Park Activities and Development Updates

Capitol Riverfront

Families enjoying Yards Park during Friday Concert Series

It seems that the warmer weather is finally settling into a more stable and consistent pattern, which makes us think of outdoor activities in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. The Nationals have been playing baseball for over six weeks now, and before and after games fans are discovering the newly opened Canal Park, Yards Park, and the Riverwalk Trail connection to Nationals Park. Spring is here and so are some of our favorite outdoor happenings for residents, employees, and visitors.

Canal Park had a wonderful opening in November and immediately transitioned to outdoor ice skating for almost four months. The rink hosted over 19,000 skaters from November through early March, and then the Park Tavern restaurant opened in April for dinner and is now open for lunch as well. It began serving brunch the weekend of May 18-19.

The park’s plantings have bloomed and filled out nicely, while the lawns of the middle block are hosting children for impromptu playtimes. The middle block water feature is now operational, and children have again discovered the magic of water in the canal-like feature. The 42 waterjets on the southern block provide another waterpark feature for children to play in on the warm days, spring through fall.  

Canal Park’s summer outdoor events include:

  • Lunchtime Wednesday Concerts – Every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the middle block of the park is home to our fifth annual Wednesday lunchtime concerts. The 12 concerts will occur from May 15 through July 31, so grab your lunch and come to the park for the sounds of summer.
  • Canal Park Thursday Movies – Our popular outdoor movie series returns, starting Thursday, May 30, and running through Aug. 8, in the northern block of Canal Park. The movies, starting at dusk each Thursday, will feature superheroes from DC and Marvel comics. Grab your blanket and food and enjoy outdoor “walk-in movies.”
  • Boot Camp Thursday Classes – New this year is outdoor summer fitness in Canal Park with free Thursday boot camp classes at 7:00 p.m. from May 14 to June 25, presented by Results Gym.
  • Farmers Market– A farmers market will occur every Tuesday from May 21 through Oct. 29 in the southern block of Canal Park near the waterjets, 4:00-7:00 p.m. Presented by the Capitol Riverfront BID in partnership with the Canal Park Development Association and managed by Diverse Markets Management (DMM), the market will feature a dozen local farmers and vendors selling fresh produce, locally prepared food, and artisanal crafts.

Yards Park is also ready for another season of fun and outdoor activities on the banks of the Anacostia River. This will be our third season of hosting concerts, festivals, and other events in the park. The calendar includes both public and private events, some of which help generate revenue for maintenance, security, and public programming. While certain events are private, during these events we will always have a portion of Yards Park open and available to the public. Summer events, especially the Friday concerts, create a vibrant neighborhood and community gathering place.

Yards Park summer outdoor events include:

  • Friday Night Concert Series– Our popular Friday Night Concert Series started on May 3, with an 18-concert lineup that will run every Friday evening (weather permitting) through Aug. 30. The concerts take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the River Terrace Steps in Yards Park. Bring a picnic or enjoy food and beverage offerings from Think Food Group (by Jose Andres), Luke’s Lobster, the Big Cheese Truck, STIX, and BBQ Bus. The Friday Night Concert Series is generously sponsored by CSX as well as the Capitol Riverfront BID.
  • Thursday Night Marine Corps Band Concerts – Yards Park welcomes a new concert series featuring the Marine Corps Band, performing every Thursday night beginning on June 6 until Aug. 29. The concerts will run from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Thursday and will also be offered on the River Terrace Steps. Bring your blanket and a picnic and enjoy the sounds of the Marine Corps Band.
  • Yoga on Monday and Wednesday – Two days a week the park offers free yoga classes at 7:00 p.m. on the Great Lawn. Classes are presented by Yoga Activist from May 13 through Aug. 26. Participants should bring a mat, towel, and water bottle.
  • Festivals and Other Events – Yards Park is also hosting festivals such as Tour de Fat on June 1, Taste of DC’s Drink the District event on June 29, and DC Veg Fest on Sept. 28. Check the Yards Park online events calendar for additional information.

In addition you may have noticed a flurry of construction activity in and near Yards Park. Here are some updates:

  • The Yards Park water features have been closed for approximately three months due to repairs to the pump room as well as replacement of the lining of the canal basin pool. The good news is that the lining has been replaced with a stronger and more durable coating, and the pool, fountains, and water wall should be fully operational at the end of May.
  • The historic Lumber Shed building has been totally enclosed in glass, and the building renovations are nearing completion. Tenant finish-out is beginning on two of the restaurants that will be located in the building. Upon reopening, the building will be home to Osteria Morini, an Italian restaurant by Chef Michael White of New York, as well as Agua301, a family-friendly Mexican restaurant by the owners of Zest Bistro. Forest City Washington, the developer of the project, will be moving their DC corporate offices to the second floor.
  • Construction continues on the site for the 50,000 square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store at 1212 4th St. SE. The project will also include 219 apartment units, a 28,000 square-foot VIDA health club, Bang Hair Salon, Aura Spa, and another 10,000-15,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail. Two cranes are operating on site, the concrete structure is already two levels above grade, and 1212 4th should open in the third quarter of 2014.
  • The Boilermaker Shops building renovation has been completed and tenant finish-out is occurring on several retail spaces opening this summer, including Bluejacket Microbrewery & Restaurant, Buzz Bakery, Nando’s Peri-Peri Peruvian Chicken, and Willie’s Brew & Que.
  • The Foundry Lofts Building will be home to a new retail tenant, Desi Furniture, which will occupy the retail bay space adjacent to Kruba Thai & Sushi, overlooking the Lumber Shed building. 

The weather is warming, the water is inviting, the parks are open, and we are ready to host some summertime fun!  Come and visit us at the Capitol Riverfront. Spend some time outdoors along the Anacostia River or in our great open spaces. Experience an event at Yards Park, take a stroll on the Riverwalk Trail, sit on the docks at Diamond Teague Park and Piers, watch a movie in Canal Park, or eat in the Canal Park Tavern. Our Friday night concerts are a wonderful way to ease into the weekend, and our Thursday night movies offer a summertime take on the old drive-in movie experience.

There is magic in the water, whether you are a child playing in the Yards Park fountains and wading pool or an adult listening to music while the waterjets dance in Canal Park.


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