Creating Cultural Destinations and Places of Distinct Character
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New sports arenas, arts and performance venues, parks, and museums are introducing the Anacostia Waterfront to residents from the District, the region, and beyond.
A Waterfront for DC Culture and Music
A diversity of musical and cultural celebrations is bringing new and expanding groups of visitors to the Anacostia waterfront. New and improved cultural spaces and musical venues like Arena Stage, the Anacostia Arts Center, The Anthem, and the Pearl Street Warehouse, as well as the many waterfront parks and public spaces, have made the Anacostia waterfront an entertainment destination.
Neighborhoods as Destinations
DC’s waterfront neighborhoods are becoming destinations themselves, with clusters of activity enlivening the area day and night. Anacostia waterfront neighborhoods like Historic Anacostia, Capitol Riverfront, and the nascent Wharf offer a diversity of urban experiences along the Anacostia River.

Host to Major Events
The Anacostia waterfront hosts major events, including the Pope’s visit in 2009 and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in July 2018. The Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival has grown in popularity and regional significance since kicking off in 2010, introducing thousands of visitors to the Anacostia’s natural splendor. The DC Jazz Festival has had a presence on the Anacostia River since 2015 at Yards Park, and this year at The Wharf. Since 2016, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival brings the flavors and sounds of the Caribbean to the Anacostia’s banks at RFK Stadium. Begun as the 11th Street Bridge Festival in 2013, the Anacostia River Festival has connected communities from both sides of the Anacostia River. Now in its fifth year, the Anacostia River Festival is jointly run by Building Bridges Across the Anacostia/11th St Bridge Park and National Park Service and has grown to attract 10,000 participants. The Anacostia River Festival is the bookend event to the National Cherry Blossom Festival, bringing DC’s premier annual celebration to Anacostia Park.
A Noted Destination for Visitors
Visitors from around the country and world can stay at new hotels on the Anacostia waterfront. In 2017, articles in Travel + Leisure (“The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018”) and Money Magazine (“The 10 Coolest Neighborhoods in America Right Now”) have highlighted the cultural attractions, restaurants, and public spaces on the Anacostia waterfront as key reasons to visit Washington, DC.
Meet you at the River
The Anacostia River itself is now a destination for residents of and visitors to Washington, DC to experience through boating, active recreation, educational programs, festivals, and wildlife-watching. Whether on a boat tour led by the Anacostia Riverkeeper, meeting an osprey with the Earth Conservation Corps, learning to fish at the Aquatic Education Resource Center, or canoeing the shallows of Kingman and Heritage Islands, thousands of long-time and newer District residents have experienced being on the Anacostia River for the first time in recent years. Thousands more have enjoyed the regional events such as the Bluegrass Festival, DC Jazz Festival, and Anacostia River Festival along the Anacostia’s banks, while new piers and sections of Anacostia Riverwalk Trail provide more casual and personal interactions with the water. A cleaner, more active, and inviting Anacostia River is being rediscovered as a central piece of the District’s civic identity and is bridging District neighborhoods east, west, north, and south.
The Wharf
Open since October 2017, Phase 1 of The Wharf has proven to be a four-season regional destination facing the Anacostia waterfront with a mix of music venues, shops, restaurants, hotels, offices, homes, and open spaces. Joining the Maine Avenue Fish market, one of the longest continuously-operating outdoor fish markets on the East Coast, The Wharf’s amenities and programming entice and entertain visitors even on DC’s coldest days, with outdoor features including fire pits and a skating rink. The network of well-designed and programmed active outdoor spaces encourage visitors to the hotels, restaurants, venues, and shops, as well as residents and office workers to linger and enjoy being on the water. Sold-out shows, talks, and events at The Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse have brought thousands to The Wharf to be entertained. To support ease of access to this new waterfront neighborhood, The Wharf is connected to the District and region with a new segment of Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, bus shuttle service to Metrorail, a new water taxi, and pedestrian accessibility improvements connecting to L’Enfant Plaza via Banneker Park.
Resurgence of the Anacostia Waterfront