You are here

Things to See & Do in Southwest Waterfront

Southwest Waterfront skyline

The Southwest Waterfront of Washington, DC is evolving

A renaissance is underway along this 47-acre riverfront community, and the new development is called The Wharf. Despite big changes, this historic neighborhood maintains many important remnants of its past including its historic seafood market, world-class theater, leisure cruise boat pier and riverfront promenade along the Potomac River. Here is a list of the current happenings in the Southwest Waterfront neighborhood.

1 Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater Arena Stage

The second-largest theater complex in Washington, DC has inspired the revitalization of the Southwest Waterfront. A breathtaking renovation was completed in 2010, preserving the original theater-in-the-round and adding two new stages for experimental productions and theater education. The Mead Center encloses the stages with views of the waterfront from its floor-to-ceiling windows.

2 Maine Avenue Fish Market
Maine Avenue Fish Market dbking via Flickr

Established in 1805, this DC landmark is the oldest continuously operating open-air seafood market in the nation. Several vendors sell prepared and raw seafood - some from floating barges. It’s a great place to sample the region’s iconic Chesapeake Bay crabs and oysters.

3 The Wharf

The dynamic, groundbreaking waterfront development encompasses 24-acres of land and 50-acres of water. Spanning the length of the shoreline from the Maine Avenue Fish Market to Fort McNair, The Wharf will debut two luxury hotels, retail, office and residential buildings, as well as restaurants from the District’s most prestigious chefs.

4 Thomas Law House
Thomas Law House Mr.TinDC via Flickr

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this Federalist home was built in 1784. Martha Washington’s eldest granddaughter lived here briefly after marrying Thomas Law. The house served as a hotel during the Civil War, but today, it’s the Tiber Island Community Center.

5 The Washington Marina

This busy marina was established in 1951, and remains a vibrant home of many “live aboards,” or owners of boats who reside here year-round.

6 The Gangplank Marina

Located in the protected Washington Channel, Gangplank is a commercial marina serving Washington’s premier sightseeing cruises. See the Jefferson Memorial and other DC landmarks from the glass-enclosed, luxury of The Odyssey featuring elegant multi-course meals and the Spirit of Washington known for popular brunch cruises.

7 Women's Titanic Memorial

Located in Washington Channel Park, the Memorial was authorized by Congress in 1917 and funded by donations from 25,000 American women honoring the men who died during the sinking of the Titanic Ship in 1912. You may remember Kate Winslet, striking a similar pose, in the Academy Award winning movie “The Titanic.”

8 Hain's Point
Hain's Point Tim Evanson

This scenic peninsula between the Washington Channel and the Potomac River is a recreational haven with golf, swimming, running and biking.

9 East Potomac Aquatic Center

Located on the peninsula known as Hains Point, this heated outdoor pool is open to the public and was recently renovated. It’s open from Memorial Day to September 30th.

10 East Potomac Golf Course

Located on Hains Point, this 18-hole public course is run by the National Park Service. Three courses offer varying degrees of difficulty. During the summer, the mini-golf course, Club House and Driving Range are in full operation. The White Course welcomes players to try FootGolfDC, on weekdays anytime, and on weekends after 2:00 p.m.

11 Cantina Marina
Cantina Marina jsprig via Flickr

This dockside, tiki-style bar welcomes guests to hang out by the marina and sip tropical drinks. Snack on local seafood and listen to live music while enjoying a mesmerizing view of the sunset.

12 Mandarin Oriental Hotel Spa
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Spa Mandarin Oriental

Considered the one of the most luxurious spas in DC, choose from a half or full day spa experience with face and body treatments, health education, as well as fitness activities.

13 East Potomac Tennis Center

Located on Hains Point, the tennis center is open year-round with outdoor and indoor courts.

14 St. Dominic Catholic Church

Built in 1875, this neighborhood gathering place has an impressive illuminated steeple and 24 stained glass windows illustrating the life of the church’s patron saint, Dominic. On Sunday evenings, the Church hosts religious movie seminars.

15 Wheat Row

This charming street claims some of the oldest homes in Washington, DC. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these late Georgian-style row houses date back to the 1700’s and were designed by a Washington architect William Lovering.

A visit to the Southwest Waterfront is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the past and newly energized present. Visitors will love exploring the historic fish market, dining at the new riverfront restaurants, and taking in a performance at this Tony Award winning theater featuring bold American plays. If you’re looking for active recreation, East Potomac Point has it all. This neighborhood is poised to become a top destination for visitors of the nation’s capital.

There are many exciting neighborhoods in the District with a rich history arts and culinary history. Explore DC’s neighborhoods to pick your next adventure.