Washington, D.C., is a city at the height of politics, culture and the arts. And now, thanks to the brand new Capital Wheel at National Harbor, you can view the city from a whole new height, namely, from 180 feet above the Potomac River.
Since its debut on Memorial Day 2014, the Capital Wheel has dominated National Harbor's skyline. — Photo courtesy of The Capital Wheel
Since its debut on Memorial Day Weekend, the towering Capital Wheel – which sits on the waterfront in National Harbor, Maryland, a bustling commercial / residential / resort destination just minutes outside the D.C. city limits – has been wowing riders with its panoramic views of the District (including the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the National Mall); Old Town Alexandria, Virginia; Arlington National Cemetery; and the area’s gorgeous surrounding parkland.
During the 12- to 15-minute spin on the wheel, stretch out in the comfortable gondola-style cars (No cramped, county-fair-style metal buckets here!) while taking in the view. Each gondola seats up to eight comfortably; the gondolas are ADA-compliant, too, so they’re fully wheelchair-accessible. (No strollers, though. You’ll have to park those on terra firma before the ride begins.)
The waterfront looks even more amazing from a gondola on the Capital Wheel — Photo courtesy of The Capital Wheel
The cars are heated and air-conditioned, so D.C.’s brutal summers and fickle winters won’t prevent you from taking a whirl any time of year. Extreme weather – such as unusually high winds or strong storms – may cause the ride to be shut down temporarily, but the Capital Wheel is designed to function safely in nearly all conditions.
Of course, the wheel is hardly National Harbor’s only draw. When you’ve had your fill of seeing the place from high up, explore it at ground level. If the kids are with you, make a beeline for the waterfront carousel. (You’ve already enjoyed a vertical spin, so regain your equilibrium with a horizontal one) From there, head to the National Children’s Museum, a hands-on learning facility that was relocated from the National Mall to its new digs in National Harbor a couple years ago.
At 180 feet tall, the Capital Wheel offers spectacular views of D.C. — Photo courtesy of The Capital Wheel
Afterward, whether you’ve got kids with you or not, poke around National Harbor’s many unique shops; nosh on something delicious at one of its restaurants, which run the gamut from upscale to down-home; admire the fantastic large-scale sculpture The Awakening on the premises; or just sit along the waterfront, kick back, grab something cool to drink and take in the view. You’ll be glad you did.
The Capital Wheel is open seven days per week. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $11.25 for kids ages three through eleven. The ride is free for kids ages two and under. Senior and military discounts are available, as are special VIP rides.