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Capitol Riverfront: From Shipyard to Sports & Entertainment Destination
Thanks to a MLB ballpark and buzzy restaurants, a onetime wharf and naval center transforms into contemporary-cool destination.
In a city that’s been transformed over the past several decades, the Capitol Riverfront might be the zone that’s seen the most change. From the late 19th century until World War II, the area functioned as a working wharf and naval facility on the Anacostia River. These days, thanks to more than $3 billion in redevelopment, the waterfront neighborhood buzzes with new restaurants, some of the city’s most scenic parks and, perhaps the biggest draw, the Washington Nationals. You can also explore the area’s past as well as U.S. naval history at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, housed in a onetime ordnance factory.
Nationals Park, a 41,000-seat beauty, serves as home field to the popular Nats, DC’s beloved baseball team. Concession stands offer up everything from Maryland crabcakes (a local specialty) to D.C. Brau beer – we broke down the park's food options for you. During the fourth inning, six mascots dressed as U.S. presidents like Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt take to the field for a goofy-yet-hotly contested race. And before or after the game, fans celebrate their “Natitude” at the Half Street Fairgrounds, a nearby outdoor beer garden/concert venue that’s made of shipping containers.
The outdoor jewel of the area is the Anacostia River, a recently cleaned up ribbon that’s ideal for exploring by boat; just rent a kayak or canoe from the Ballpark Boathouse and get paddling - or sign up for a guided trip at the same place. Views of wildlife – ducks, river otters, lots of blue herons – and the U.S. Capitol come with the ride. Or, just take in the water from The Yards Park, an arty, modern green space with a kid-friendly wading canal, open-air “rooms” and a futuristic footbridge.
Dining options have blossomed along with the rest of the neighborhood. You’ll find beer fanatics testing the rotating list of made-on-site suds at Bluejacket, a locally owned brewpub/restaurant in a dazzling converted warehouse. Also on the menu: seafood and a good burger. Other options in the area range from high-end (Osteria Morini for Italian pastas and chops in rustic-cool surrounds) to casual and quirky (TaKorean for East-meets-Southwest chow).
Are you ready to dive into other DC neighborhoods? Check out all of the District's neighborhoods to continue your exploration.