This holiday season, National Harbor will host a series of winter-themed events designed to delight the whole family. Located along the banks of the stunning Potomac River and easy to access from DC and Baltimore, the diverse offerings at this waterfront destination are poised to elevate the holiday experience for children, parents, and grandparents alike and create new family traditions.
With exciting choices and a cheerful ambiance, the winter holidays are the perfect time for families to stroll through the Harbor’s Christmas market, bond over a hot drink on a frosty night, or enjoy a classic Santa meet-and-greet with a twist.
The following itinerary outlines some of the seasonal highlights at National Harbor:
- Families can immerse themselves in a winter wonderland at the Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac celebration from November 15th – December 30th. In addition to its annual ICE! event featuring 2 million pounds of carved, life-sized ice sculptures, this year the hotel will offer to ice-skate with stunning river views at the new Winter Square.
- Families with thrill-seeking kids (and parents too!) can luge down four-lanes of tubing slides at the Gaylord National’s new Reindeer Rush Ice Tubing hill inside the Christmas Village. Prefer something more relaxing? Kids can ride the Village Express train around the Christmas market, and families can enjoy a series of holiday shows or enjoy a range of adult- and kid-friendly drinks at the Christmas-themed Tinsel Tavern.
- Families can stroll along the Potomac River under the glow of the two million twinkling lights that adorn the Harbor’s majestic 60-foot Christmas tree. From November 16th, 2019 to January 5th, 2020, weekend visitors can watch a snow show every half-hour from sunset to 9pm.
- Take the classic Santa experience to new heights on National Harbor’s famous Capital Wheel. At the Capital Wheel with Santa, offered first-come-first-served every Saturday from November 30th to December 21st, kids can share their holiday wish-list with Mr. Claus himself while riding in one of the observation wheel’s heated gondolas 180 feet in the air. Decked out in peppermint striping, snowflakes, and Santa hats, these gondolas provide the ideal backdrop for that perfect “happy holidays” family photo.
- Want to learn more about the history of Christmas traditions in the Northeast? At the Accokeek Foundation’s annual Winter’s Eve celebration, families can explore National Colonial Farm by candlelight and enjoy classic winter traditions such as chestnut roasting, caroling, and wreath-making. A seasonal Native American history workshop titled “First Families of the Moyaone” will be held on November 23rd and 24th, and a special candle-dipping workshop will take place on December 14th and 15th.
- Want to get some Christmas shopping done early? Tanger Outlets will host its biggest sale event of the year, Moonlight Madness & After Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving weekend, with deals available throughout the weekend starting at 6 pm on Thanksgiving eve.
- Revamp your holiday movie tradition by watching favorite holiday films on the plaza screen. Every Saturday at 3:30 pm from November 16th to December 21st, families can kick back and watch classic seasonal movies such as Elf and The Grinch on the big screen. For a full schedule of movie screenings, please see www.nationalharbor.com/events/.
- Looking to stay for the weekend? Families can enjoy the best views of the Harbor’s 60-foot tree, Capital Wheel, and fireworks from the AC Hotel by Marriott. This hotel offers families the full holiday experience, including peppermint hot chocolate at its European-inspired continental breakfast and holiday décor at the heated Peppermint Patio.
- Round out a family weekend with a spectacular firework extravaganza! Every Saturday at 5:30 pm, National Harbor will be lit up with a firework display over the Potomac. Families can watch the sky light up and create a new holiday tradition.
- In addition to holiday events, families can enjoy a selection of National Harbor’s year-round offerings, including:
- Family-friendly waterfront dining
- Luxury accommodation at the Gaylord National, MGM Grand, or AC Hotel by Marriott
- Boutiques and shopping along the Harbor and at the MGM Grand
- Hiking in Piscataway National Park
- Stunning sunsets along the Potomac River