Unlike most major cities that are situated by the water, DC has long lacked a vibrant waterfront destination. Yes, there’s the Georgetown waterfront, but we’ve always known we can do better than that. Why DC waterfronts have not become tourist and retail hubs, as is often the case in other major cities (hello Baltimore) is a mystery, but it looks like we’re getting there. A visit to Capitol Riverfront, which spans from the Nationals Baseball Stadium on South Capitol Street east to the Navy Yard, confirms that things are changing.
We had heard rumors about the great waterfront park and promenade called Yards Park and recently decided to check it out. It’s important to mention that the park is easily accessible from all parts of the city by metro (Navy Yard) or BikeShare. Driving a car is the probably the most inconvenient way to get there as you’ll have to pay for parking – which can be quite pricey, especially on game days. As a mother, Laura is always looking for new outdoor kid-friendly activities, particularly if they involve water. Yards Park definitely did not disappoint. First, is the beautiful promenade which provides a lovely stroll from the stadium down to the Navy Yard. There are great spots for retail and we hope to see some fun new businesses popping up soon. The place is just screaming for an ice cream shop.
Next are the pool and fountains. They are brilliant! A shallow reflecting pool with a really cool waterfall wall was keeping kids of all ages entertained. Babies were loving the shallow pool and the upper level fountains. Even the teenagers were having a great time. It’s not easy finding a spot that all ages can enjoy. Best of all, parents can accompany their kids without having to actually get in a bathing suit! There was also plenty of green space for laying out a blanket and having a picnic and a lovely garden for relaxing on a bench and enjoying the waterfront view. It’s very open so the kids have space to run safely and parents can relax a bit and still keep an eye on them. It’s also a great spot for a birthday parties, family picnics or even weddings. Or just a romantic after-dinner stroll. There are open air concerts every Friday night during the summer months which promise to be a lot of fun.
The last striking feature is the design of the park itself. We were immediately struck by how the park seemed to be part of the surrounding landscape instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. No concrete monstrosities here. There’s a harmony with the natural environment and it’s clear that the design was carefully and thoughtfully conceived. Elements like the waterfall wall and pedestrian bridge are modern and breathtaking but they are perfectly compatible with the surrounding environment. One can’t help but think that this is the smart design that we hope to see throughout our booming city. This is not just the creation of a park or pool or bridge, it’s the redesigning of a lifestyle. Washingtonians want a lifestyle that is healthy, environmentally responsible and community oriented and if Yards Park is any indication, developers are listening and delivering. For more information, visit www.yardsparkdc.com.