NATIONAL HARBOR, MD – More than 11 million visitors came to National Harbor last year. With its six hotels, more than 30 restaurants, 150 retail shops, twin 700-foot long piers and marina, the iconic Capital Wheel and carousel and Urban Pirates, an entertaining pirate ship adventure, there’s more to do there than anyone can imagine and definitely something for everyone whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or family.
National Harbor has a lot to offer from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center to Tanger Outlets to the MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino opening later this year.
Perched on the Potomac River, across from Old Town Alexandria and Washington, D.C., National Harbor takes advantage of sweeping river views and spectacular sunsets. There are all types of waterfront activities from renting peddle boats to chartering a yacht, riding the 180-foot high Capital Wheel or the carousel, watching movies or sporting events on National Harbor’s big waterfront screen, attending concerts, or participating in any of the many other events and activities including yoga, Zumba and exercise classes.
This year, National Harbor is celebrating its eighth year since opening. Once you visit this well-planned, walkable city, it’s hard to envision a time when it wasn’t there. It fits in so well with the land and provides sweeping river views with many of the residences situated on higher ground. It is a living testament to what can be accomplished with thoughtful and strategic planning. When Milt Peterson, principal and chairman of Peterson Companies (the owner and developer), first laid eyes on the 350-acre National Harbor site he recognized its potential. Since that time, through economic dips and stalls, the company has kept focused on its vision.
When completed, National Harbor will hold more than 7.3 million square feet of master-planned, mixed-use community with more than 3,300 hotel rooms (including MGM), more than one million square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space, and more than one million square feet of class “A” office space.
National Harbor not only sits on prime waterfront space but it is also conveniently located within close proximity to Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Va. It’s easy to reach from Baltimore Washington International Airport or Reagan National Airport as well as Amtrak via the New Carrollton, Md. train station or Union Station in Washington, D.C. Or, by boat—the National Harbor Marina has two 700-foot long piers and marina with 64 slips. Marina amenities include private changing facilities, dock side power, concierge, gas and diesel fuel. Two 10,000 square foot platforms provide an ideal location for corporate entertaining or private events.
The property has been able to attract unique retail and restaurants with everything from outlet shopping to boutique and one-of-a-kind stores. From specialty food to clothing to jewelry to galleries and gifts, National Harbor has quickly become a shopping and dining mecca. In addition to 85 leading brand name stores at Tanger Outlets, National Harbor’s waterfront district offers unique boutiques. And it continues to grow.
Dining options include everything from Thai to Italian to American—from fast casual to destination dining, and everything in between.
“What has happened here over the past eight years is truly remarkable,” said Bruce Gudenberg, executive director of Visit National Harbor. “There are few places in the world that have been able to effectively plan and build out a community of this magnitude in this amount of time and on such prime real estate,” Gudenberg continued. “This is not only an ideal place to live and work, but also a phenomenal destination for visitors. There is so much to see and do right here and then, of course, there’s easy access to Washington, D.C. or Alexandria. This is the one location in the D.C. region where you can visit and do it all—there is something for everyone.” National Harbor is also a very walkable community where you can leave your hotel and walk to dozens of widely acclaimed restaurants as well as unique boutiques. Or, hop on a water taxi and visit Old Town Alexandria. And, because there is so much to do, the community is a multi-generational destination with wide appeal to millennials, professionals and families.
National Harbor recently launched a convention and visitor’s association, Visit National Harbor, to ensure that all of its visitors, whether independent travelers, families or business travelers, have the best possible experience.
Many visitors remark about the many amenities, the conveniences, the thoughtful planning and the beauty of National Harbor. “Today, looking at all that has been accomplished and the success of the project, it’s hard to imagine this waterfront without this community,” Gudenberg added. “All you have to do is to be here when the sun is setting over the Potomac and you know that this is a very special place.”