Top 10 Things to Do at National Harbor, Maryland

Best Attractions and Entertainment in National Harbor

There are a variety of things to do at National Harbor, Maryland, the waterfront development on the Potomac River, just outside of Washington, D.C. The mixed-use community is home to restaurants, retail stores, hotels, a Las Vegas-style casino, a full-service marina, a convention center, condominiums and commercial office space.  National Harbor hosts a wide range of events throughout the year and is a prime destination for dining and entertainment for the whole family. Here is a guide to some of the best activities. 

  • 01 of 10
    National Harbor
    ••• G'Niel Pinkney / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    The Observation Ferris Wheel at National Harbor is a unique attraction soaring 180 feet above the Potomac River waterfront providing spectacular views of the Washington, D.C. area. It's open day and night and offers a memorable experience. The climate controlled gondolas make it a comfortable observation space year-round. 

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    MGM National Harbor boxing
    ••• Mike Hunter (L) exchanges punches with Aleksandr Usyk of Ukraine during their WBO Cruiserweight World Championship bout at The Theater at MGM National Harbor on April 8, 2017. Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

    Enjoy a full night of entertainment at MGM National Harbor,  a 1.4 billion dollar Las Vegas style casino featuring 3,600 slots and 140 table games, high-end branded retail, fine and casual dining and a 3,000-seat theater.  Performances include world-class concerts, comedy shows, cabaret-style acts, boxing events, and more. 

  • 03 of 10
    National Harbor Foster's
    ••• Foster's Clambake at National Harbor. Courtesy of Foster's

    National Harbor offers a wide array of restaurants ranging from elegant waterfront dining to family-friendly and casual eating establishments. During the warmer months of the year, check out Foster’s and experience an outdoor clambake on the shores of the Potomac River.

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    Tanger Outlets National Harbor
    ••• Tanger Outlets National Harbor. Ryan McKnight / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    Enjoy shopping at unique shops such as South Moon Under, Amelia’s Boutique, Build-a-Bear Workshop, America!, Potomac’s Gourmet Market and Hats in the Belfry. Visit the  Tanger Outlet Shopping Mall to shop at brand name stores such as Calvin Klein, H&M, IZOD, Gap Factory Store, American Eagle Outfitters, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic Factory Store, White House Black Market Outlet, J. Crew Factory Store and more. 

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  • 05 of 10
    Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
    ••• Courtesy of Gaylord National

    The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is a world-class destination with 2,000 guestrooms, flexible meeting and banquet facilities, six restaurants, a nightclub, retail shopping, a full service spa and fitness center, indoor/outdoor swimming pool and outdoor event space. The resort offers many special events through out the year and has a regular light and fountain show that provides a thrill for all ages.

  • 06 of 10

    Special Events at National Harbor

    Movies on the Potomac
    ••• Courtesy of National Harbor

    Special events are held at National Harbor throughout the year. During National Harbor Restaurant Week enjoy special menus, try some new foods at the  National Harbor Food and Wine Festival, during the summer months see some free films at Movies on the Potomac, kick up your heals and dance at the free Summer Concerts, drink a variety of German beers at the annual Oktoberfest and celebrate the season with a variety of Holiday Events along the waterfront. 

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    National Harbor Bobby McKeys
    ••• Courtesy of National Harbor

    At Bobby McKeys, dueling pianists lead a high-spirited, interactive sing-along offering a fun and unique night of entertainment. This is a great place to unwind and show your spirit with a group of friends.

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    Odyssey Washington
    ••• Odyssey Washington. Courtesy of Entertainment Cruises

    With a prime location along the Potomac River, National Harbor offers spectacular scenery. Enjoy a lunch or dinner cruise and see Washington's monuments or explore George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate.

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  • 09 of 10
    ••• Courtesy of National Harbor

    Rent canoes, sailboats, kayaks and paddle boards and enjoy a wide variety of outdoor fun along the Potomac waterfront. Get some exercise and take in the scenic views of National Harbor, Alexandria and Washington, D.C. 

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    Take the Kids on the Carousel

    ••• © Rachel Cooper, licensed to, Inc.

    Kids love the 36-foot Americana-themed carousel which is located at National Harbor right at the water's edge. There's also a play area and picnic tables which makes this area an inviting place for families. The Carousel is located on National Plaza at the north end of National Harbor along the waterfront. See a map and directions. Admission is $5 for an all day pass or $3 for a single carousel ride. Mom and Dad are free with purchase of admission for children.