Sightseeing from The Wharf Marina
The Wharf has some of the best waterfront views DC has to offer. Whether you’re viewing from the land or taking a boat out on the Washington Channel, there are sure to be plenty of sights to behold. Check out our selection of some of the best sightseeing spots on the Washington Channel, all of which you can access right from The Wharf Marina.
Waterfront Monuments & Places
John Ericsson Memorial
This 20-foot granite memorial depicts and honors John Ericsson, the Swedish-American engineer who pioneered and revolutionized naval history, as well as designed the Civil War-era warship, the USS Monitor. First dedicated on May 29, 1926, the memorial features a seated likeness of John Ericsson with three figures standing above him, each representing the concepts of adventure, labor, and vision.
This monument can be easily seen from the Potomac River as you approach the Arlington Memorial Bridge, not far from the Lincoln Memorial.
Right past Arlington Memorial Bridge, you’ll find the Watergate Steps, another iconic landmark of Washington DC. You may notice that this place is a popular spot for plenty of people, from runners and joggers getting their daily steps in, to everyday tourists and citizens looking for a place to sit down, relax, and enjoy a splendid waterfront view of the Potomac and neighboring Virginia. You may even catch a glimpse of the top of the Lincoln Memorial from your vantage point on the water.
The Watergate Steps were originally built as a dock, providing an easy ceremonial entrance to the Lincoln Memorial grounds to visitors coming in from boats. Orchestral concerts used to play on a barge from the water while audience members could be seated on the steps themselves, though this practice eventually stopped in the 1960s due to noise from the nearby Washington National Airport disrupting the music.
The Arts of War and Arts of Peace Statues
When passing through the Arlington Memorial Bridge, it can be hard to miss these bronze gilded sculptures — one pair, the Arts of War, standing at the entrance to the Arlington Memorial Bridge from the Lincoln Memorial grounds, while the other, the Arts of Peace, stand on the other side of the Watergate Steps.
Both sets of statues depict representations of Valor and Sacrifice (for War) and Aspiration and Literature and Music and Harvest (for Peace). They were originally commissioned in 1929 as complimentary additions to the plaza on the east side of the Lincoln Memorial grounds, but wouldn’t be erected till 1951. You are just able to see them as you sail by the Arlington Memorial Bridge, with the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument visible in the background.
Of course, who can’t forget the Lincoln Memorial, an eternal facet of Washington DC? Though best viewed from the Lincoln Memorial grounds itself in the National Mall, this white marble neoclassical structure can still be viewed from the Potomac River near Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Watergate Steps.
You may not be able to see the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln from there, but if you’re eager to escape the crowds of people that constantly flock the front and inside of the memorial, seeing it from the comforts of your own boat could be the most ideal choice.
Similar to the Lincoln Memorial, this 555-foot stone obelisk is hard to miss even from the Potomac. This iconic DC landmark was built to commemorate George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, and stands at the far end of the Reflecting Pool in the National Mall, directly opposite the Lincoln Memorial.
The monument is especially prominent from the water during the nighttime when it and the Lincoln Memorial are lit up for everyone to see.
A much lesser-known memorial in Washington DC, the Titanic Memorial stands at the end of Southwest Waterfront Park in Southwest Washington, just near The Wharf and Fort McNair. This granite statue, standing at only 15 feet tall, can be seen from the Washington Channel with its arms spread wide.
It was first built to honor the men who sacrificed their lives to save the women and children during the infamous RMS Titanic disaster. It originally stood in Rock Creek Park between Georgetown and the Lincoln Memorial before being moved to its current spot in 1968.
Hains Point Cherry Blossoms
If you time your visit to Washington DC in spring, you may be able to make it in time for full bloom. Cherry blossoms are a staple of Washington DC culture and they only stay in full bloom for a few days during peak cherry blossom season. While cherry blossoms are everywhere in the National Mall and the Tidal Basin, they’re also abundant in Hains Point in East Potomac Park, just across the Washington Channel from The Wharf.
Indeed, the Washington Channel and the Potomac are both excellent places to view the cherry blossoms along the waterfront in Hains Point and East Potomac Park. The pretty pink flowers look just as beautiful from the water as they do on land.
The Wharf Marina is the ideal waterfront docking experience in DC! View some of the best monuments and landmarks in Washington DC right from the water. Want to hear about more exciting places and sights to see by the water while you are staying with us? Call our concierge team at 202-595-5165 to learn more!