The Capitol Riverfront’s Great Outdoors Signal that Spring Has Sprung


DC JazzFest 2016

The Capitol Riverfront is such an exciting environment to explore, connect with, and thrive in year-round. While the winter months keep residents, employees, and visitors cozily indoors at a variety of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, the warmer weather beckons them outside to enjoy all that this area’s outdoors have to offer. With the open space and water features of Canal Park and Yards Park, river recreation, Nationals baseball, outdoor concerts, daily fitness classes, outdoor movies, farmers’ markets, and a variety of festivals, there is never a dull moment throughout spring and summer. In fact there is literally something happening every day!

Opening Day

Washington Nationals’ opening day is annually the neighborhood’s official rite of passage into spring. The Nationals celebrate opening day on Monday, April 3, but the growth of the Capitol Riverfront is so explosive that the neighborhood holds an “opening day” of new dining and living options every month. Dining opportunities are abundant at 36 restaurants, with another 16 food and beverage options scheduled to open in 2017 including Dacha beer garden, All-Purpose Pizzeria, and District Winery – DC’s first urban winery. In addition the neighborhood anticipates the openings of popular goods and services retailers like 18│8 Men’s Salon, Orangetheory Fitness, and Whole Foods. For a full list of 2017 retail openings visit 

Cherry Blossoms

Another sign of spring is the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which continues through mid-April. The Capitol Riverfront neighborhood will host one of the most iconic events of Cherry Blossom Season, the 57th Annual Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival. Sakura Matsuri will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE. Produced by the Japan-America Society, Sakura Matsuri is the largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture in the United States. Performers and vendors arrive from all over the country and the world to share their love of Japanese culture and traditions with over 20,000 festival attendees through art, cuisine, and performances.

Farmers’ Market

Outdoor activities continue with the Freshfarm Capitol Riverfront Farmers’ Market beginning May 7. New this year, the Freshfarm Capitol Riverfront Market will feature locally sourced fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese, bread, beer, and coffee, at the southern block of Canal Park. Freshfarm is a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture by operating producer-only markets that provide vital economic opportunities to local farmers and food producers. The market will operate every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the fall.

Play and Explore

Paddle and play along the Anacostia River when Ballpark Boathouse opens to the public on May 13. Hop into a kayak or canoe to enjoy a paddle past the historic Washington Navy Yard, and check out other sites in the neighborhood, or even watch a Friday concert at Yards Park right from the water. For another relaxing way to hit the waves, join Anacostia River Explorers for a guided pontoon boat tour to learn about the Anacostia River's history and wildlife, the environmental threats it faces, and the solutions helping it realize its full potential.

The free guided tours launch from a variety of locations along the Anacostia River, so email Anacostia Riverkeeper to set up a date and time at


The Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Concert Series, everyone’s favorite Friday night activity, begins on May 26 at Yards Park. Each Friday night through Sept. 1, popular performers will bring the best of pop, R&B, country, reggae, and more to the Yards Park boardwalk. Here’s the lineup:

May 26: Jimi Smooth & HitTime
June 2: Morrison Brothers
June 9: Jeff from Accounting
June 16: DC Jazz Fest
June 23: Moose Jaw
June 30: Jah Works
July 7: The Reagan Years
July 14: Justin Trawick
July 21: Bachelor Boys Band
July 28: Covered with Jam
Aug. 4: Party Like Its
Aug. 11: Sam Grow
Aug. 18: Pebble to Pearl
Aug. 25: 19th Street Band
Sept. 1: Burnt Sienna
Sept. 8: Rain Date

One Wednesday a month, join your Capitol Riverfront neighbors for the Rockin’ the Block Concert Series, a newer take on traditional “front porch” concerts. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. the middle-block pavilion of Canal Park will feature great bands, food and beverages from neighborhood restaurants, lawn games, and more. Rockin’ the Block begins on May 31!

Keeping Fit

Get active in the fresh air as Fitness in the Front returns with free outdoor fitness classes in both Capitol Riverfront parks on Monday, May 30. Free classes are available every weekday for all interests and levels with instructors from VIDA, Orangetheory Fitness, and Balance Gym.


The Outdoor Movie Series, voted Best Movie Series by Washingtonian Magazine, will run every Thursday night in the northern block of Canal Park, located at Second Street and I Street SE, beginning on June 1. Each movie in this year’s lineup, selected and inspired by public demand, will begin at sundown. The business improvement district (BID) invites moviegoers to arrive at Canal Park as early as 7:00 p.m., bring a picnic, and enjoy the show. Here is the list of movies to enjoy this summer.

June 1: Ghostbusters (2016)
June 8: Me Before You
June 15: Sister Act
June 22: Doctor Strange
June 29: Secret Life of Pets
July 6: Grease
July 13: Moana
July 20: Rogue One – A Star Wars Story
July 27: Arrival
Aug. 3: La La Land
Aug. 10: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Aug. 17: Beauty & the Beast

Outdoor Events

Among the many outdoor events and festivals in the neighborhood this summer – like favorites DC Jazz Fest, Tour de Fat, and Snallygaster – one that stands out is the biggest open house in DC, the Capitol Riverfront Rooftop Hop. On Saturday, June 3, head to the neighborhood to check out apartment buildings in DC’s fastest growing neighborhood while tasting complementary bites and beverages from local restaurants. At the end of your residential building tour, head to Canal Park in the heart of the Capitol Riverfront for live music, food, and beverages. More details to be announced at www.

Altogether, the great outdoors welcome 81 Nationals games, 20 outdoor concerts, 12 outdoor movies, over 125 free fitness classes, 20 weekly farmers’ markets, daily river recreation, and a variety of outdoor festivals. Now that a sneak peek has been delivered, all that’s left is to join the fun and experience this genuine community that is the Capitol Riverfront. 

For more information on Capitol Riverfront developments and events visit

Bonnie Wright is marketing and communications manager of the Capitol Riverfront BID.