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Top Things to do in National Harbor, Maryland

Last Updated on April 2, 2022

National Harbor is a riverfront tourist development located across the Potomac River from Old Town Alexandria and a few miles south of Washington DC. This area has been built up specifically as a resort, conference center, and tourist area. Since National Harbor is located on the shore of the Potomac, you get beautiful views from the waterfront.

Here are the top things to during a visit to National Harbor!

Top Things to do at National Harbor

Because National Harbor has been built up for tourism, it features a range of hotel chains, local restaurants, shopping, and things to do. The Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center. The Gaylord has it’s own restaurants, a spa, fitness center, indoor garden, and harbor views.

gaylord resort national harborgaylord hotel national harbor

Visit Old Town Alexandria

National Harbor offers a water taxi to and from Old Town Alexandria, which is great for taking day trips to this historic district. Old Town is known for its historic charm, cute shops, and seafood restaurants. During World War II, Old Town was home to a torpedo factory. Today, the factory is an Art Center for working artists.

old town alexandria

Try your luck at the MGM Casino.

Who knows, you might walk out with more than you started!

Ride the Capital Wheel.

If you want a higher view of the Harbor, take a ride on the Capital Wheel.

national harbor

Go Shopping at the Outlets

The Tanger Outlets are right across the highway from the National Harbor. Here you can hunt down good deals on luxury shopping like Coach, Nautica, and Oakley.

Listen to Some Live Music

National Harbor has a dueling piano bar, Bobby McKeys. Here you can enjoy a meal, a few drinks, and listen to some amazing piano music.

national harbor

Where to Eat at National Harbor: National Harbor Restaurants

Spending a week in National Harbor gave me the chance to explore the area’s restaurants. With so many options, I was able to find good places to eat every day.

Potbelly’s Sandwich Shop.

This was a great place to go for lunch if you’re looking for something quick. You can build your own sandwich, salad, or mac and cheese. The sandwiches were freshly made and reasonably priced.

Granite City Food and Brewery.

This American restaurant/brewery was a good choice for an affordable lunch or dinner. The menu had sandwiches, burgers, pastas, salads, flatbreads and appetizers. I got a chicken avocado wrap combo with fries on one day and a margherita flatbread another day. My only complaint was the chicken wrap was a little dry. The staff was incredibly friendly and polite. Unlike most restaurants, we were not rushed out. Or some might consider this “slow service” but for us, we like the European style of dining where we can take all the time we need.

Cadillac Ranch

Clad with a mechanical bull and a portrait of Bruce Springsteen, this western bar and restaurant was a fun choice for dinner. The large menu had sandwiches, burger, seafood and steak entrees, salads, fried appetizers, and a large selection of drinks. I got the Atlantic Salmon, which was well cooked and very delicious.

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Pam & Kathrine

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