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Southwest Waterfront Attractions

Take a different, waterside vantage point of Washington from a paddle or cruise boat, even an island golf course.



Watch a classic American play or works by emerging artists in the 200,000 square foot Mead Center.

What is this wonderfully large, contemporary and state-of-the-art theatre on the waterfront, you ask? Arena Stage was one of the nation's original resident theaters when it was founded in 1950. While it specializes in producing American classics, the venerable theatre company also premieres new works by emerging artists. The theatre raised $125 million and took a decade from conception through construction to finally open the 200,000 square foot Mead Center, so enjoy a study dedicated to theatre lovers and onsite cafe. Discounts are available for students, military and police, and family packs (four premium seats for $125) can be purchased. With three stages from 200 to 700 seats each, there isn't a bad seat in the house. Go play.


Take a three-hour lunch or dinner cruise down the Potomac River for a relaxing view of historic landmarks.

If a lively, waterside lunch or romantic dinner by moonlight is in the cards, consider a three-hour cruise on the Potomac River. Moored along the heart of the waterfront the Spirit of Washington cruises by the Washington Monument and Fort McNair, down the Potomac past Old Town Alexandria and the Jones Point Lighthouse and back. Dancing and live music get started once passengers enjoy a grand buffet. Holiday, full moon, gospel lunch, cherry blossom and other themed cruises are also available. Slacks, dresses and button downs are recommended during dinner, but casual dress is fine for lunch.


Line up a shot with the Washington Monument at this golf course on the Potomac River.

Located on the banks of the Potomac River, this golf course with two 18-hole options is basic but hassle-free. Where else can you line up your shot with the Washington Monument? If you're lucky, you'll not only watch planes take off and land from Reagan National Airport, but sneak a glimpse of Marine One helicopters possibly carrying the President overhead.

Get a new view of the city's monuments and memorials with a paddleboat rental. Take one out on the Tidal Basin for a unique perspective of numerous memorials.


Rent a paddleboat and explore the shallow Tidal Basin with an uncrowded view of several monuments.

For a fisheye view of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt and Washington monuments, rent a paddleboat and explore the shallow, manmade Tidal Basin. But be sure to reserve your boat online during the popular spring season when DC's signature Japanese cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, usually late March to mid-April. Regardless, no motorized watercraft can enter the Tidal Basin, which makes it an ideal place for kids to paddle near the Jefferson Memorial. A two-passenger boat costs $12 per hour; a four-person boat costs $19.