Offering Community Spaces, Activities, and Events

Whether you live at The Wharf, come here often, or are just spending the day, the waterfront welcomes you to explore its open spaces and take advantage of the many free activities and events that bring the community together all year long. And at The Wharf in particular, this means that you will find engaging and enjoyable experiences for everyone on its public piers, parks, and promenades.

Public Spaces

Go for a stroll, work out, meet friends, or simply relax—The Wharf offers a wide variety of spaces that are free and open to the public. All of our three parks and four piers offer seating, amazing water views, and often feature event activities. There are also swings, the Wharf Torch, a splash fountain, a fire pit, a free ferry, a free kayak and paddleboard launch, and much more. Feel free to explore and find your favorite place at The Wharf:

  • Market Pier: direct waterside access for boaters and visitors to our Market Square and the Municipal Fish Market
  • Transit Pier: a bustling launch pad where you can see free live concerts, catch the water taxi, or skate at Wharf Ice Rink in the winter
  • District Pier: the largest pier is a dramatic gathering place and backdrop to our festivals and community events
  • Recreation Pier: a hub of activity with oversized games, multiple swings, seating around the Wharf Torch at the end of the pier, a kayak and paddleboard launch area, and the free Wharf Jitney to East Potomac Park
  • East Potomac Day Docks: across The Wharf from the Washington Channel, this is where the Wharf Jitney lets you off, and it’s also where you can launch or tie up paddle crafts for up to three hours during daylight in operating season (the dock closes at dusk)
  • 7th Street Park: a lush and energetic green space for relaxation and outdoor workouts featuring walking trails, benches, and a glorious splash fountain
  • Waterfront Park: a 3.5-acre park right at the edge of The Wharf, the perfect spot for a picnic, with rows of willow trees, shady trellises, and room for bocce
  • Banneker Park: just north of Market Square, this open green space connects The Wharf to the L’Enfant Plaza promenade

Free Activities

In a city that prides itself on being the “Capital of Free,” The Wharf is no exception. Whether you’re young or young-at-heart, looking for added value or sticking to a budget, you don’t need to spend money to spend time at the waterfront. Here are just a few of the many free activities that await you at The Wharf: 

  • Play oversized games (Jenga, Battleship, Connect 4, Scrabble), check out the swings, and gather near the fire feature on Recreation Pier
  • Go on a treasure hunt to find all 30 historic markers and plaques (and read about The Wharf’s history on the free District Wharf App)
  • Splash in the fountain, ride the rocking horses, and have fun at 7th Street Park
  • Listen to a concert on the Floating Stage, or catch one of the live-music performances offered in many of our restaurants
  • Check out the iconic Municipal Fish Market
  • Play bocce, relax on a bench, have a picnic on the grass, or enjoy the water feature at Waterfront Park
  • Check out the views all along the Washington Channel, and enjoy the boats—big and small—drifting by or docked at our four public piers
  • Look out at the waterfront from the second floor of the Hyatt House/Canopy hotel deck
  • Take the free Wharf Jitney to ferry across the Washington Channel to East Potomac Park
  • Hop on the free Southwest Shuttle Bus to the L’Enfant Metro station and the National Mall
  • Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi available throughout The Wharf, on the Southwest Shuttle Bus, and on the Wharf Jitney
  • Snap a selfie or family photo, and share it with #wharfdc

Free Events

The Wharf boasts a full calendar of events—all free and open to the public—and has quickly become one of the District’s most popular destinations for both locals and visitors. We invite you to join us for live music, waterfront workouts, art shows, boat parades, fireworks, and more. Check out our yearly calendar for an overview of what’s happening at The Wharf, or get details about upcoming events on our website. Here’s a quick snapshot of our event lineup: 

  • Major celebrations, such as Mardi Gras Parade & Fireworks, Cherry Blossom Celebration, and District Holiday Boat Parade & Fireworks
  • Unique events like Running of the Chihuahuas, Shark Bites & Brews, Pumpkin Palooza, and Fire & Ice Festival
  • Seasonal recurring activities like Curling & Cocktails, Waterfront Workouts, and Soccer & Sangria
  • Musical performances, including Wednesday at The Wharf and Saturday Night Dancing
  • Maritime events, including Blessing of the Fleet and Capital Dragon Boat Regatta

Return to Building Our Community

Browse the Shops

Whether you’re looking for something specific or simply like to spend a few hours in our unique collection of stores, chances are you’ll find just what you’re looking for at our shops at The Wharf. And, of course, you can always treat yourself to a delicious dessert—or celebrate your shopping finds with a drink at one of our restaurants.

Explore Retailers

Get Your Fill at The Wharf

Fresh seafood is a given at DC’s Southwest Waterfront. But The Wharf offers more, including a wide selection of distinctive choices for food, drinks, and entertainment while you eat. Watch the chefs prepare your meal. Listen to live music. Or just people-watch while you savor the flavors of The Wharf.

Explore Restaurants