Summer on the River Every Day!

42 dancing fountains, one of Canal Park's popular water features

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner and Capitol Riverfront is the place to be.  Baseball is being played at Nationals Park, and Yards Park and Canal Park are in bloom and getting ready for a summer of events. Ease into the weekend with a picnic at the Friday Night Concerts in Yards Park; show your Natitude at a Nationals baseball game; participate in a fitness class in our parks; take a run, a stroll or a bike ride on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail; see your favorite stars beneath our stars at the outdoor film series in Canal Park; take the kiddos to one of our two “splash parks” in Canal Park and Yards Park; and enjoy dining outdoors at one or our restaurants and then a stroll on the boardwalk overlooking the Anacostia River while enjoying ice cream from Ice Cream Jubilee. 

The Parks

Yards Park and Canal Park both offer open lawns and water features that allow all sots of activities, from picnics to impromptu lawn games, and both are programmed with summer activities that appeal to families and millennials alike. The water features in both parks are now open for use by the kiddos, and a new pool liner has been installed in the canal basin at Yards Park. Outdoor concerts and movies are starting soon, and we will be having a new once monthly Wednesday night concert in Canal Park. 

Diamond Teague Park & Piers is located directly on the Anacostia River just south of Nats Park on Potomac Avenue, SE, and offers docks for water taxis, ferries from Alexandria, and tour boat docking.  It also has a floating dock where canoes and kayaks can launch or be rented from the Ballpark Boathouse for a paddle outing on the river again this summer.  The Anacostia Watershed Society will also host several of its free paddle nights from the Diamond Teague docks.

Late spring and summer not only announce the return of our park water features, but it also signals the start of many of our outdoor activities in the Capitol Riverfront.  It seems there is an activity occurring almost every day in the parks and open spaces of the Capitol Riverfront – so come and enjoy your summer!

Summer Begins in May

Friday Night Concerts – this will be the fifth season of our popular Friday night concert series.  We will be hosting 18 of the concerts every Friday night beginning on May 15, and two of those concerts will be produced  by the DC Jazz Festival (Friday, June 12) and the Tour de Fat festival (Friday, May 30). All Friday night concerts are free and open to the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the Yards Park boardwalk and river terrace steps.  Lumbershed Building restaurants Osteria Morini and Agua 301 have outdoor seating overlooking Yards Park and the concert venue, and the Harris Teeter grocery can provide picnic staples and beverages for your concert outing.

Thursday Night Outdoor Movies – our eighth season of outdoor movies will begin on Thursday, June 5 with a theme of “People’s Choice,” as the films were voted on by our newsletter readers.  The outdoor movies will take place in the northern block of Canal Park and always start around sundown (8:45 p.m.).  So bring your blanket and your picnic and enjoy your favorite stars underneath our stars in Canal Park.

Outdoor Fitness Classes – The Capitol Riverfront BID and partners VIDA Fitness and DC BFIT will host a series of summer workouts and exercise classes in Yards Park and Canal Park. Free and open to the public, the fitness classes will be offered Monday through Saturday and once a month on Sunday. The following classes can be enjoyed from May 19th through September 12th

  • Monday  6:30 p.m. High Energy class in Canal Park from DC BFIT
  • Tuesday 7:00 p.m. Vinyasa Yoga  in Yards Park from VIDA Fitness
  • Wednesday 6:30 a.m. Yoga class in Canal Park, 6:30p.m. High Energy class in Yards Park from DC BFIT
  • Thursday 7:00 p.m. Zumba in Yards Park from VIDA Fitness
  • Friday 6:30 a.m. High Energy class in Yards Park from DC BFIT
  • Saturday 8:30 a.m. Boot Camp in Yards Park from DC BFIT 
  • Sunday Special – once per month at 1:30 p.m.: Sunday Family Fitness in Canal Park from DC BFIT
  • The OneNess Yoga Festival will also occur again in Yards Park on Sunday, June 21.

Nationals Park – The Nationals 2015 season has begun, so come down for a game and arrive early or stay late at one of our 28 restaurants that are open for lunch and dinner.  Nats fans have already discovered Gordon Biersch, Park Tavern, Bluejacket Brewery, Osteria Morini, Agua 301 and Kruba Thai as the places to be for dinner before a game and a post game celebration.  Several new restaurants have opened over the winter months including 100 Montaditos, Sweetgreen, TaKorean, The Big Stick, Willie’s Brew & Que, and Bonchon Chicken.  Nats Park offers also more than baseball games this summer as they will host a range of summertime activities including:

Opera in the Outfield – Saturday, May 16th will see a production of Cinderella by the Washington Opera being broadcast from the Kennedy Center on the ballpark’s jumbotron screen.  Come see the opera and enjoy your favorite ballpark food and beverages in the outfield or the stands.

Taylor Swift Concerts – Monday, July 13 and Tuesday, July 14 at Nats Park

Zac Brown Band & Avett Brothers Concert– Friday, August 14 at Nats Park

The Capitol Riverfront is also known as the neighborhood for outdoor festivals and music events. On Saturday, May 16, Neighborhood Restaurant Group will host the inaugural ABV: DC’s Leading Libation Festival in Canal Park. Tour De Fat returns to Yards Park for another bicycle-themed beer festival on Saturday, May 30th and will provide the free Friday Night Concert on Friday, May 29. DC Jazz Festival will make its second appearance at Yards Park the weekend of Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13.  DC Jazz Festival will provide the free Friday Night Concert program that Friday evening and will have a series of performers in the park on Saturday.  Please visit the DC Jazz Festival website for the concert line-up and information on how to purchase tickets for the Saturday shows. Local music blog All Things Go will host their signature summer music festival in Yards Park on Saturday, July 25, and Neighborhood Restaurant Group will bring Snallygaster back to the neighborhood at The Yards on Saturday, September 12th

Paddle Nights on the Anacostia is a free program to be out on the Anacostia River offered by the Anacostia Watershed Society.  The public is invited to Ballpark Boathouse at Diamond Teague Park & Piers on the following Thursday evenings from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. this summer for an opportunity to use canoes and kayaks to paddle on the Anacostia:

  • May 21
  • June 25
  • July 16
  • August 13
  • September 3
  • September 24

The Anacostia Watershed Society is offering 20 paddle nights throughout the spring, summer and fall (from May 25th – September 24th) at Ballpark Boathouse, the Anacostia Community Boathouse, Kenilworth Gardens, and the Bladensburg Waterfront Park.  Visit for more information on Paddle Nights and to register for one of the free evenings of paddling on the Anacostia River.

After the winter we have had, everyone deserves to be outside and enjoying all the wonderful outdoor spaces that Washington has to offer. We invite you to enjoy all of this summer’s outdoor activities in the Capitol Riverfront, your neighborhood by the river.  Visit our website’s community calendar ( for a full listing of activities. We do this every day!

2014 DC Jazz Festival in Yards Park
Yoga class on the Yards Park boardwalk
Outdoor dining in the Capitol Riverfront

Michael Stevens, AICP  is President of Capitol Riverfront BID.