175-Foot Observation Wheel, The Capital Wheel, Overlooking the Potomac at National Harbor will open in May

by Prince Of Petworth January 16, 2014 at 1:30 pm 58 Comments

Rendering courtesy nationalharbor.com

From a press release:

“Soaring 175 feet above the Potomac River waterfront at National Harbor, The Capital Wheel, set to debut in May 2014, will join a growing number of large-scale observation wheels around the globe as an iconic, world-class attraction.

From its dynamic location at the end of a pier overlooking the river, The Capital Wheel will offer riders a spectacular view of the Nation’s Capital “from a new perspective,” according to National Harbor developer Peterson Companies. Sights visible from The Capital Wheel include the White House and Capitol, the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery and the lush parklands throughout the DC-Maryland-Virginia region.

With its 42 closed, climate-controlled gondolas, each seating eight, The Capital Wheel will operate year-round, as do observation wheels in other locales, where they have boosted economic development and prestige. The Capital Wheel is expected to attract 600,000 – 800,000 visitors annually.

The London Eye quickly became the United Kingdom’s most popular paid tourist attraction, averaging 10,000 visitors daily and some 3.75 million annually. A popular location for films and TV shows, it also hosts events as diverse as corporate launches, weddings and fashion shoots.

In similar fashion, The Capital Wheel will host a variety of public, corporate and private events, with catering available by Wolfgang Puck, whose team will provide creative seasonal concessions.”

  • Anonymous

    I think this is very cool, though it’s unlikely to lure me out to National Harbor.

      • Eric
      • I would actually be more inclined to make a visit to National Harbor for this than the casino.

      • Anon 1:37

        Aha! Alas, no, the casino would be a reason for me to stay away, not an additional lure. No interest in gambling or casinos.

        • anon

          FYI, in case you don’t know, the project consists of things other than a gamble. E.g. high end dining, shopping, shows, spa, hotel. Only time I’ve spent in NH, personally, was for Cirque du Soliel and it was awesome.

          • Anonymous

            Yeah, I did know that, but thanks. Just not my cup of tea really.

          • The casino is the only part of that list not available in DC though.

    • x

      heres what is appealing about NH:
      -if you live in PG, it brings tax dollars to PG.
      – Its on the water
      – plenty of parking
      – driver centric ( some people actually like that)
      – chain restaurants that people like
      – outdoor concert series
      – family friendly
      – no hipsters, unless its for the art whino shows.
      – no hobby urbanists
      – yuppies and buppies
      – you can see the awakening without all the motorcycle noise or bamas.
      – crabfest

      that’s all i got.

      • Anonymous

        OMG THANK YOU! the hipsters, urbanists, and yuppies are getting OUTTA CONTROL these days I tell ya. finally a place where I can feel like myself

        • x

          ; )

        • wdc

          I have a place I go to get away from the hipsters… you’ve probably never heard of it.

          • Anonymous


      • Gumball

        “bamas!” ha! u are so a dc native!

  • Anon

    Can’t we just let the giant Ferris Wheel be London’s thing?

  • do.not.get.

    • Slappy J

      I honestly don’t get the appeal of National Harbor in general. From what I can gather, it consists of some generic outlet stores, a casino, and now a ferris wheel, and is somewhere way, way out in the hinterlands of PG with no Metro access.

      • Anonymous

        People from the burbs think it’s super neat-o though.

        • Anonymous

          Well, for them, it’s a change of pace from sitting in cars in traffic and sitting in living rooms in tv trance.

      • agree. i don’t get the whole area either. apparently there are people to whom something there is appealing, but i am not one of them.

      • Anonymous

        THANK YOU. It makes absolutely no sense to me. It’s like Pentagon City…on the water! But no Metro. This = never ever going.

  • Anonymous

    The cool thing about the London Eye is it is right in the middle of things. This to me seems to far away and if I were a tourist I doubt I would trek all the way over there to ride it

    • Anon

      Spot on. Nobody is going to go out of their way just to ride this.
      Same issue with the New York Wheel. Everyone knows you can get a great view of Manhattan from Staten Island, but a Ferris Wheel isn’t going to get me to visit that dump.

