The District’s Holiday Boat Parade

calendar icon Dec. 4, 2021
clock icon 6pm – 9pm
map marker icon Entire Site

Join us on December 4, 2021 for the District's Holiday Boat Parade. Celebrate the holidays with this iconic DC event that features over sixty beautifully decorated boats parading along the Washington Channel.

Get into the spirit as you decorate ornaments. Warm up by our fire pit and visit our lighted Christmas Tree. Go ice skating and sample winter drinks at our Waterfront Beer and Wine Garden. And bring the whole family to meet Santa and make memories during this annual DC tradition. 

Parade Schedule

6:00–9:00pm — Activities throughout The Wharf (Waterfront Beer and Wine Garden, s’mores, and live music)
7:00pm — Boats arrive in the Washington Channel 
8:00pm — Fireworks Salute
8:15pm–9:00pm — Live music on District Pier Stage

Boater Registration

Boat owners are invited to decorate their boats and pariticpate in the parade.  Boats participating in the District's Holiday Boat Parade receive commemorative swag bags, invitations to the Captains After Party, and are eligible for a chance to win some fantastic cash prizes, including the $1,000 Best in Parade award. Boat captains must register in advance of participation, and must attend the mandatory Captains Meeting on December 2 at 7pm.

Boat Captains: Learn More and Register your boat for the DC boat parade here 

A Holiday Tradition

The District’s Holiday Boat Parade is part of a Potomac River holiday tradition with the Alexandria Parade of Lights earlier in the evening at 5:30pm. Boaters are encouraged to participate in both parades for a chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes while dazzling crowds on both sides of the river. Captains: register for Alexandria’s parade here.  Captains must register separately for the DC and Alexandria parades.


*This event is free and open to the public; no registration is required to view the parade or enjoy the live music and activities. Must be 21+ to consume alcohol.

*There are many ways to get to The Wharf that are better than driving and parking. Learn more about Getting to The Wharf, including the Free Southwest Shuttle, Water Taxi, and Metro service updates.

*This event will take place rain or shine. Actual start times may vary pending parade progress.

Get Your Fill at The Wharf

Fresh seafood is a given on the 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 music. Or just people-watch while you savor the flavors of The Wharf.

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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.

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