the running of the chihuahuas

Little Dogs, Big Fun

Thank you for joining us for the 11th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas presented by Pacifico on May 6, 2023.

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 4, 2024 for the 12th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas at The Wharf.

This free event features the iconic Chihuahua races, adoptable pet parade, all-breed dog costume contest, and more!

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2023 Event Schedule

Celebrate the 11th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas presented by Pacifico and hosted by Tommy McFly. The fun-filled event features the iconic Chihuahua races, a Pacifico Beer Garden, Surfside taco stand, a DJ, pet photo booth, and a giant inflatable Chihuahua for photo opportunities. Stop by the Tito's Chihuaha Lounge on Transit Pier for a cocktail made with Vodka for Dog People, and don't forget to visit the DC Lottery tent to spin the prize wheel to win cash and DC Lottery swag.

The highlight of the afternoon, the races features over 150 Chihuahuas racing in groups of eight on a sixty foot racetrack. All the action is captured on a huge video screen and the winners take home pet-friendly gifts, prizes, and more! All race proceeds benefit Rural Dog Rescue – a non-profit organization dedicated to pulling dogs from high-kill rural shelters.

District Pier

2:00-5:00pm — Pacifico Beer Garden, Surfside Taco Stand, DJ, pet photo booth, and a giant inflatable Chihuahua on District Pier. 

2:15pm — Chihuahua races begin, and continue throughout the event

2:45pm — Adoptable Pet Parade

3:30pm — Dog Costume Contest (All breeds welcome)

4:15pm — Semi-Final Chihuahua Races

4:30pm — Check Presentation and Final Chihuahua Race

Transit Pier

1:00-1:45pm — Racer Check-In on Transit Pier

2:00-5:00pm — Tito's Chihuahua Lounge and Pacifico Party Zone with drinks and additional big-screen race viewing

Running of the Chihuahuas 2023

Presented By

2023 Frequently Asked Questions

Do spectators need to register or get a ticket?
Running of the Chihuahuas at The Wharf is FREE for spectators; no tickets are needed. Gather around the race track or watch the excitement on the big screen. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the designated event bar and Surfside taco stand on District Pier. Additionally, food and drinks are also available for purchase at all Wharf bars and restaurants. You must be 21+ to consume alcohol.

How can my Chihuahua participate in the races?
Chihuahuas who wish to participate in the races must register and pay the race entry fee on Eventbrite prior to the event. All race entry fees are donated to Rural Dog Rescue

Please note: as of May 5, we are completely sold out of racing spots. We encourage you to come see the fun and we will take walk ups on a first-come, first served basis if we have any last minute openings or cancellations.

What type of dogs are allowed to race?
Only Chihuahuas may participate in the races, but all dogs can take part in the excitement of the day during the free all-breed dog costume contest! If you don’t have a dog yet, keep an eye out for your forever friend during the Adoptable Dog Parade that takes place between the Chihuahua races.

How do I participate in the all-breed dog costume contest?
The all-breed dog costume contest takes place around 3:30pm on the main racetrack. There is no need to sign up in advance, just bring your costumed dog (on a leash, please) to the racetrack when the emcee announces it's time for the costume contest.

Is this event pet-friendly?
Pets are allowed in outdoor spaces throughout The Wharf. The Wharf will provide water for pets to drink and small pools for pets to splash in. However, we do expect large crowds during the event, and outdoor areas may be hot or cold, so please plan ahead for your pet's comfort and safety. Please plan to keep your pet leashed throughout the event (except the Chihuahuas, when they're racing). The recommended pet relief area is Benjamin Banneker Park near 9th and Maine Ave SW.

Are there any drink specials?
Select restaurants at The Wharf have crafted specialty cocktails named after an adoptable dog from Rural Dog Rescue to help raise awareness and find the dogs a home. Each cocktail is made with Tito's Handmade Vodka, which is vodka for dog people. Try out the different cocktails and support Rural Dog Rescue through Sunday, May 7, 2023. Participating restaurants include Cantina BambinaCanopy CentralWhiskey CharlieBrighton SW1, H Bar, Officina, Bar Pendry, Union Stage, Pearl Street Warehouse, Kirwans on The Wharf, and Kaliwa.

View the adoptable dog Tito's cocktails

Will there be fireworks?
Running of the Chihuahuas at The Wharf does not feature fireworks. View The Wharf Events Calendar to see which upcoming Wharf events feature fireworks.

What is the best way to get to The Wharf?
Plan for lots of vehicular traffic and limited parking on Saturday. 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 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. View the public restrooms on the Event Map.

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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Turn your visit into a vacation! The Wharf has four pet-friendly hotels at a range of price points. Book a room so you can party with your pup all night long.

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