6 Things to Do at D.C.’s The Wharf

Eating, drinking, shopping—this redeveloped waterfront zone has it all.

After a major redevelopment process, The Wharf in Southwest D.C. reopened in 2017 to much fanfare, and for good reason. Now, the waterfront district in Southwest is one of D.C.’s hottest spots with tons to do, from rocking out at headlining concerts to digging in at some of the city’s best restaurants. Here’s where to go and what to do.

Float Your Boat

Naturally, this wharf offers water lovers plenty of options to ply one of D.C.’s most famous rivers. Potomac Riverboat Company’s bright yellow water taxis ferry passengers to docks from National Harbor to Georgetown. The adorable-sounding Wharf Jitney takes passengers on shorter jaunts to Hains Point and nearby spots for free. If you’re after luxury, Entertainment Cruises whisks passengers on tours decked out with gourmet meals, fully stocked bars and even deejays. Do-it-yourselfers take matters into their own hands with Boating in DC, which rents kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddles.

Potomac Riverboat Company's Water Taxi

Rock Out

The Wharf isn’t just about water. This zone is also a hot spot for musical acts from headliners at The Anthem to up-and-coming bluegrass talent at Pearl Street Warehouse and local entertainers on the Floating Stage.

Pearl Street Warehouse

Eat Up

Foodies flock to this bustling area for flavors that trot the globe, from Afro-Caribbean at Kwame Onwuachi’s autobiographical Kith and Kin to Southeast Asian and Korean at Cathal Armstrong’s Kaliwa and everything in between. And not all options are sit-down, white-tablecloth joints. Casual places like Shake Shack flips tasty burgers, while SW Soda Pop Shop serves up old-fashioned floats.

Del Mar

Drink It In

Nighttime is the right time on the Wharf. Imbibers belly up to the bar for rum and tiki drinks at three-story Potomac Distilling Company and Tiki TNT, wines and cocktails at sleek Rappahannock Oyster Bar, margaritas at Cantina Bambina, the brown stuff at Whiskey Charlie rooftop and pints at Kirwan’s and The Brighton.

Kirwan's

Just Relax

After taking in all the action, visitors chill with boardwalk activities like giant Scrabble, an Instagrammable swing, rocking horses, bocce at Waterfront Park or a simple stroll around the historic Main Avenue Fish Market, open continuously since 1805.

Fountain and rocking horses

Shop ‘Til You Drop

Retail is also a major part of this wharf. Book lovers browse bestsellers at an outpost of D.C.’s famed Politics and Prose with its well-known author event series. Locally minded folks find only-in-D.C. treasures at Shop Made in D.C., while specialty shoppers stock up on nautical supplies at Anchor and artisan libations at Cordial Craft Wine & Spirits.

Politics and Prose

Anne Kim-Dannibale
About the author

Anne serves as the Washington, D.C.,&nb...