5 Reasons Why You Should Visit the National Harbor

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The National Harbor

When I was a teenager growing up near Washington, D.C., discussions and rumors began to circulate about a place called the National Harbor. It was to be built in Oxon Hill, MD, near D.C. It would be right on the water facing the Potomac River. Sure, it seemed like a good idea, but it also seemed like an impossible dream to those of us living in the area.

The dream was to create a beautiful tourist attraction near the nation's capital. It would have upscale restaurants, shops, and hotels. The Baltimore Harbor was a favorite vacation spot to many visiting Baltimore, but could something similar be built in Prince George's County? As it turns out, yes, it is now a reality.

After years and years of planning, and what felt like forever during the building process, the National Harbor is now open to the public. Each year, it gets even better than the year before. It never ceases to amaze me each time I visit it. The National Harbor is beautiful, clean, and safe. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area or planning a vacation to D.C. You'll have many lodging, shopping, activity, and dining options. Check out 5 reasons why you should visit the National Harbor.

The Capital Wheel Photos

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The Capital Wheel

The Capital Wheel is a recent addition to the National Harbor. It is about 180 feet high over the Potomac River. If you are afraid of heights, it can be a little intimidating. I will admit, I was a little scared to ride it, but the views make it worth it.

While riding the Wheel, you can view all of the National Harbor, and enjoy some of the sights of Washington, D.C. Also, the gondolas are really comfortable. Each gondola holds about 6 people comfortably, although it is possible to fit 8 passengers. It is also air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. It is an excellent place to visit year-round since it is opened every day, even on holidays. You can even arrange to have events and private parties on the Wheel. VIP treatment is also an option.

Peeps & Company Photos

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Peeps & Company

If you love Marshmallow Peeps, you'd better brace yourself. There is an entire store devoted to Peeps at the National Harbor. Currently, there are only a few Peeps and Company stores in existence at all. The National Harbor is lucky to have its own Peeps and Company located in a very central location. It is also far more family friendly than a similar store, It'Sugar, located at many tourist attractions.

At Peeps and Company, you can buy plenty of candy, but also really cute candy related items. If you are a big fan of Peeps, there are t-shirts, magnets, pens, notebooks, and other products you will enjoy with Peeps on them. You can also choose from a wide assortment of Mike and Ikes if you prefer that over Peeps.

Tanger Outlets

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Tanger Outlets

A recent addition to the National Harbor is the Tanger Outlet Mall. Tanger Outlets are located throughout the U.S. for bargain shoppers. For many years, fans of Tanger Outlets living in the D.C. area had to travel all the way to Ocean City or another state to shop at a Tanger mall. However, this is no longer the case! The National Harbor is a prime location for Maryland / D.C. outlet shoppers and perfect for anyone visiting the area.

The National Harbor Tanger Outlets is located just outside of the main streets. If you are travelling by car, it takes a few minutes to get there. If not, plenty of the hotels in the National Harbor provide direct transportation there.

Once you are at the Tanger Outlet Mall, you can visit outlet stores for popular brands such as Coach, Under Armour, Nike, Skechers, and J. Crew. There are many other stores at the location, like New York & Company, Claire's, Kitchen Collection, and Brookstone. For a full listing, you can visit their site at National Harbor Tanger Outlets Directory.

Gaylord National Resort Photos

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The Gaylord in National HarborThe inside of the Gaylord in the summer.Fountains at the Gaylord National Harbor.Christmas at the GaylordGaylord National Harbor presents ICE!
The Gaylord in National Harbor
The Gaylord in National Harbor | Source
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The inside of the Gaylord in the summer.
The inside of the Gaylord in the summer. | Source
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Fountains at the Gaylord National Harbor.
Fountains at the Gaylord National Harbor. | Source
Christmas at the Gaylord
Christmas at the Gaylord | Source
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Gaylord National Harbor presents ICE!
Gaylord National Harbor presents ICE! | Source

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Even if you don't plan on staying at the Gaylord, you certainly need to visit it. The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is a sight to behold. It has a 19 story glass atrium, fountains, lounges, pool, fitness center, shops, and much more. If you are willing to splurge a little, staying at the Gaylord is a treat. However, there are many other upscale places to stay; no matter what, make sure to visit the Gaylord.

During the holidays, you can enjoy the beautiful decorations and indoor snowfalls. You can also buy tickets to see ICE! ICE! features over 2 million pounds of carved and colored ice. 2014's theme was Frosty the Snowman, so it is fun for the whole family. There are even slides carved completely from ice for adults and children of all ages to slide down. Thick coats are provided to everyone that visits.

