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The Southwest Waterfront neighborhood is a best bet for experiencing the arts and local history, as well as a revitalized waterfront perfect for dining, shopping and much more.
The Southwest Waterfront is one of the most historic areas in the city. It’s home to the nation’s longest continually operating open-air fish market, houseboats and a vibrant riverfront community offering panoramic views, ample recreational activities and easy access to Washington DC’s most beloved monuments and memorials. At the same time, it’s also poised to become one of DC’s hottest neighborhoods with The Wharf, a new waterfront dining and entertainment destination with plenty of activities and things to do.
An oasis in the city, Southwest Waterfront is home to the East Coast’s largest population of “liveaboards,” or people who domicile on boats year-round. Many are docked at Gangplank Marina, side-by-side with DC cruise boats like Entertainment Cruises. In warm weather, expect to catch free outdoor movies, yoga and other workout programs here. In cold weather, during the holidays, the waterfront attracts a procession of brightly illuminated boats, as part of the Parade of Lighted Boats, which begins in Old Town Alexandria.
With two hotels nearby, the luxurious Mandarin Oriental and spacious Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall – and more to come as part of The Wharf development, the Southwest Waterfront is within walking distance to renowned sites including the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden and the U.S. Capitol. The neighborhood features beloved waterfront landmarks of its own, including a two-century-old seafood market, and Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, a cultural powerhouse showcasing the best of American theater.
The neighborhood offers an eclectic collection of architecture, from 18th-century Federal to Mid-Century Modern, and everything in between. Four buildings were designed by I.M. Pei, the architect for the stunning prism outside of The Louvre. Check out innovative and offbeat events at the one-of-a-kind Blind Whino SW Arts Club, a brightly-colored former Baptist church. Catch a $5 jazz and blues concert on Friday nights at Westminster Presbyterian Church, or chill with the hipsters at the Capitol Skyline Hotel's outdoor pool. Pay tribute at the Titanic Memorial, an inspiration for the Academy Award winning movie.
Join the locals at restaurants like Muze East West Kitchen, an Asian-fusion restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental, and Masala Art for Indian cuisine. The Wharf brings more than 20 restaurants and bars to the neighborhood, including new concepts from award-winning and Michelin-starred chefs, fast-casual favorites and even a distillery. Head to Kwame Onwuachi's Afro-Caribbean concept Kith/Kin in the InterContinental Washington D.C. - The Wharf, Fabio Trabocchi's foray into Spanish coastal fare with Del Mar or Officina, Nicholas Stefanelli's three-story homage to Italian cuisine.
The Southwest Waterfront offers a strategic home base for enjoying sublime views of the Potomac River and gaining easy access to the National Mall. While this close-knit community experiences a renaissance and redevelopment, they welcome visitors to sample an authentic DC lifestyle and culture.