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.

01 of 10

Take a Ride on the Capital Wheel

National Harbor
G'Niel Pinkney / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
116 Waterfront St, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA
+1 301-842-8650

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.

02 of 10

Visit MGM National Harbor

MGM National Harbor boxing
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
101 MGM National Ave, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA
+1 301-971-5000

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.

03 of 10

Join a Clambake at Foster's

National Harbor Foster's
Courtesy of Foster's
2004 Eisenhower Ave, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
+1 703-519-0055

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.

04 of 10

Shop at the Malls and Boutiques

Tanger Outlets, Maryland
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

Explore the Gaylord National Resort

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Courtesy of Gaylord National
201 Waterfront St, National Harbor, MD 20745, USA
+1 301-965-4000

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.

06 of 10

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.

07 of 10

Sing at Bobby McKey's Piano Bar

National Harbor Bobby McKeys
Courtesy of National Harbor
172 Fleet St, Forest Heights, MD 20745, USA
+1 301-602-2209

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.

08 of 10

Cruise Along the Potomac River

Odyssey Washington
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

Rent Boats or Watersports Equipment

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.

10 of 10

Take the Kids on the Carousel

Carousel at the National Harbor
© Rachel Cooper, licensed to, Inc.
Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560, USA

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.

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Top 10 Things to Do at National Harbor, Maryland