Potomac River Photos

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The National Harbor with Christmas Tree and Potomac River.
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The National Harbor with Christmas Tree and Potomac River.
The National Harbor with Christmas Tree and Potomac River. | Source
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The Potomac River

Part of the appeal of the National Harbor are the spectacular views. The Potomac River runs along the edge of the National Harbor. Depending on where you stay, you can see a wonderful view of the river. While walking along the streets of the National Harbor, the Potomac River is often part of the background.

A sandy beach area with statues has been added to the National Harbor. When the weather is warm, it is pleasant to walk through the sand, sit on the statues, and just relax in the chairs at the "beach" to view the Potomac. There are plenty of sidewalks along the water's edge so you can get a great view, too.

Coming Soon!

As if all of these reasons are not enough, a new MGM Casino is now being built at the National Harbor. Due to the passing of new laws in Maryland, gambling is expanding and the National Harbor is going to have its own casino. We can look forward to its arrival in 2016.

With so much to do and so much more to look forward to seeing in the future, the National Harbor is an ideal vacation spot. Even if you only have a short time to spend in the D.C. area, make sure to visit the National Harbor.


Copyright ©2014 Jeannieinabottle


The National Harbor, Washington D.C. / Maryland

show route and directions
A markerThe Capital Wheel -
National Harbor, 174 Waterfront Street #215, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA
[get directions]

B markerPeeps and Company -
150 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, MD 20745, USA
[get directions]

C markerGaylord National Harbor -
201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745, USA
[get directions]

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Comments 18 comments

missirupp 23 months ago

Looks interesting and The Gaylord Resort looks amazing.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is amazing. Thanks for checking out my hub.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

Bev has never been to D.C. and I really need to take her there. I love that area....the historic sites alone are worth the trip. I don't think I'd like to live there, but it is a great area to visit.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is not so bad living here; the traffic is terrible though. Bev would really enjoy D.C. Lots of historic sites, museums, and the National Harbor make it worth the trip. Thanks for your comment.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 23 months ago from Pacific Northwest

Great hub Jeannie, certainly a departure from your usually hilarious fare. You wrote this well and make me want to visit. Maybe you should become a travel writer. Happy New year kiddo.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks so much, lambservant. It really is a great place to visit. Happy New Year to you, too!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 23 months ago

I grew up in Arlington and lived in the area for a total of almost 30 years. We visited an old working farm in Oxon Hill once or twice but that was about all that was there when I lived there. My brother still lives in the area and every time I go to visit him I tell myself that I want to go check it out. I really want to go at the holidays because I've heard the Gaylord Resort is beautiful at that time. Now I have even more reason to go. Nice hub!


lyndapringle profile image

lyndapringle 23 months ago from Austin, Texas

Seems like a great new addition to the MD/DC area. Lots of things to do at the National Harbor! The outlet malls and access to the Potomac is a plus! Nice hub!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 23 months ago from Wales

A wonderful hub;I thoroughly enjoyed it and thank you for sharing. Wishing you a wonderful run up to the New year.,

Eddy.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, I believe I know the farm you are talking about. I rode a pony there once a long time ago. You really need to check out the National Harbor. It is a pleasant surprise.

lyndapringle, there is something for everyone there. I did not even mention the Merry Go Round or boat rides. Such fun!

Eddy, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Hope you have a great New Year, too.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 23 months ago from Central Florida

Jeannie, the National Harbor looks like an awesome place to visit. I think it's pretty cool that events can be held on the Wheel. What a novel idea!

Love the Peeps house. Too cool.

I can see why you visit often. I would too if I lived in the area!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is pretty awesome. I was a skeptic at first, but I've visited about 4 times now. There is always something new to see.


dianeknaus profile image

dianeknaus 23 months ago from Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Interesting article, thanks.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for stopping by!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

Looks like a great attraction, and I love that half buried man sticking out of the sand. I'll have to visit! Great photos, too.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 23 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

It is really nice there. I hope you get to go and that you enjoy it as much as I do. Thanks for the comment.


ezzly profile image

ezzly 22 months ago

Great article, wish I'd known about the national harbor when I visited DC in 2012 but hey gives me a reason to go back- even just for the PEeps store ! Thanks for sharing this !


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 22 months ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I am not even sure there was much going on there in 2012. It gets better and better each year. When you do get to go back, I hope you enjoy the Peeps store. It is awesome.

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    Jeannie InABottle (Jeannieinabottle)1,161 Followers
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    Jeannie has been writing for HubPages for over 5 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - anything from hamsters to office work.



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