Summer Fun: Things to Do at National Harbor with the Family, including a Free Outdoor Movie Tonight

100 Days of Summer Day 84

National Harbor Summer Fridays

With scenic views of the Potomac River and tons of activities for visitors of all ages, National Harbor is the perfect place for a family day trip or even a weekend. From classic rides to wonderful restaurants and shopping, this is a must stop for summer family fun.

Things to Do at the National Harbor with the Family

Capital Wheel

Don’t miss out on a ride on the Capital Wheel, a beautifully lit gigantic ferris wheel. Enjoy views of the White House, Capitol, National Mall, and Arlington National Cemetery as you soar 180 feet above the ground in an enclosed gondola.
Hours: Open Daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Price:$15/general admission, $13.50/senior, $11.25/child

The Carousel

After a ride on the ferris wheel, head to the carousel. The Carousel at National Harbor is a 36-foot Americana-themed carousel featuring a herd of whimsical creatures. The area housing the carousel features a newly built playground, toddler play area and picnic tables. Its a great place for families looking to relax and soak up some sun at the harbor. 
Hours: Open Daily 12 p.m.-8 p.m.
Price: $7/child for unlimited rides, Adults ride free with child, military discount available

Movies on the Potomac

movies potomac

Continue the fun with Movies on the Potomac. Enjoy great movies at an outdoor theater for Family Movie Nights Sundays at 6pm and Date Night Thursdays at 7 p.m. Bring your chairs and get some food from a nearby restaurant to enjoy a nice evening under the stars. Be sure to check dates and times before you go for any changes.

Family Movies Schedule:

  • August 21: Annie
  • August 28: The Jungle Book

Date Night Movies Schedule:

  • August 25: Hairspray

On the Water

Next, head off land and see the National Harbor from the water. There are many options for boat rentals including pedal boats, SUPs, kayaks and hydrobikes. They also offer lessons during the summer.
Hours: Thursday-Sunday 11am-6pm
Price: Pedal Boats $20-$40, Kayaks $18-$100, SUPs $22-$88, Hydro Bike $25-$50

Dining at the National Harbor

There are over 40 restaurants for your family to enjoy. Many have outdoor dining and wonderful kids menus to satisfy the pickiest of eaters. A few ones to check out are Brother Jimmys, Bar Harbor, Fiorella Pizzeria, The Walrus Oyster & Ale House National Harbor, and Nando’s PERi-PERi Chicken.

For an entertaining lunch, take the family to Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar. They offer a kids’ day show for all ages. Its a great way to celebrate a birthday or just have some great musical fun.

Stay at the National Harbor

If you would like to make a weekend out of your visit, stay overnight at one of the many hotels in the area like the Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, just steps from the waterfront.

For more information, visit the National Harbor website.

For a daily dose of summer fun, explore our 100 Days of Summer page or search our daily calendar of events.