The Wharf breathes new life into Washington D.C’s waterfront

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  • Published on November 3, 2023
  • In Places

The $3.6 billion renovation has created a community with sustainable living, full event calendar, and community s’mores.

The Wharf in Washington, D.C. should top the list of sites to visit during your next venture to the nation’s capital.

The once-underutilized span of southwest waterfront property has been transformed into a hub of entertainment, dining, and experiences that perfectly represent the diversity of the city. Add that to the unobstructed views of the Potomac River, and you have the perfect tourist attraction.

Elements of the original waterfront still shine. The Municipal Fish Market — the country’s oldest continuously operating open-air fish market – has been selling the region’s iconic Chesapeake Bay crabs and oysters since 1805, while the Gangplank Marina has been the docking home for some of the area’s most vibrant boats and yachts since 1951.

The Wharf’s revitalization was a $3.6 billion project that restored the stretch’s landmark locations while adding the glitz of new experiences.

Outdoor festival and performance spaces are plentiful, including The Anthem, a 6,000-capacity live music venue. Regardless of what time of year you head to The Wharf, there will be something happening on the waterfront. Events for the upcoming season include the National Sleep Out and the District’s Holiday Boat Parade.

Endless dining options dot The Wharf from one end to the other. Bar food and casual eateries are available, but five-star restaurants with picturesque riverscapes are the favored suggestion.

The standout choice is Phillipe Chow. The Wharf’s location is the first aside from the chain’s flagship restaurants in New York. Chow’s is a rather new addition to The Wharf, opening its doors this June. They offer upscale Chinese food with an expansive drink selection and impressive service (ask for Rashard). Leave room for dessert and partake in the DIY s’more cart utilizing a community fire pit for a unique experience.

Camp Wharf S’more and Fire Pit. (The Wharf/Destination D.C.)

Lodging accommodations on The Wharf could exceed the expectations of anyone who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The InterContinental sits at the midpoint of the stretch. Hailed as the world’s first international luxury hotel brand, the Washington, D.C. location offers guest rooms and suites with unobstructed balcony views of the Potomac and lounge areas with a contemporary style class sophistication. Guests can enjoy all of the benefits of a resort environment – including a luxurious full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, rooftop pool, dockside bar, The Watering Hole, a signature restaurant, meetings and event space, and more.

The Wharf waterfront (The Wharf/Destination D.C.)

The Wharf’s renovation also included a detailed eye to creating fun, yet sustainable attractions. The rebuild aimed to support D.C.’s waterways and improve the surrounding habitat’s quality. The highly walkable community was designed as a highly efficient, densely developed mixed-use neighborhood featuring residential, retail and office spaces, as well as over 17 acres of park and public spaces.

The advanced systems and technologies used in constructing the new buildings aim to achieve LEED Gold or Silver certification. At the same time, the entire layout is designed to achieve Gold certification for LEED Neighborhood Development.

While The Wharf has enough to keep you busy, it’s close to everything D.C. is known for.

It is ideally positioned within a 10-minute walk from the National Mall and just blocks away from metro stops. Visit the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the world’s largest museum dedicated to African-American history and culture, or watch a show at Shakespeare Theatre Company, which has been providing classical theater to the city for over 35 years.

Although the monuments have drawn the masses to Washington, D.C. for decades, The Wharf will keep them there and entertained. The scenic views, culinary options, and endless things to do are ushering in a new way to enjoy the nation’s capital.

Martie Bowser is a journalist and public relations professional in Charlotte, NC. She enjoys amplifying the voices of POC and women that fill a void within their community. Her favorite things to cover include “person of interest” pieces, small business highlights, pop culture commentary, entertainment features, and everything about Beyoncé. Her bylines can be found in Blavity, Black Excellence, Signature Bride, Black Wall Street Times, and HipHop Weekly. Martie can be reached via email at

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