When travelers think of waterfront cities, Washington, D.C. doesn’t necessarily come to mind. After all, competition for such a moniker comes from New York, New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco, just to name a few. However, The Wharf, located at a remarkable, mile-long stretch along the Potomac River, is brimming with restaurants, retailers, residences, and businesses, all complemented by monumental views and an eclectic culture.
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The Southwest Waterfront has always been an important part of Washington, DC’s story. Early in the 19th century it enjoyed popularity as a site for fine residences and businesses, including the opening of the Maine Avenue Fish Market in 1805, which today reigns as the oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the country. Due to its navigability by the major rivers, the Tiber and James creeks, and the railroad tracks, the Southwest Waterfront became the principal commercial waterfront of the city in the 1820s and 1830s.
For the last 50 years, Southwest D.C. has remained mostly untouched. Now, five decades later, the Hoffman-Madison Waterfront team is heading the effort to reconnect the District to the water. As the maritime front porch to the nation’s capital, The Wharf hopes to set a new standard for waterfront urban development and is poised to become a premier destination for water activities, fine dining, luxurious hotels, shopping, residential accommodations, cultural events, and festivals. Situated along the District of Columbia’s Southwest Waterfront just blocks south of the National Mall, the Wharf is easily accessible to the region.
(Photo by Juan Carlos Brinceno)
Nestled in the center of D.C.’s Wharf neighborhood, the proximity of InterContinental Washington, D.C. – The Wharf to the Potomac River affords sweeping views of the water from its restaurant, guest rooms, function spaces and its rooftop pool and bar. The rooftop is new this summer and in honor of its first season, access is limited to hotel guests only so it will never feel too crowded. Wave, the rooftop’s full-service bar & restaurant, offers scenic snacks with seasonal cocktails including margaritas, mojitos and mules.
Slips & Sips, which will soon be the official rosé destination of The Wharf. Located at the InterContinental Washington D.C. – The Wharf, Slips & Sips is an outdoor space where locals and hotel guests will gather to enjoy an endless selection of rosé and seasonal light bites while looking out to the Potomac River.
The mastermind behind the themed culinary pairings is Chef Kwame Onwuachi of the hotel’s Kith/Kin, a 96-seat dining room with a menu inspired by Onwuachi’s background, combining flavors from Nigeria, New Orleans and the Caribbean. The drinks will mostly be pink wines from about a dozen countries, and guests may order by the glass or bottle. Slips & Sips will also have a selection of frozen drinks and pink champagne / sparkling cocktails. On the food side, Kith/Kin will create seafood-centric nibbles and shared plates.
For resplendent vistas, reserve a stay in the hotel’s Constellation Suite, a two-story suite with panoramic views of the river. The kitchen, dining room, living room and balcony are all on the top floor offering an unrivaled spot to watch the show, while the bedroom and den are tucked away downstairs. For an ultra-celebratory experience, have the hotel’s culinary team cook a special meal in your private kitchen, and enjoy dinner on the balcony while gazing out over the historic landmarks of the city. Summer time reading is made easy when staying at this new hotel through a partnership with Assouline, a luxury brand on culture renowned for collectible books on subjects ranging among fashion, design, art, travel, and epicurean arts. A wide variety of these unique tomes are located in all of the hotels suites.
Fitness is big business throughout the Wharf where visitors can enjoy numerous activities designed to get their adrenalin pumping. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi, Yoga Factory offers a wide variety of classes year-round, featuring premier instruction indoors in a welcoming setting. Or get a full-body workout at DC Row, an indoor rowing studio offering fun yet intense programs with detailed and interactive instructions. From paddle boarding to kayaking, dragon boating to sailing, The Wharf offers a wide variety of fun things to do on the water for exercise and relaxation on the Potomac’s lapping waves.
When completed in 2020 or 2021, The Wharf will feature more than 3 million square feet of new residential, office, hotel, retail, cultural, marina, and public uses, including waterfront parks, promenades, piers, and docks. It is a long overdue facelift that will restore D.C. as a vibrant waterfront destination that is well suited to attract tourists from all over the world.