National Harbor is a 350 acre complex located 15 minutes away from the National Mall area, consisting of a multitude of shops, restaurants, hotels, a children’s museum, and a convention center.
Seasonally, there are free outdoor concerts and movies, a farmer’s market, and many other events to enjoy outdoors. The marina area has paddle boats and kayaks are available to rent and enjoy the water. Water taxis are available, connecting National Harbor to Old Town Alexandria. Sightseeing cruises are also offered. The waterfront has a nice walkway to stroll along the river’s edge.
The Capital Wheel, National Harbor’s newest attraction, is opening on May 23. It is a large observation wheel consisting of 42 gondolas that rise 180 feet above the Potomac River. Opening in time for Memorial Day, a trip on the wheel will showcase fantastic views of Arlington Cemetery, the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol, and the White House.
I recently stayed at the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel for a convention onsite. It was the first time I visited this area of the Capital region. Unfortunately, my stay was in late April/early May when many of National Harbor’s attractions were still closed for the season. If given a choice, I would visit National Harbor during the summer season when everything is open. However, being there for a conference, National Harbor offered many dining options and several shops in which to browse. It was also a great jumping off point to visit other area attractions.
The next time you are in the capital area and are looking for something to do besides the usual museums and monuments, consider a visit to National Harbor. I would definitely recommend a visit during the summer season when all of the attractions are open and you are able to enjoy the sun and waterfront area.