The Wharf is like Old Town Alexandria’s splashy younger sibling. There’s a buzz of excitement, and it’s continued to grow since its opening in 2017. The completion of phase two in October tops off the walkable mile of shops, restaurants, hotels, and more.
While it’s an easy drive from NoVA, getting there via the City Cruises water taxi is a family-friendly option. It returns with a cherry blossom theme this month, and has afternoon and evening pickups and drop-offs.
Getting an earlier start (or visiting sans kiddos)? Begin with a luxe facial or massage at Spa Pendry, part of the new 131-room Pendry Washington DC. A perk: DMV residents will be treated to a glass of Champagne with a service of an hour or longer. (Mention you’re local when booking.)
There’s no shortage of spots for a midday meal. You could stick with the Pendry’s breezy Flora Flora. (Its plant-and-animal-printed wall coverings feel plucked from the set of The White Lotus.) Or fill up on British snacks from a celebrity chef at Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips.
(Ramsay also just opened a second restaurant at the Wharf: Hell’s Kitchen, a two-level steak and seafood establishment.) Feeling French? Indulge in Parisian brunch bites at Bistro du Jour.
After lunch, take a five-minute ride — you can rent a bike at Unlimited Biking — to the new Rubell Museum. Housed in the former Randall Junior High School, a historically Black public institution that operated between the 1920s and 1970s, the venue showcases some 200 pieces gathered by Miami collectors Mera and Don Rubell. What’s Going On, titled for the 1971 album by Randall alum Marvin Gaye, is on view through March with social and political works from 51 artists such as Kehinde Wiley, President Barack Obama’s portrait painter.
Later, pick up a Havana cold brew and pastelito to go from local fave Colada Shop to savor while browsing the boutiques or relaxing at The Green, a scenic recent addition. (The water fountain is made of recycled marble that was unsuitable for headstones at Arlington National Cemetery.)
After a little stroll by the river? Dinner. While on-land restaurants abound, we suggest hitting the water for a sunset food-and-wine cruise via Cru Classé. It’s the brainchild of chef and captain Troy Knapp, who introduced the experience last year at Market Pier but has since moved into the tony docks at the Wharf Marina. His 2016 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 sailing yacht provides a gorgeous setting for your private excursion.
Expect four courses of seafood — think a scallop crudo with cherry blossom shoyu — and French whites and rosés, offered as bottles à la carte or as paired tastings. Reservations go fast, so book soon to toast with that Taittinger Brut la Française on board.
You could end there — or make a night of it. Sing along to your favorite jam at the new Live-K, a neon-lit karaoke fever dream. If a concert’s more your thing, you can always head to The Anthem — but if you’re looking for something more intimate, check out Union Stage for a show and a slice.
The venue brought back its Jersey bar-pie outpost in February 2022 after a pandemic closure, delighting folks who like their thin-crust pizza served with a side of tunes. This month’s lineup features Pepper’s 20th anniversary tour and Anna of the North — her alt-pop music is a dance-worthy way to finish your day.
Feature image courtesy of The Wharf
This story originally ran in our March issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to Northern Virginia Magazine.