Set on the banks of the Potomac, the Southwest Waterfront has been a work in progress since the 1950s, when Congress decided the entire area required significant urban renewal to combat the poverty-stricken blocks that had grown to dominate this small neighborhood. As a result, much of it was purposefully destroyed and rebuilt, though a handful of some of the District’s oldest buildings can still be found here.
The area did not begin to substantially gentrify until shortly after the millennium, however, when construction of the Nationals Park baseball stadium began and large development projects started to move in.
Although the Southwest Waterfront is still primarily a residential neighborhood, a few restaurants and bars dot the piers and Water Street, where Nat’s fans, preppy sailors, rowing teams, and laid-back houseboat residents tend to congregate.
A cluster of marinas hold million-dollar boats – including the presidential yacht – while several dinner cruises and tour boats that take off from the area cater to anyone in the mood to see Washington, DC from a different perspective.
An open-air fish market, meanwhile, brings hungry fish fiends in to jostle over the latest catch, which they either take home or enjoy while dangling their feet off the banks of the river.
Slated next for the neighborhood is the Southwest Waterfront Station, a mixed retail-commercial-residential development at Fourth and M Streets, as well as the redesign and overhaul of the waterfront itself to include residences, office space, hotels, and retail establishments.