Searching for the perfect present for your friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances doesn't have to be a boring hunt. You can have some fun in the process of checking off items from your ever-increasing list.
Just 15 minutes from Washington, D.C. is National Harbor, which offers more than 150 stores and 30 restaurants. The site also includes the Tanger Outlets, featuring brand name stores like the Gap Factory Store, Calvin Klein, H&M, J. Crew Factory Store and Tommy Hilfiger. Because don't we all want good deals around the holidays?
An aerial view on the National Harbor Christmas tree — Photo courtesy of National Harbor
The stores have many options, but be sure to check out the Harbor Holiday Market happening every weekend from noon to 5 p.m. from Saturday, Nov. 15, to Sunday, Dec. 21, on American Way. Buy some unique gifts for those hard-to-please folks, or sample some hot drinks to keep warm. Take home fresh local produce, eat some delectable treats and buy some holiday greenery, such as wreaths or trees.
The waterfront view of the Potomac River is breathtaking but can get a little chilly. Unless the cold doesn't bother you (Queen Elsa, perhaps?), check out the new warming stations available in three locations: The Capital Wheel look out and ticket booth and on American Way. If your insides also need a bit of heat, make a SMEEP – a s'more made with Peeps. (Yum!)
If you have young children with you, stop at The Capital Wheel not only for the incredible view inside enclosed heated gondolas but to get your picture taken with Santa Claus. If you miss him there, don't fret. He will also be at the harbor's carousel from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturdays beginning Nov. 22.
As you meander through the stores, take a break to watch a free holiday family movie on a jumbo screen in the plaza Saturday afternoons. The selections include Elf, The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Listen to carolers sing some favorite holiday musical selections every Saturday.
If you're able, shop at National Harbor in the evening. As the sun leaves the sky, the lights come out at the National Harbor. Every 30 minutes, a light show takes place, showcasing thousands of twinkling lights and fireworks.
Many see holiday shopping as a painful, stressful experience. But National Harbor aims to make it a fun outing, with multiple shopping options and fun experiences. The only aspect patrons should worry about is paying off all those credit card bills . . .