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The Wharf may be Washington DC’s most exciting neighborhood, full of fine dining options, shopping, events, entertainment, and stunning views of DC’s waterfront, but did you know that this mile-long neighborhood has its own history to tell?
The Wharf and DC’s Southwest Waterfront are simply steeped in history, along with many excellent historic sites where you can take in not just the views and the fun, but the stories that come along with it.
Want to take a peek into a different side of The Wharf and the Southwest Waterfront? Immerse yourself in history and culture at some of the lesser-known attractions that make The Wharf worth visiting, and learn about the rich history behind each location.
Historic Elements in DC
There’s more to experience at The Wharf than just these hidden gems. You could spend another day exploring the National Mall, see famous landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, or spend hours getting lost in the Smithsonian Museums.
The National Mall in Washington DC is the ultimate destination for history, culture, and nationalism in Washington DC. The National Mall is just full of significant monuments, museums, and landmarks that are all uniquely DC. Its impressive lineup of landmarks includes the United States Capitol building, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Smithsonian Gardens and Museums, and countless other attractions.
It’s a beautiful place to get lost in, with its many parks and monuments, and you simply can’t have a trip to DC without a trip to the National Mall.
Located right near the National Mall and The Wharf, DC’s collection of 21 Smithsonian Museums, all located within DC, is one of the best places to truly step into not just the history of the district, but the history of the country itself and even the world. Providing a deep insight into subjects such as the national history of the world, US history, art, and science, the Smithsonian Museums feature unique exhibits, activities, events, and opportunities to learn about everything and anything!
Ford’s Theatre is where former US President Abraham Lincoln was famously assassinated on April 14, 1865. Today, the theatre continues to host shows and performances while honoring the legacy of Lincoln and his contributions to the country. This historic site features exhibits on the Lincoln administration and assassination, its aftermath, the Civil War, and a walking tour of the Peterson House, the boarding house where Lincoln perished, located right across the street from the theatre.
Provisioning and Local Fare
If you’re looking to stock up on some provisions while you’re here, there’s nothing else you’ll find in quite as much abundance at The Wharf as seafood. Seafood has always been the name of the game in the Southwest Waterfront — you could even say that the waterfront was built on the foundation of its thriving seafood industry!
For the best and freshest seafood in the city, the Municipal Fish Market just can’t be beaten.
Municipal Fish Market
The Municipal Fish Market at The Wharf is best known for being the oldest continuously operating open-air fish market in the United States. First opened in 1805, the Fish Market was instrumental in establishing the Southwest Waterfront as a vital commercial district. Since then, the Municipal Fish Market has become a hometown favorite and a hidden gem of DC. Although only the lunch room and the oyster shucking and fish cleaning sheds remain of the original brick structure that was built in 1918 and demolished in 1960, the Fish Market continues to be an important historical landmark of The Wharf and the Southwest Waterfront.
Here, you can enjoy fresh and cooked seafood, from crabs, oysters, lobsters, and of course, freshly caught fish. Have your fill of excellent cooked seafood, or bring some back home with you to cook later.
It’s got everything from fresh fish, crabs, clams, oysters, lobsters, and other local seafood of the finest quality. You’ll also find cooked seafood like crab legs, lobsters, and raw bar fare like fresh oysters for those who want something that’s ready-to-eat.
For the finest quality provisions The Wharf has to offer, you can head over to the first floor of Officina, which features a three-in-one Italian market called Mercato. Here you’ll find plenty of specialty ingredients for cooking in their specialty grocer, all chef-selected and curated, including gourmet pasta, imported olive oils, spices, fresh-baked bread, homemade sauces, and more.
The Mercato also boasts the “best macelleria or butcher shop” in DC and an extensive wine shop overseen by Officina’s very own award-winning beverage team. Officina’s Mercato brings you all the best ingredients you need to create your own fine dining yachtie experience.
If you’re looking for places to dine out, meanwhile, The Wharf has an excellent line-up of fine dining restaurants with an extensive selection of cuisines from all over the world, from Asia to the Mediterranean, all the way to the Caribbean.
Mi Vida is a Mexican fine dining experience located right across The Wharf Marina with an excellent view of the Potomac and one-of-a-kind twists on your Mexican favorites. Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen in Washington DC is a two-story high waterfront restaurant at a convenient location right near The Wharf Marina that serves some of Chef Ramsay’s most iconic signature dishes, such as beef Wellington and lobster risotto.
Del Mar prides itself on having the best outdoor dining experience, with a beautiful and breezy location right by the waterfront, and a mouth-watering menu of authentic Spanish cuisine, including hand-cared Jamon Iberico. If Asian fare is what you’re craving, Kaliwa serves a unique fusion of Southeast Asian food, blending the vibrant flavors of the Philippines, Thailand, and Korea to create an innovative spin on Asian cuisine.
The Wharf is just full of culinary experiences that are sure to get your appetite going. For more of the best dining experiences at The Wharf, check out The Wharf Marina’s very own list of the best Foodie Destinations at The Wharf.
Pearl Street Warehouse
Located right in the heart of The Wharf close to many beloved restaurants and attractions and brought to you by the brilliant minds behind Wharf staple Cantina Marina, Pearl Street Warehouse is known for its chill and intimate vibes, with live performances from “all-American” artists from all different kinds of genres — like rock, soul, country, folk, and blues — and a unique, front-row experience that you won’t find anywhere else. And what better way to enjoy these all-American musical acts than with some all-American fare? Pearl Street Warehouse serves diner-style food and drink, including signature cocktails.
There’s a show happening almost every night, so take this opportunity to sit back, grab a drink, and relax at Pearl Street Warehouse for a one-of-a-kind musical experience.
The Anthem is fast becoming DC’s premiere nightlife and live entertainment venue. This acoustically-enhanced concert venue hosts everything from conventions, and comedy shows, to concerts and live music gigs. With a capacity of up to 6,000 people, The Anthem can comfortably accommodate large crowds for mega events and even intimate performances from local acts and bands.
If you’re looking to catch a show or concert during your stay at The Wharf, The Anthem is the place to be! The Anthem hosts all the hottest acts from all over the country, so be sure to book tickets to their scheduled shows now.
Whether you’re here for the big tourist destinations or the lesser-known but much-appreciated secret spots of the city, The Wharf, and the Southwest Waterfront are well worth exploring and experiencing to the fullest! Looking for charter services or a boat club on-site for the crew or guests? The Wharf Marina has commercial operators right here to help you with any request! The new Oasis Boat Club has Scout, Cobia and Sweetwater vessels to take out and enjoy a day-trip on the Washington Channel. You can learn more about the Oasis Boat Club here and see all the operations out of The Wharf Marina here.
To help make your Wharf experience all the better, Oasis Marinas is offering 10% off to all Triton readers who book their stay at The Wharf Marina in August and September! Just enter the code MDTriton10 at checkout using Snag-A-Slip to enjoy this amazing, exclusive discount!