As its name suggests, the Southwest Waterfront enjoys lovely riverside views. Nestled along 47 acres of the Washington Channel, this low-key neighborhood stands out for its historic fish market, variety of river cruise options and one of DC’s most beautiful performing arts centers. You’ll find locals who love the nautical life in Southwest taking advantage of its easily accessible boat dock, as well as its row of riverfront restaurants, before returning to the charming townhouses and condos that dot the waterfront real estate. The neighborhood is the perfect place to spend a warm afternoon exploring—and starting next year construction is set to begin on a multi-billion dollar renovation that will reimagine the neighborhood as a lively waterfront village with added restaurants, retail and attractions called “The Wharf.” The Wharf will embrace sustainable development and serve as a model for LEED-certified neighborhood development. All of the buildings in the redevelopment will be designed to meet or exceed LEED silver certification, offering an environmentally friendly place to live, work and play.
The Southwest Waterfront has deep roots in Washington. Long before the city became the nation’s capital, Native Americans used the Southwest quadrant for its river access. Later, the neighborhood was incorporated into Pierre L’Enfant’s original plan for the capital city and it soon became a mixed-use area with townhomes and offices for the federal government.
Located in the Southwest quadrant, the neighborhood’s home is where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers meet. It stretches along the waterfront from the historic Fish Market for nearly 50 acres to Ft. McNair. See a show at Arena Stage, which specializes in American theater. Dive in to some award-winning crab cakes and an endless seafood buffet at the flagship Phillips Seafood, or head to the historic Fish Market and pick up some fresh seafood of your own. Climb aboard a river cruise and explore Washington, DC by water. The dock is the launching point for a number of tours, including Odyssey Cruises and Spirit Cruises. In September, the neighborhood celebrates its vibrant cultural community with the SW ArtsFest.
The Southwest Waterfront of Washington, DC is a 47-acre site along the Washington Channel, stretching from the historic Fish Wharf to Ft. McNair. The Southwest Waterfront was part of Pierre L’Enfant’s original city plan. Over the years the area evolved into a multi-ethnic working-class community that suffered gradual decline. In 1950, the neighborhood was part of an urban renewal plan that included realigning the streets and building the Southeast/Southwest Freeway.
In recent years, the waterfront area became home to marinas, restaurants and a few popular nightclubs. The area has been underutilized and feels isolated from the rest of the city.
With a prime location along the Potomac River and excellent access to downtown, the Southwest Waterfront offers an ideal setting to be transformed into a vibrant world class urban community. Plans are underway to redevelop the area into a mixed-use development with approximately 3 million square feet of residential, office, hotel, retail, cultural, and more than eight acres of parks and open space including a waterfront promenade and public piers. The waterfront will be renamed, The Wharf. The first phase of the development is projected to open in 2017.
- Maine Avenue Fish Market – The local landmark is the oldest continuously operating fish market in the United States, dating back to 1805.
- Gangplank Marina – The facility offers 309 boat slips and serves as the departure point for Odyssey Cruises and Spirit Cruises. The waterfront restaurant and bar, Cantina Marina offers casual dining on the Washington Channel.
- Washington Marina – The marina has served boaters since 1951 and is home to many house boats and public slips. Capital Yacht Charters offers cruises from the marina.
- Arena Stage – The theater kicked off the revitalization of the neighborhood, completing a $135 million renovation in 2010.
- Phillips Flagship Restaurant – The famous seafood restaurant is located on the Washington Channel and features large dining areas, outdoor seating, and five private dining rooms.
- Thomas Law House – Built in 1796, the property was the home of Thomas Law and Elizabeth Parke Custis, oldest granddaughter of Martha Washington.