National Harbor : Maryland

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What it's Like to Retire in National Harbor


National Harbor, located on the shores of the Potomac River in Price George’s County, Maryland, was started in 2008, as a multi-use waterfront development.  The 300 acre site which was once a plantation is directly across the Potomac from Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. In 2010, National Harbor was delineated as a census designated place with a population close to 4,000.  It consists of hotels, offices, retail stores, restaurants, and nightspots. There are also waterfront condos, a marina and convention center, Tanger Outlets and National Harbor’s most iconic attraction, The Capital Wheel.  The development has not been without controversy due to environmental impacts and traffic congestion, as over 10,000 cars are expected to commute daily.  Residents of National Harbor enjoy waterfront living with a marina, and a walkable community of shopping, dining and entertainment.  Picture of National Harbor courtesy of Wikipedia and Andreas Praefcke. Picture of McCormick & Schmicks and The Awakening sculpture courtesy of Wikipedia and Juxtapos99.


Where to Retire in National Harbor and Home Prices

National Harbor offers waterfront living in four different residential options including condos and townhomes priced from high $200's to over $1,000,000.


What is special about National Harbor

National Harbor is a waterfront community just south of Washington, D.C., and across the Potomac River from Old Town Alexandria. It's a very walkable community as it offers shopping, dining, entertainment and a marina right outside your door.


What is not special about National Harbor

All it has is shopping, dining and entertainment; because it is new it doesn't have the charm of Old Town across the river; younger, single people or married couples with no children are drawn here;  no libraries, theaters, museums;  getting there is not accessible enough to the Washington Metro, although the developer and the state are investing in better roads to National Harbor. 


Who will like retirement in National Harbor

Retirees who own a boat and like a small, walkable community with urban energy and nightlife, would like it here.


Local economy is driven by

Tourism, food service, hotels, retail


Climate and Physical Environment

National Harbor has a total area of 1.9 square miles with 21% of that water (the Potomac River). The average January temperature is 35 degrees with the average July temperature about 80 degrees.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

National Harbor does host a variety of entertainment with outdoor concerts by local artists and culinary events.  The convention center was the site of Cirque du Soleil in 2008, 2010, and again in 2012. There is an annual ice sculpture exhibition and a Beatles festival, "Abby Road on the River", is also an annual event.



Crime rate for National Harbor as a community is not available, but surrounding communities have a little higher than average rate.


Medical facilities

Fort Washington Hospital is in nearby Fort Washington, Maryland.



Transportation has been an ongoing issue for National Harbor; a local civic group dropped a lawsuit against the developer in exchange for assurances of greater investment in the surrounding community, and better access to mass transit;  Maryland provides bus access from the Branch Metro Station, but as part of their long-term plan, will consider  building a rail extension to National Harbor off the Green Line; there is a water taxi that connects Alexandria, Virginia to National Harbor;  a  beachfront walking path and bike trail on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge also crosses into Alexandria from National Harbor.


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What people are saying about National Harbor

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  • State: MD
  • Environment: Urban,Coastal,Small Town,Boating Community,New Urban/Master Planned,
  • City Population: Less than 10,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 21-40
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 80,000+
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $300,001-$500,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 4001-6000
  • Total Crime Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • Cost of Living Index: 121+ (very high)
  • Culture Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide:

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