Top 10 Things to Do at National Harbor, Maryland

National Harbor is a major waterfront development on the Potomac River, just outside of Washington, D.C. The mixed-use Maryland community is home to restaurants, retail stores, hotels, a Las Vegas-style casino, a full-service marina, a convention center, condos, and more. National Harbor hosts a wide range of events throughout the year and is a prime destination for dining and entertainment.

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

    Soaring 180 feet above the Potomac River, Capital Wheel is one of National Harbor's most popular attractions. From the top of the ferris wheel, you can see sweeping views of the Washington, D.C. area. Plus, the climate-controlled gondolas make it a comfortable ride no matter the season.

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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. The $1.4 billion Vegas-style hotel and casino features 2,800 slots and 140 table games, 12 restaurants and bars, 10 high-end shops, and a 3,000-seat theater. Performances include world-class concerts, comedy shows, cabaret-style acts, boxing events, and more.

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

    National Harbor offers a wide array of restaurants, from elegant waterfront dining to family-friendly establishments. During the summer, check out Foster’s to experience an outdoor clambake or crab and lobster boil on the shores of the Potomac River. There's also a BBQ menu with pulled pork, cornbread, coleslaw, and baked beans, if you don't want seafood.

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

    National Harbor is home to many unique shops. Browse Crabtree & Evelyn for skin care products, South Moon Under for boho-chic clothes, and Potomac’s Gourmet Market for artisanal cheese and wine. The Tanger Outlet Shopping Mall also has brand-name stores, including Calvin Klein, H&M, Gap Factory Store, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic Factory, White House Black Market, J. Crew Factory, and more.

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

    The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center has 2,000 guest rooms, six restaurants, retail shops, a full-service spa and fitness center, a nightclub, and an indoor/outdoor swimming pool. The resort has a regular light and fountain show that's a favorite for families.

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    Check out the Special Events

    Movies on the Potomac
    ••• Courtesy of National Harbor

    Special events are held year-round at National Harbor. Taste more than 150 international wines, spirits, and beers at the National Harbor Food and Wine Festival, catch some free outdoor films at Movies on the Potomac, or kick up your heals and dance at the free summer concerts. Later in the year, you can drink German beer 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 for everyone to enjoy. This is a popular place to unwind, have a drink, and show off your vocal skills with a group of friends.

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    Odyssey Washington
    ••• Odyssey Washington on the Potomac. Courtesy of Entertainment Cruises

    National Harbor hovers on the shore of the Potomac River, and one of the best ways to take in the scenery is by boat. Sign up for a yacht or sailboat cruise to see the capital's most famous monuments or explore George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. There are also lunch and dinner cruises, with multi-course meals and live bands.

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  • 09 of 10
    Boating on the National Harbor
    ••• Courtesy of National Harbor

    Canoe, sailboat, kayak, and paddle board rentals are available for a day of outdoor fun on the Potomac waterfront. Get some exercise and take in the views of National Harbor, Alexandria, and Washington, D.C.

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    Take the Kids on the Carousel

    Carousel at the National Harbor
    ••• © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Families love the playground, picnic tables, and 36-foot carousel at National Harbor. Admission is $5 for an all-day pass or $3 for a single carousel ride, and accompanying parents can ride for free with their children.