The Georgetown Waterfront Park provides locals and tourists alike a serene place to take in great views of the river within a green, lush setting located on the edge of a historic, but urban bustling neighborhood. The park spans across ten acres, curving along the shore of the Potomac River and stretching from 34th Street NW down to 30th Street. Georgetown Waterfront Park is situated directly across the Potomac River from Roosevelt Island, and features views towards the Key Bridge to the west and views towards the Memorial Bridge and the Kennedy Center to the east.
Designed by Wallace, Roberts, and Todd, the Georgetown Waterfront Park features a more informal design, emphasizing the Potomac River and rowing, the signature sport of the river. The design offers amazing views of the river from several of the streets that run perpendicular to the park, as well as views of the Key Bridge from the diagonal paths in the park. The western end of the park, extending from 34th Street NW to Wisconsin Avenue, consists of mostly expansive lawns, overlooks, benches, walkways, and also a labyrinth. Serene vistas of the Potomac River can be enjoyed from the benches in the park, or while strolling along the riverfront’s wide promenade. There are a handful of scenic overlooks along the river that feature slabs of granite with scenes from the history of the waterfront as a seaport etched into them.
The Georgetown Waterfront Park’s eastern section, which extends from Wisconsin Avenue NW to 31st Street NW is designed to be more actively used by visitors. This area includes a pergola, a broad overlook, a large fountain, and stadium-like steps that lead to the edge of the river. During the summer season, children can often be seen splashing in the park’s fountain. The steps are a popular place for enjoying a picnic lunch, looking at the shore birds, or for watching the paddlers, rowers, and canoeists on the Potomac River.
Efforts by citizens of the District of Columbia to transform the waterfront of Georgetown into a national park stretched over three decades. Ann Satterthwaite, Katharine Sullivan, and Judy Bonderman created the Committee for Washington’s Riverfront Parks in 1978 to try to encourage the National Park Service to recognize the Georgetown waterfront’s potential to be a national park. The first step towards this goal took place in the early 1980’s when the Park Service encouraged Washington, D.C. to transfer ten acres of the waterfront to the Federal government. In 1985, the transfer was made, however, there weren’t enough funds to build the national park.
Several organizations were created over the following years in an effort to raise the necessary funds to create a park on Georgetown’s waterfront along the Potomac River. The Friends of Georgetown Waterfront Park, a non-profit organization, was founded in 2005 to continue advocating for the waterfront park and raise the remainder of the needed funds. Working with the government of the District of Columbia, private donors, and the National Park Service, the $23 million goal was finally reached.
3303 Water Street NW, Washington, DC, Phone: 202-895-6000