where dc meets for the holidays

District's Holiday Boat Parade

Thanks for attending the 2023 District's Holiday Boat Parade supporting the Washington Area Fuel Fund

Mark your calendars for this year's event on Saturday, December 7, 2024

This free family-friendly event features over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along up the Washington Channel, as well as fun landside holiday activities including ornament decorating, holiday karaoke, a signature music performance by the Royals, family photos with Santa, fireworks and so much more.

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2023 Event Schedule

Join us on December 2, 2023 for the District's Holiday Boat Parade supporting the Washington Area Fuel Fund. Celebrate the holidays with this iconic DC event that features over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel.

Get into the spirit with ornament decorating by Recreation Pier. Roast s'mores at the Camp Wharf fire pit and visit our lighted 45ft Christmas Tree. Skate at The Wharf Ice Rink on Transit Pier and sample winter drinks at our Corona Cheer Garden. And bring your camera for pictures with Santa!

Event Schedule:

🎅 6:00–9:00pm — Activities throughout The Wharf (Corona Cheer Garden, s’mores, ornament decorating, live music by the Royals and Too Much Talent Band, visits with Santa & much more)
🛥️ 7:00pm — Boats arrive in the Washington Channel, Tommy McFly emcees the parade
🎆 8:00pm — Fireworks Salute
🎶 8:15pm–9:00pm — Live music by the Royals continues on the District Pier Stage and Transit Pier Stage. The bar will still be open!

The District's Holiday Boat Parade 2023


2023 Frequently Asked Questions

Do spectators need to register or get a ticket?
The District’s Holiday Boat Parade is FREE for spectators; no tickets are needed to enjoy the festivities on our piers or along Wharf Street.

Boater registration is closed. There are over 70 boats parading this year! 

How do I register my boat in the District’s Holiday Boat Parade?
Boaters who wish to participate in the boat parade must register on Eventbrite prior to the event. All vessels taking part in the parade must be decorated. Over $15,000 in prizes and swag will be distributed to participating boaters.

What activities are there at the event?
Get in the spirit with activities like ornament decorating, ice skating, holiday karaoke, photos with Santa and more. Warm up with winter drinks from the Corona Cheer Garden on District Pier or roast s'mores at the Camp Wharf fire pit and take in the sight of our towering 45-foot Christmas Tree. In addition to the parade, the District’s Holiday Boat Parade will offer activities for all ages including:

⭐ Kids can decorate ornaments & write a letter to Santa near Recreation Pier.
⭐ Roast s’mores at Camp WAFF’s wood-burning fire pit.
⭐ Visit the 45-foot nautical-inspired tree on District Pier.
⭐ Live music from the Royals and the Too Much Talent Band.
⭐ Kids can get their photos taken with Santa at The Grove.
⭐ Sing holiday karaoke with your friends at the 7th Street Stage.
⭐ Snap a photo in front of the life-sized "Joy" sign in District Square.
⭐ “Salute” oversized toy soldiers in District Square.
⭐ Sneak a kiss under the mistletoe in Pearl Street.
⭐ Sip on winter drinks at the Corona Cheer Garden.
⭐ Ice skate at The Wharf’s Ice Rink, DC’s only over-water ice rink.
⭐ Visit the Jack Daniel’s Barrel Tree & Bar on Market Pier.
⭐ Visit DC Lottery in Market Square to spin the wheel and win prizes.
⭐ Enjoy giveaways in the DC Circulator Winter Wonder Bus on Riley Street.
⭐ Take a holiday photo in the Enchant photobooth near Kaliwa.
⭐ Sample Pepsi products near Capital Yacht Club.
⭐ Watch a dazzling fireworks finale over the Washington Channel at 8pm.

View and download the official Event Map to see where each activity will take place. 

Is this event pet-friendly?
Pets are allowed in outdoor spaces throughout The Wharf. However, we do expect very large crowds during the event, outdoor areas may be hot or cold, and there is a fireworks show at 8pm, so please plan ahead for your pet's comfort and safety. The recommended pet relief area is Benjamin Banneker Park near 9th and Maine Ave SW.

Will there be fireworks? What time?
Fireworks will be shot off from a barge in the Washington Channel around 8pm.

What is the best way to get to The Wharf?
Plan for lots of vehicular traffic and limited parking at The Wharf. Instead of driving, ride the Metro to Waterfront Station and walk one block to The Wharf, or ride Metro to L’Enfant Plaza and connect to The Wharf on the free Southwest Shuttle. Or consider taking Bikeshare or riding with Alto—a new rideshare service. 

If you can’t avoid driving, plan to park in one of our three underground parking garages that are open around the clock. Or, utilize one of the nearby off-site parking garages (view PDF map), including Ace Parking at L’Enfant Plaza (420 10th St SW), L'Enfant East Parking Garage (840 D St SW), or the 1100 4th St SW Garage.

What happens if it rains?
A few sprinkles can’t keep us down. Unless the weather poses a hazard, the event will happen rain or shine.

Where are the public bathrooms at The Wharf?
Public restrooms are located throughout The Wharf at the Fish Market, Transit Pier, 800 Water Street, in the Oculus, and at The Terrace.

Can I bring chairs and coolers?
Chairs and coolers are not permitted at The Wharf at any time. Learn more about The Wharf’s Code of Conduct.

Can I drink alcohol outdoors?
In the District of Columbia, it is against the law to consume alcohol in public, including in the streets, parks, and piers at The Wharf. At The Wharf, you may only consume alcohol inside restaurants, within restaurants' licensed patio areas, or within the licensed event footprint on District Pier. No outside alcohol is permitted.

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Stay at The Wharf

Turn your visit into a vacation! Extend your trip and stay at one of our four hotels. That way, you can fully enjoy our holiday festivities.

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Directions to The Wharf

Centrally located, The Wharf is the District’s waterfront destination that is easy to get to—and to get around.

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Metro lines
Free rides on
SW Shuttle
Easy access to
Trains, Buses & DC Circulator
Capital Bikeshare stations
Bike parking spaces
Direct access to DC's extensive
Bicycle Network
1 mile of
Riverwalk Trail System of
20 mi
Minutes from the
National Mall
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Adjacent to
Direct access to the
Southwest Freeway
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