Fresh Air - Soaking in the Scene at The Wharf

DC’s new waterfront area, The Wharf, gives you plenty of opportunities to burn a hole in your pocket. There’s extravagant dining options, like Del Mar and Requin, there’s The Anthem, a brand new music venue hosting top international acts, and even gelato at Dolcezza.

However, if you’re able to exercise a little bit of discipline with your wallet, The Wharf can be a terrific place to relax and enjoy nature. 

Living in a big, bustling city like Washington, DC, it can be easy to go weeks at a time without going outside to take a breath of fresh air. That’s why, starting with The Wharf, we are going to feature some great locations in the District where you can get out and enjoy nature!

I live in Southwest, about a 5 minute walk from The Wharf. It has quickly become one of my favorite places to hang out in the city. 

On a recent visit to The Wharf, I ambled over from my apartment with no particular goal in mind. It was a cool, cloudy day, with a bit of a wind chill, but overall a very pleasant day to be outside. My first stop was the long pier in the southernmost part of the Wharf, near the Boathouse. I made my way down the pier, admiring the adult-size swing sets, and the people enjoying the swings, tapping into their inner child.

At the edge of that pier, there’s a large electric fireplace and several chairs to lounge in. I enjoyed a great view of the Washington Channel here, and on this day there were plenty of boats and kayaks out on the water.

Continuing my tour, I walked north towards The Anthem. On any given weekend afternoon, there is some terrific people-watching to be had down here. Families running around with their kids, young professionals grabbing brunch, and everyone in between can be found hanging out down at The Wharf.

I found my absolute favorite spot for some fresh air at District Pier. This spacious pier is located at the center of The Wharf, and plays host to outdoor concerts, and exhibits throughout the year.


My first recommendation would be to check out the plaques posted up on the edges of the pier. Each plaque commemorates the history of DC’s Southwest Waterfront, from its origins in the late 18th century, to the recent history of houseboats, where DC residents have lived since the 1970’s.

Walking all the way down to the end of District Pier, I found a real gem. At the edge of the pier, I found chairs and benches to sit and relax in. I had a front row seat to see planes taking off from DCA, and a beautiful view of the Washington Monument on my right. I also enjoyed taking in the action on the water and through the air, as boats, water taxis, and kayaks were joined by beautiful birds gliding just above the water.

As I kicked my feet up and soaked in the scene, I realized that it had been a long time since I had unplugged and spent time out in nature like this. While it’s really tempting to visit The Wharf for all of the fancy restaurants and dynamic performances, I found a great deal of enjoyment and pleasure just walking around and taking in the scenery, without spending any money at all.

Where do you like to hang out in DC to get some Fresh Air? Tweet us @carpe_dc with your favorite spots! 

Washingtonian on a mission to help people get the most out of life in the nation’s capital.