With warmer weather, DC’s Wharf heats up

The Wharf springs to life for its first warm-weather season (WTOP's Rachel Nania)

WASHINGTON After more than a decade of planning and construction, Phase 1 of District Wharf opened in October 2017. Since then, the 3 million-square-foot development has seen sold-out concerts and long-awaited restaurant openings, but now things are really heating up as the weather does the same.

Here’s what you can expect to find at the Wharf this spring and summer:

New restaurants

Since October, several new restaurants have opened at the Wharf, including Mexican concept Mi Vida (pictured on the left) and Cathal Armstrong’s Kaliwa. The team behind the beloved Cantina Marina recently opened Cantina Bambina, plus Christina Tosi brought her fan-favorite Milk Bar to the Wharf. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) 

Cool off with kids

Visitors will find waterproof rocking horses and spray features near the Wharf’s 7th Street and Maine Avenue entrance. Pack a snack and refuel at one of the park’s tables, or cool off with a cone from nearby Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.  (WTOP/Rachel Nania) 

New retail 

Several retail shops have joined the Wharf, including bookstore Politics and Prose — which hosts several speaker and book-signing events — and chocolatier Harper Macaw. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

Paddle on the Potomac 

Rent a kayak or paddleboard at the Wharf Boathouse on Recreation Pier. Hours expand after Memorial Day. Plus, sign up for fitness classes at the boathouse, including sunrise yoga on the docks (begins June 1) and beginner stand-up paddleboard yoga. (A glow-in-the-dark kayaking event is on the calendar for Aug. 18) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

Patio dining 

Outdoor dining options are aplenty at the Wharf. Nearly every restaurant, including Hank’s Oyster Bar, Kirwan’s Irish Pub, Kaliwa and Requin, has patio seating with water views. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

Take a taxi 

The Potomac Riverboat Company’s water taxi recently expanded its service to include National Harbor (in addition to Alexandria and Georgetown). The Wharf also operates The Wharf Jitney, a free boat that shuttles passengers from the Wharf to East Potomac Park. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

Live music 

The Anthem continues to draw big-name acts to the Wharf. Upcoming shows feature Fleet Foxes, Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson and Jack White. Other music venues at the Wharf include Pearl Street Warehouse, Union Stage and Kirwan’s Irish Pub. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)

People (and boat) watch on Recreation Pier

Recreation pier has swings, chairs and elevated seating along the water. Catch up with a friend or just watch the water traffic go by. The features are not new, but the warmer weather makes the experience feel that way. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) 



Upcoming events at the Wharf include Pride on the Pier (June 9), DC Jazz Fest (June 16 and 17), Soccer and Sangria (July 7), Capital Dragon Boat Regatta (Aug. 25), and the recurring “Wednesdays at The Wharf.”


Still to come … 

Construction by the original Fish Market continues. Later this year Todd Thrasher’s Potomac Distilling Company and Nick Stefanelli’s three-story Italian concept Officina will open — plus Southwest Soda Pop Shop and Rappahannock Oyster Bar.

Blue Bottle Coffee, Florentijn, Lupo Marino will also open soon. (WTOP/Rachel Nania)


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