Explore Washington D.C.

All-Star Lineup: New Stops Near Washington Nationals Stadium

Covering all the bases with restaurants and bars, green spaces and blue waters

When the Nationals state-of-the-art home field opened in 2008, the neighborhood was, well, less than inviting. But the regular influx of ball-obsessed fans has fueled a transformation of the neglected industrial zone into a cool riverside destination for foodies, families and fitness buffs. Rehabbed structures, many once associated with the Washington Navy Yard, salute an illustrious past. The navy’s oldest (1799) base began as a shipbuilding center and during WWII became the largest naval ordnance plant in the world. The Anacostia River, too, has benefited from renewal efforts, drawing an ever-increasing number of strollers and boaters. Whether taking in a baseball game or not, visitors here can expect a home run.

On the Plate

As ballpark concessions have upped their game with local crab cakes, “Top Chef” Mike Isabella’s sandwiches and even vegan fare, new neighborhood spots add to the smorgasbord. In the repurposed Yards Lumber Shed, water views complement house-made pastas and grilled meats at Osteria Morini, the latest restaurant from James Beard nominee Michael White. Next door, Agua 301 serves Mexican tacos and bocaditos—“little bites” like empanadas and queso fundido—to pair with 50-plus tequilas and mezcals. Heat seekers walk a few blocks north for spicy curries at Kruba Thai and Sushi or fiery rotisserie chicken at Nando’s Peri-Peri.

Osteria Morini
Osteria Morini (Scott Suchman, Courtesy Osteria Morini)

In the Glass

Steps away from the centerfield gate, a boisterous vibe rocks The Fairgrounds, where colorful shipping containers form a beer garden hosting live music and games. A block east, Gordon Biersch pours its German-style brews indoors and on the M Street patio. The watering hole with the biggest buzz? Bluejacket brewery with 25 rotating drafts made inside a former navy boilermaker factory. Renowned hops man Greg Engert leads the team that experiments with open-air fermentation and ingredients like figs and chilies.

Yards Park
Yards Park (©Brooke Sabin)

At Play Time

Winner of Urban Land Institute’s 2013 Open Space Award, Yards Park invites riverside lounging on grassy expanses and in shaded wooden recliners. The dramatic pedestrian bridge provides a focal point near kid-friendly water fountains. Find more splash basins at LEED Gold-certified Canal Park, also home to sustainability-focused Park Tavern.

Park Tavern
Park Tavern (©Brooke Sabin)

For a Work Out

Cyclists, runners and ramblers take the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, while paddlers rent kayaks or canoes from Ballpark Boathouse, across from the first-base gate. There’s even the D.C. outpost of Trapeze School New York for would-be aerialists.