The Maine Avenue Fish Market has been operating in some form since 1805. That makes it the longest continually operating open air fish market in the United States. For 200 years, this waterfront market in DC's Southwest quadrant has been a main feature of Washington Channel, just off of the Potomac River. The fish market was one of the defining river features for 19th century Washington along with Washington Navy Yard on the Anacostia, and the port at Georgetown on the Potomac.
The municipal market has seen plenty of changes over the years, but the latest change is the most significant. The area adjacent to the market is being transformed into Washington, DC's newest entertainment district, called "The District Wharf."
The Wharf is a mixed-use development with commercial, residential, and industrial uses, with some open/public space. It consists largely of new construction, but incorporates existing structures including the Maine Avenue market itself. New office buildings and residential towers abut a pedestrian promenade and the Washington Channel with its slips for hundreds of boats. Phase I of the project opened in October 2017. Phase II is scheduled to begin construction soon.
Highlights include a 6,000 capacity music venue (Anthem), a dock for water taxis to Georgetown and Alexandria (too expensive at $20/round trip), several hotels (already in operation!), waterfront restaurants (ranging from coffee shop to fast casual to fine dining), a public fire pit (my fave part), walkable piers into the Washington Channel, shops (incl. Politics and Prose, Harper Macaw), and water sporting activities such as kayaking. The area is sure to adapt and evolve over time, but the mix of a historic base and new mixed-use density instantly make The Wharf a pretty dynamic new development and DC's more palatable and accessible answer to National Harbor, MD.
The Wharf is located at 1100 Maine Ave SW. It is accessible from L'Enfant Plaza or Waterfront Metro stations and has stations for Capital Bikeshare nearby. There is also a free shuttle bus that circulates from the development to the National Mall, to L'Enfant Plaza station, and back to the development.