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Holidays at The Wharf, Washington D.C.

by Irvina Lew

Dec 20, 2019

Jaimie Tuchman | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Until two years ago, when the first phase of The District Wharf made its debut as a 24-acre, mile-long business, residential, commercial and entertainment development on the Potomac waterfront, few paid attention to the Southwest Waterfront. The neighborhood’s only attraction was the Municipal Fish Market, but now, District Wharf lures people to a promenade and piers, a 309-slip marina, short-term docking, a multitude of shops and more than 20 eateries.


The major draw is The Anthem, a new, 3,000-seat concert venue. Plus, Union Stage offers some free concerts for children — and Arena Stage where Newsies is currently playing — is nearby.

Christmas on the Potomac. Photo: Irvina Lew


The Wharf is a fabulous family destination throughout the holiday season, from the mid-November Tree Lighting ceremony and the opening of the Wharf Ice Rink to the light-decorated Boat Parade, after which folks enjoy live music, ice skating, s’mores and hot chocolate. A holiday market, Dec. 12–15, welcomed special appearances from Santa and, in The Wharf Floating Stage, guests played cornhole and listened to live bands.


This year, the Menorah lighting takes place on the first night of Hanukah, Dec. 22, and Christmas Carols enchant Dec. 23.


For kids, the area is a year-round playground. The 7th Street Park — with its fountain centerpiece — offers rocking horses to ride and oversized games, swings and a fire feature await on the Recreation Pier. There’s also a D.I.Y. treasure hunt challenge to find the 30 historic markers. For outdoor recreation, including golf or the walking path, the free Wharf Jitney ferries across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park and you can rent kayaks. We saw water taxis darting to and from, some cross to Arlington, while one route connects The Wharf with National Harbor in Maryland.


The Wharf D.C. Photo: Irvina Lew


The Wharf’s amazing, convenient location is just minutes from major attractions, museums and monuments in Washington, D.C.  Via the free Southwest Shuttle Bus, it’s just one stop from the Metro at L’Enfant Plaza and two stops from Hirshhorn Museum facing the National Mall. For many, it’s within a reasonable walking distance to the mall and memorials; and Uber rides can cost less than $10.


Three prestigious hotel chains (Hilton, Hyatt and InterContinental) attract business travelers mid-week, and families on weekends to its safe, pedestrian-friendly, waterfront resort-like vacation destination.


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