families serving overseas. There will also be a letter-writing station where you’ll be able to write letters to the troops that will be mailed along with the candy.
Light Up the Wharf (Dec. 1, 5 pm-8 pm)
Kick off the holiday season with the official Lighting of the Christmas Tree—and other light installations that will brighten your experience along the waterfront.
The District’s Holiday Boat Parade (Dec. 2, 6 pm-8 pm)
Celebrate the 26th anniversary of the boat parade and see the beautifully decorated boats drive by. Sip hot cocoa and make s’mores at The Wharf fire pit. See the Christmas Tree and enjoy other fun activities, including ice skating.
First Night of Hanukkah (Dec. 13, 5 pm-8 pm)
Join The Wharf as they light the first candle on their Menorah to celebrate the Festival of Lights.
Christmas Caroling (Dec. 23, 5 pm-8 pm)
Enjoy the sounds of the season or join in as the community sings holiday songs to spread the Christmas spirit all along the waterfront.
690 Water St., SW (Waterfront)
Have you visited The Wharf yet? Tell us what you loved in the comments below.