10 Things to Do on the Capitol Riverfront in Washington DC

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What to See and Do

Capitol Riverfront
Miller Taylor (Top), Rachel Cooper (Middle) and Capitol Riverfront BID (Bottom)

The Capitol Riverfront is a rapidly developing 500-acre neighborhood in Washington, DC, located along the Anacostia River, south of the U.S. Capitol Building and near Nationals Park. It is becoming a vibrant urban neighborhood and entertainment district, leading the way in green innovation and setting a new standard for growth in the nation’s capital. Flexible spaces have been created in the area to host a variety of events throughout the year including, movies, concerts, holiday and seasonal festivals, farmers markets, art expositions, games, educational and more.

During the 19th century, the Navy Yard was a bustling nautical center that played an integral role in the development of the area. The neighborhood was neglected during the 20th century due to pollution on the river and several other factors. The Capitol Riverfront is a part of the much larger Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and framework plan to redevelop this part of Washington DC. 

Read on to learn about the top attractions and things to do in the area.

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See a Game or Attend an Event

Nationals Park
Getty Images

Nationals Park was the cornerstone to the development of the Capitol Riverfront. The ​state-of-the-art baseball stadium was built in 2008 and hosts more than 80 home games each season. Special events and concerts are held at the stadium throughout the year. The area surrounding the park is still in a development phase with many changes expected in the future.

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Visit The Yards

The Yards
Miller Taylor

The 42-acre neighborhood along the Anacostia Waterfront includes 2,700 condos and apartments, 1.8 million square feet of office space and a growing number of restaurants. Plans are underway to build a 16-screen movie theater. Yards Park features sweeping riverfront views and hosts year-round events such as Family Day during the National Cherry Blossom Festival, free summer concerts and fitness classes. 

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Walk the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail

Anacostia Riverwalk Trail
Lorie Shaull/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

A 20-mile multi-use trail is under construction (15 miles is already in use!) along the east and west banks of the Anacostia River stretching from Prince George’s County, Maryland to the Tidal Basin and the National Mall in Washington, DC. This is a great place to enjoy a walk and sweeping views of the city.

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05 of 11

Visit the Washington Navy Yard

Washington Navy Yard
NCinDC/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

The former shipyard for the United States Navy serves as the headquarters for the Naval Historical Center in Washington, DC. Visitors can explore the Navy Museum and the Navy Art Gallery to learn about the Navy's history from the Revolutionary War to the present day. Admission is free. To enter the campus, a photo ID is required for all persons over age 18.

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Fly in the Sky at the Washington Trapeze School

Trapeze School
Manchen/Getty Images

The Washington Trapeze School, located near the Navy Yard, offers flying trapeze classes for all levels plus unique parties, corporate events and team-building workshops. Classes are held indoors and outdoors. Conditioning, juggling and children's classes are also available.

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Attend Capitol Riverfront Events

capitol riverfront movie
Capitol Riverfront BID

The Capitol Riverfront is one of the newest neighborhoods in Washington DC and is becoming a vibrant community hosting a variety of events throughout the year. During the summer months, check out the family-friendly outdoor movies and free concerts. Community events are regularly held at Yards Park, Canal Park and additional local venues.

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Ice Skate at Canal Park

Ice Skating at Canal Park
Photo Courtesy of Canal Park

From November through early March, Canal Park, located in the heart of the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, offers public skating, learn to skate programs, birthday parties and special event rentals. The ice rink is a fun place to enjoy some outdoor recreation in Washington DC during the winter months.

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09 of 11

Go Canoeing or Kayaking

Rachel Cooper

What's better than getting out on the water on a nice day? Washington DC is one of the best city's in the nation for outdoor recreation and has easy access to paddling sports. Rent a boat and explore on your own or sign up for a class to enjoy some guidance. Ballpark Boathouse offers canoe and kayak rentals, classes and twilight tours beginning right on the Capitol Riverfront.

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Check Out the Water Play Features at Canal Park

Water Play
Photo Courtesy of Canal Park

Canal Park has two water features: a large, interactive water fountain with programmable water jets and a 20-feet wide and 135 feet long fountain in the middle of the block. Children run through the area during the summer months, and when the fountain is turned off the space is used as a performance area.

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Visit the Walking Museum of Transportation

Walking Museum of Transportation
Elvert Barnes

The Walking Museum of Transportation is an outdoor museum, a tree-shaded walking trail that surrounds the new Department of Transportation headquarters building in Washington DC. Walk the trail and learn the history of transportation, see interpretive panels and life-size elements of transportation. The trail is located about a block from Yards Park in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.

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