Whether you live in the Washington D.C. area or are just visiting for work or vacation, the National Harbor in Fort Washington, Maryland should be on your destination list. There are so many great things to see and do! Last month, I had the honor of being one of the DC based social media influencers to attend an amazing press weekend filled with adventure, shopping, food and fun! Now, This is How You Harbor! Here are my top 10 reasons to love The National Harbor.
1. The Capital Wheel
This is a beautiful and romantic attraction—as long as you’re not afraid of heights. The pods are temperature controlled with pop music pumping thru the speakers. I highly recommended taking a ride during the sunset hour and enjoying the view as the sun settles beyond the horizon. The ride is a lot longer than one might expect, going around at least 5 or 6 times and lasting throughout three to four toe tapping songs. Pictures outside the Capital Wheel are great to capture too!
2. The MGM National Harbor
MGM National Harbor is the premiere entertainment destination located on the banks of the Potomac just outside of Washington DC. Featuring a 3,000 seat Theater, 308 luxurious hotel rooms, restaurants from acclaimed chefs and a gaming floor bigger than the White House, MGM National Harbor delivers monumental experiences daily.
3. Tanger Outlets
Tanger outlet is well organized with all the higher end designer brands set in one section, children’s clothing in another and fitness and shoe brands throughout so you can really shop by taste and budget. You can save even more by purchasing a Tanger Outlet coupon book for only $5. They offer individual deals and discounts for a lot of the retailers in the outlet.
4. The Restaurants
From a foodie perspective, National Harbor offers up something for every palate!
The Walrus Oyster & Ale House
I love the industrial chic decor as well as the huge oyster selection. The casual vibe, seafood menu and creative cocktail list makes this a great place for a fun night out with friends and loved ones.
Redstone American Grill
Redstone American grill offers friendly service and a convenient location right off of the Potomac. The barbecque ribs are absolutely delicious. The kids meal menu is also sure to satisfy your kids appetites.
Granite City Food & Brewery
Granite City Food & Brewery is a polished casual restaurant with an on-site brewery. The on-site brewery, with award-winning hand crafted micro-brews, is visible from the main dining and bar areas. The restaurants also showcase an open kitchen featuring chef developed, handcrafted made-from-scratch cuisine, including innovative signature entrees, flatbreads and more.
My dad is from Mexico, so I know good Mexican food when I try it. My picks are the famous fish tacos and table-side freshly made guacamole.
Located inside MGM National Harbor, Fish by José Andrés celebrates the best of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, while including time-honored cooking techniques from around the world. This is a restaurant that is perfect for date night or group outings.
Fans of chicken and waffles will fall in love with this restaurant! A progressive perspective of classic Southern favorites. James Beard Award nominee Edward Lee brings his Korean roots and Southern repertoire to a soulful Southern menu. SUCCOTASH has one of the best happy hours at The National Harbor.
5. The Bars
Bobby McKee’s Dueling Piano Bar
This is great musical entertainment for a group celebration. There are talented local musicians that perform live music and rehearsed stand-up tidbits. Prepare to see bachelorette and bachelor parties here.
Felt Bar and Lounge
Located inside MGM National Harbor, the ultimate cocktail lounge offers VIP bottle service, artisanal cocktails, house-made mixers and craft beer. Along with attentive and skilled service, the imaginative concept integrates live music and deejay- driven sounds, creating an atmosphere perfect for business meetings, a night out on the town, or for catching the big game on any of the venue’s oversized plasma TVs.
Muse Paint Bar
This is a fun, novel place to snack, drink wine and create your own work of art under the instruction of a professional artist.
The shopping here is endless, so wear shoes you can walk in. Grab your purse. Grab your latte. The caffeine in it will pump you through all the hidden treasures the National Harbor shops hold! There almost too many stores to name. You can window shop for fun – the cute storefronts and picturesque sidewalks make for a lovely stroll – or dive right in to purchase your treasures. If you need a break from browsing, there are cute little cafes and restaurants sprinkled amongst the shops to grab a quick bite.
7. Miller Farm Farmer’s Market
Miller Farms is a 267 acre farm located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, that has been family owned and operated since 1840. They grow a wide array of fresh fruits, crisp vegetables and much more! In addition to the farm, they have a bakery full of delicious home baked goods and handmade ice cream, a nursery abundant with beautiful plants and flowers. They are open every Saturday and Sunday May thru the end of October.
8. The AC Hotel
AC Hotel is located in the center of it all and has the most gorgeous views of the Capital Wheel. It is essentially the best home away from home within the National Harbor. The hotel is walking distance from the waterfront, shopping and restaurants. The rooms are modern, minimalistic and comfortable. Free and fast Wi-Fi is standard. There’s a European style breakfast buffet every morning. The business center is open 24 hours a day and there’s a cozy little bar that offers an amazing happy hour plus they offer wine on tap. There’s even a great rooftop to enjoy.
9. The Awakening Sculpture
This sculpture was created by J. Seward Johnson and consists of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a distressed giant attempting to free himself from the ground. The left hand and right foot barely protrude, while the bent left leg and knee jut into the air. The 17-foot high right arm and hand reach farther out of the ground. The bearded face, with the mouth in mid-scream, struggles to emerge from the earth.
10. Instagrammable Hot Spots
You don’t have to be a blogger or social media maven to find happiness while discovering the perfect places to take pictures. Here are some of my favorite instagrammable hot spots.
- The Flight Deck at the Capital Wheel
This outdoor lounge serves champagne, beer, wine, and specialty drinks. Perfect for celebrations, drinks with friends, and date night.
- Statues and Sculptures on the corner of Waterfront Street & American Way
Take your picture with presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and with abolitionist and statesman Frederick Douglass.
- The National Gaylord Hotel
The 19 story glass atrium is absolutely beautiful. There are beautiful backdrops just about everywhere you turn inside and outside of this world-class hotel.
Special Thank-you to The National Harbor, The AC Hotel and MGM Grand for hosting my amazing experience!