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What is National Harbor? What You Need to Know About this Hip D.C.-Area Neighborhood

The National Harbor is one of the District metro-area’s hottest and newest neighborhoods. But what exactly is it? For starters, it’s a stunning, 300-acre development located right on the banks of the Potomac River, just south of D.C. This prime location means the bustling district is just a short drive away, but you still have suburban amenities at your fingertips.

Those who love shopping are in for a real treat. National Harbor is home to more than 40 retail shops and Tanger Outlets. Enjoy practical shops like CVS and FedEx and more “fun” options like Build-A-Bear or eco-friendly jewelry shop Alex and Ani. Tanger Outlets features high-end retailers like Diane von Furstenberg and Brooks Brothers Factory Store, athletic apparel like New Balance, Columbia, Adidas and many more.

If you’d prefer to trade shopping bags for takeout boxes, the neighborhood has you covered. Whether you prefer fast food—Mexican chain Baja Fresh, local chain Elevation Burger or frozen yogurt shop Pinkberry all occupy real estate in National Harbor—or fine dining—McCormick & Schmick’s, Old Hickory Steakhouse and Fiorella Trattoria & Pizzeria—you’ll find it here.

If you like to fill your calendar with plenty of things to do, National Harbor’s activity calendar is jam-packed year round. Fitness-minded residents will love the many 5Ks (including the fun, douse-you-in-color Color Run) and free waterfront fitness classes. The area also hosts seasonal events that are sure to delight adults and kids alike. Enjoy an ice skating rink during the winter, free summer concerts and a Ferris wheel that will light up the skyline in the summer.

And don’t think the family-friendly options stop with the Ferris wheel. The National Harbor is a place that families will love. This Maryland neighborhood also includes a 36-foot long carousel where adults can enjoy views of the water while the kids ride. If you’d like to take your young ones to a place that’s both educational and fun (yes, it’s possible), consider going to the National Children’s Museum. If your kids prefer to be outdoors, take them to see the statue The Awakening—a bearded giant with an outstretched arm and leg that appears as if the giant is struggling to break free from the Earth. Kids are welcome to play on the statue and adults will love the chance to take priceless photos.

If you like the nightlife, baby, there are plenty of places for you to spend the wee hours of the night. Head to spots like Pose Ultra Lounge, Bobby McKey’s, Cadillac Ranch, Harrington’s Pub & Kitchen, or Public House for cocktails and late-night conversation.

So whether you’re a married couple with two kids in tow or a singleton looking for a great nightlife, know that National Harbor has plenty to offer you. If you’re searching for a place to live, consider leasing a spacious apartment at The Esplanade at National Harbor.