Visiting the National Harbor in beautiful and historic Maryland is an experience that can take multiple days to allow for time to see and do everything. From water taxis, Ferris wheels, and carousels to dining, arts and shopping, the Harbor is a great place to spend vacation time. Although the Harbor has not been open for long, it has made a lasting impact on the local community.
A great combination of leading shops, hotels, and entertainment combined with the scenic background that is the Potomac River makes this massive, sprawling complex sit firmly on top of its competitors when it comes to fun, diverse offerings, and accessibility. There is even a hotel on sight for visitors who want to spend more than one day.
Capital Wheel - This breathtaking Ferris wheel soars riders 180 feet into the sky and over the Potomac River. Tickets are available for purchase on site, allowing guests to see all the beautiful sights available from the top of the wheel: the Washington Monument, National Cathedral, and more. Also make sure to visit the recently opened outdoor bar and lounge, aptly named the Flight Deck.
Carousel - An exciting piece of nostalgia for riders of all ages, the carousel is a 36-foot masterpiece featuring a wide variety of make-believe creatures sure to please everyone. There is a small additional cost to ride, but the area surrounding the carousel also houses a playground and toddler specific play area.
Farmer’s Market - Hosted every Saturday and Sunday from May to October, at American Way, this farmer’s market hosts a variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, baked items, and other goods.
Water rentals - For guests wanted to get out on the Potomac, the Harbor offers a variety of water rentals. Kayaks, stand up paddleboards, pedal boats, with or without lessons, can be rental for a small fee on site. All rentals come with life jackets and paddles, so guests can be safe while having fun.
Art - There are a few art pieces located around the Harbor if visitors know where to look! One of the most visually impactful is The Awakening, a giant 70-foot sculpture of a human that appears to emerge from the sandy beach. Children are encouraged not only to touch but also to climb onto it. The Beckoning is another sculpture, one that greets guests as they enter the premises. Created by an award-winning sculptor, this stunning and colorful piece stretches 85 feet into the sky. There are also statutes of a few former presidents and historical figures located outside the Harbor - Washington, Lincoln, FDR, Eisenhower, Churchill, Douglass, Rosie the Riveter, Louis Armstrong, etc.
Urban Pirates - One of the more fun offerings at the Harbor, this experience allows pirates of all ages to board a pirate ship and play pirates! The cruise lasts for 1.5 hours and guests can dress up, learn pirate lingo, fire water cannons, and even find hidden treasure!
The Harbor offers many different special events throughout the year. There are holiday movies shown throughout November and December, as well as an official tree lighting ceremony. There are also multiple areas available for rent. Check out the East Pier waterfront tent venue, which can fit between 250 and 350 people and has hardwood floors and incredible views. There is also the new Harbor Dome, which can actually be moved to any area on Harbor premises! Known as a geodesic structure, one which is transparent and allows guests the feeling of being outside while allowing them the safety and temperature/climate control of being inside, the dome can hold up to 450 people. For those looking for an outdoor venue to hold a larger amount of people, the Plaza is available for rent. With a stage area, a jumbo TV screen that can run video or live TV, the Plaza can hold up to 3,000 people at a time and is great for music festivals or movie premieres.
Shopping and Dining
With over 160 different shops by the Tanger Outlet, there literally is something for everyone at the Harbor. Featuring nationally recognized brands like Adidas, H&M, Steve Madden, and Yankee Candle, it is easy to spend hours browsing! The Harbor also offers over 40 different dining options for every preference and budget. Grab some Ben and Jerry’s to help curb a sweet tooth or a burger at Johnny Rockets. There are plenty of different types of food, from fast food to sit down dining, to make everyone happy.
National Harbor, 165 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745, Phone: 877-628-5427
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