Georgetown Waterfront Park

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After decades of lobbying and fundraising, the once-derelict land on the Georgetown bank of the Potomac south of K Street has been transformed into a ten-acre landscaped park at the water’s edge. The once-thriving commercial waterfront had long lain derelict. By the 1960s, the land had been condemned, earmarked for an interstate highway that was never built. Part of the area was occupied by a parking lot, with the removal of many tons of concrete and other debris necessary before the vision of the park could be realized. The final completed section opened in 2011, linking 225 miles of parkland along the Potomac, from Cumberland, Maryland, to Mount Vernon, Virginia.

Geography—the park spans a curve on the river—contributes to the organic, fluid landscaping, with gently sloping grassy hills, flowering trees, shady seating and winding paths. At the water’s edge runs a bio-engineered rain garden—a line of plants that not only helps keep the shoreline in place but also filters run-off before it enters the river. The western part of the park, from Wisconsin Avenue to the Key Bridge, is less ordered and a little wilder. It’s here that you’ll find the wide green spaces, with panoramic river overlooks in the form of granite slabs etched with historical scenes, allowing visitors to get close to the water. Also here is a labyrinth. The eastern side of the park, between Wisconsin Avenue and Washington Harbor at 31st Street, is more heavily used and formal. The city meets the park at the southern end of Wisconsin Avenue at Wisconsin Plaza, with a line of arching, interactive fountains and benches alongside. Also here are wide river stairs down to the water’s edge, which form a kind of ampitheater for watching rowing races, with a pergola above.


Venue name: Georgetown Waterfront Park
Address: Water St NW
Washington D.C.

Cross street: Wisconsin Avenue & Whitehurst Freeway (K Street), NW
Opening hours: 24hrs daily
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