People love to decorate their houses for the holidays, but at The Wharf, things are done a bit differently. The District’s Holiday Boat Parade is an event not to miss, when the boats get a major Christmas makeover.

The new, redeveloped Wharf is already a destination in its own right, but the Holiday Boat Parade elevates it to a whole new level! Here’s what you need to know before you go.

WHERE: The Wharf | 1100 Maine Ave. SW, Washington, D.C. 20024 (the tip of Hains Point to the docks of the Wharf along the Potomac River) WHEN: Saturday, December 2 | 6–8 p.m. | Click here for the event schedule! COST: Free admission boat parade HIGHLIGHTS: The Boat Parade will be a jam-packed evening, and the key to making the most of it is figuring out what interests you most. If you’re interested in boats, you can find a spot to lounge in one of the many free seating areas along The Wharf. The couches are stylish and comfortable, and all couch locales feature a fire pit so you’ll stay warm and cozy all night long without having to move indoors. The boats will be decked out to impress with holiday lighting, music, and nautical decorations. Only 60 are allowed to participate, though, so while it will be festive, it won’t be overloaded. The boat parade will last a total of 30 minutes, from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a boat docking finale. But don’t leave your prime spot after the parade, as at 8 p.m., The Wharf will present a firework display to finish off the show with a bang.
Of course, if you’re not exactly one with the water, there are plenty of land activities -- both for families and adults. Bring your little ones for pictures with Santa and let them partake in a gingerbread cookie decorating station. Or, enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate around the bonfire! Many restaurants along The Wharf will be serving adult holiday-themed beverages on special as well. The event will also include a tree-lighting ceremony, a lineup of live music, and the opportunity to check out the state-of-the-art skating rink, which is already increasing in popularity among the Washington, D.C., crowd and tourists alike. As a bonus, if you’re in with the boating crowd, The Wharf will be hosting an after-hours "Captain’s After Party." The after-party will be “limited to the Captain [of each registered boat in the parade], and up to 7 additional pre-registered crew per vessel (8 total maximum). This private event will feature live music, hot hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, parade awards, and prize distribution.” So if your goal is a good party, work on finding some boating friends between now and December 2! boat parade Are you excited to check out The District’s Holiday Boat Parade? What other Wharf events are you looking forward to this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out The Smithsonian Holiday Festival, Dec. 2–3!