The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.

Public Spaces

Relive a pretty afternoon on the ballpark ferry

Washington's growing fleet of water taxis are useful as transportation, but they're also a fun and unique way to see the city. I used an American River Taxi to travel to a Nationals game a few weeks ago, and photographed the trip for posterity.

ART ferries sailing to the ballpark pick up passengers at Washington Harbor, in Georgetown. Boats pull directly up to the boardwalk, and passengers simply walk straight on.

All photos by the author.

Inside, the boats have a double row of seats and a crew of 2 or 3. There are no bathrooms, and no vending.

Shortly after casting off from Washington Harbor there are great views of Georgetown and Foggy Bottom.

Washington Harbor.

Georgetown Waterfront Park.


Kennedy Center.

Thanks to calm water and shoreline trails, the river and its banks are multi-modal.

Boats, bikes, cars, and joggers.

The Roosevelt Bridge is the first of many that the ferry passes under.

Roosevelt Bridge, with Arlington Memorial Bridge behind.

Roosevelt Bridge.

Between Roosevelt and Memorial bridges, the monuments of the National Mall are visible.

Washington Monument.

Washington and Lincoln.

Washington and Lincoln, perfectly aligned.

Memorial Bridge is the most ornate of Washington's Potomac bridges.

Memorial Bridge.

Memorial Bridge.

Memorial Bridge.

Monuments continue to be visible as the ferry passes West Potomac Park.

Washington Monument.

Jefferson Monument.

The 14th Street Bridge looks very plain.

14th Street Bridge.

14th Street Bridge.

14th Street Bridge.

Metrorail's Yellow Line bridge is even plainer.

Metrorail Bridge.

Last and oldest of the 14th Street Bridge cluster, the Long Bridge looks ancient compared to any other on the river.

Long Bridge (right), with Metrorail Bridge (left).

Long Bridge.

After crossing below Long Bridge, East Potomac Park becomes visible on the east bank, while Crystal City and National Airport dominate the west bank.

US Capitol visible behind East Potomac Park.

National Airport, with Alexandria's Masonic Washington Monument in the background.

Crystal City.

Looking back upstream, Rosslyn, the National Cathedral, and the Washington Monument are prominent.

Rosslyn, the National Cathedral, and the Washington Monument.


At Hains Point the ferry turns to go up the Anacostia River.

Hains Point.

Looking up the Anacostia, the Frederick Douglass Bridge rises, and the baseball stadium comes into view.

Douglass Bridge.

Nats park and US Capitol.

Yards Park becomes visible beneath Douglass Bridge.

Douglass Bridge, with Yards Park.

The stadium looms large above the river.

Nats Park.

Nats Park.

Finally, the ferry docks at Diamond Teague Park, just downstream from Navy Yard.

Diamond Teague Park docks.

For even more photos of the ride, view the complete Flickr set.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


Add a comment »

Nice job as always with your photography. Thanks.

by Richard Layman on Oct 18, 2012 2:26 pm • linkreport

How long was the trip?

by thump on Oct 18, 2012 2:41 pm • linkreport

Did the Nats win?

by Arl Fan on Oct 18, 2012 3:51 pm • linkreport

Washington's growing fleet of water taxis are useful as transportation

Useful? In what possible way? Getting a few people to Nats games when there are already other cheaper and quicker transportation options?

By the way, I went over the the American River Taxi website and found that they are essentially shut down, with the exception of advance charters and special tours, until next March.

What an incredibly useful part of the transportation infrastructure of this city!

by dcdriver on Oct 18, 2012 5:03 pm • linkreport

I love the symmetry in the Lincoln and Washington shot.

by m2fc on Oct 18, 2012 5:27 pm • linkreport

The "Baseball Boat" out of Old Town Alexandria is popular and it's nice to arrive on the slow side of the park.

When I take Metro, I'm always tempted to leave 8th inning or so. But with the water taxi, I relax and enjoy the whole game. Then an easy walk down to the pier, and the ride home is relaxing.

by Jay Roberts on Oct 18, 2012 6:14 pm • linkreport

Great pictures. Just wish the name was more accurate though....its a ferry, not a water taxi. Water taxis operate on demand, ferries operate on fixed routes. Why confuse people with their branding?

@dcdriver....cheaper in what way? How many billions did it cost to build the ferry a highway or subway tunnel? The infrastructure for ferries is almost free.

by JJJ on Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm • linkreport

Amazing photos!

by H Street LL on Oct 18, 2012 9:22 pm • linkreport

"dcdriver....cheaper in what way? How many billions did it cost to build the ferry a highway or subway tunnel? The infrastructure for ferries is almost free."

Unless the passengers are storming the beaches a la Normandy, they're going to need piers. And the vessels are going to need Navaids, dredged channels, channel surveys to make sure the channels are still dredged, safety and rescue infrastructure (it's a bit different safety wise if a Metrobus breaks down on the side of the road vs a problem on the water)

The license and certification requirements for passenger vessels are also a lot higher, and a lot more expensive. (than say, for a bus) As is insurance.

Boats are fun, but they are also a heck of lot of work. A Cabi trip from the same point to point that the author took would take about the same amount of time (just under 30 min), and cost $0 (after a membership fee). But would not have as nice views and pix, I grant you.

by Kolohe on Oct 19, 2012 3:28 pm • linkreport

@Kolohe Perhaps, but the infrastructure stuff on the Potomac River is going to be built and maintained whether water taxis work or not. So while the infrastructure isn't free, it's already bought and paid for.

by Tim Krepp on Oct 19, 2012 4:09 pm • linkreport

@Kolohe, the boat in the picture is a pontoon boat capable of navigating very shallow water. That boat does not need any dredging done for it to pass. As far as docks suitable for this type of boat; they're not that expensive. A couple thousand bucks will get a decent dock.

by Tina on Oct 19, 2012 4:17 pm • linkreport

This sounds like a great date thing, certainly better than using the Metro. Don't know if I would use it if I was in a hurry to get to the game or home afterward though.

by Kurt Smith on Oct 21, 2012 8:45 pm • linkreport

For a water taxi to take off there would have to be a lot of high dense.ity development facing the Potomac on both sides of the river. It's a nice amenity but I don't see it becoming a transportation workhorse any time soon.

by Alan B on Oct 24, 2012 10:21 pm • linkreport

Great pics!

by Maurice on Nov 1, 2012 5:17 pm • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

You can use some HTML, like <blockquote>quoting another comment</blockquote>, <i>italics</i>, and <a href="http://url_here">hyperlinks</a>. More here.

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.


Support Us