      • x

        some of are are not too good for staten island.

    • ET

      The only “tourists” that go out there are the people staying out there – can’t imagine that there is much in the way of tourists doing DC that make their way out there because really there is much more to do in the Mall area.

      • TripAdvisor is always full of tourists stuck out in NH for a convention or because they got a really cheap room on a time-share without realizing where it actually was – desperately trying to find out how to get into the city. I do miss “The Awakening” however, that might get me out there one day.

    • Anonymous

      By not around things do you mean not around you? People actually live and visit National Harbor, dearie.

      • Anonymous

        Yes. They’re called “PG County residents.”

        • Duponter

          Or I don’t know, the tens of thousands of convention attendees who are there on a yearly basis. It has the largest hotel in the DC area in terms of rooms. So it isn’t your cup of tea. Big deal. I doubt many Londoners go on the Eye very often either.

          I think a lot of you seem to be missing the point. National Harbor isn’t about you. It never was. It never will be.

  • jim_ed

    I see the press release doesn’t mention that they plan on charging $15 per person for the privilege of being gently hoisted high above scenic Oxon Hill, Md.

    • Ha!

    • bb

      Hey, that water treatment plant is certainly worth an aerial view.

  • Anon

    National Harbor is a boil on the butt of the DC metro area. So many conference goers end up at the Gaylord, thinking that they are in the nation’s capitol. They are wrong. They are in Maryland, marooned without public transport. I wish DC had sued to keep them from using the name.

    • Anonymous

      Really? You think that people who stay at that hotel think they are actually in DC? Really?

      • Anonymous

        You’re giving the rubes way too much credit.

      • Duponter

        Don’t bother with this one, who cannot distinguish capitol from capital.

      • Absolutely! There are dozens of postings for the Gaylord & Wyndham every day on Craigslist like this –

        “WYNDHAM NATIONAL HARBOR RESORT is the perfect location for families in the brand new National Harbor District of DC. Enjoy fully equipped units, in our nation’s capital, with over two dozen free museums. Enjoy this historical vacation site while relaxing in style with all the comforts of home at the Wyndham National Harbor Resort. Located near great restaurants, right on the bank of the Potomac River. ”

    • Anonymous

      Just because you say it doesn’t make it so. I doubt that “so many” people go to Gaylord thinking that they’re in DC. . They go because they want an experience that isn’t available in DC. If you don’t want to go — don’t. To some of us, the arrogant, self-centered transplants and the institutions that support them are a boil on the butt of the DC metro area. But hey — it takes all kinds.

  • Anonymous

    This would make more sense at the DC Waterfront development (if that ever actually gets going). You would actually have a view of the Mall and monuments.

  • Anonymous

    Say what you will about the national harbor but the Gaylord is a beautiful hotel. I’ve been there and it’s pretty nice. (disclaimer: I’ve only been there bc I had to do some work there)

  • Phil

    Oh, thank God, National Harbor shall remain free from the odor of my fellow commenters, all of whom have not ventured beyond the borders of the District of Columbia in many years.

    • just to be contrarian, i have in fact been to national harbor, as well as many other non-DC places, and my distaste for national harbor stands.

      • x

        i’ve been there too. 3 times. and i hope to never go back.
        but their is a big arrogance here against the place, or things in general outside the dc lines. i have friends that LOVE it. theres really nothing wrong with that.

        personally, i love the idea of a ferris wheel, but wish it was down by yards park.

        • Duponter

          I agree. I think an Eye in DC on the Anacostia near Navy Yard or the Waterfront would have been a cool idea with a better view.

          The reality is this one is less than half the size of the one in London, so I doubt the view will be all that interesting. But I have no doubt plenty of convention-goers will spend money to ride it.

    • I don’t have to go to prison to know I wouldn’t like it there either.

      • Anonymous

        Apples and oranges

      • Anonymous

        I’m actually laughing with you this time (rather than at you). Pigs are gonna fly.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a nice place to ride a bike to… just not certain what to do when I get there…

      • Anonymous

        Turn around and head back.

    • Anonymous

      I know, its quite disturbing, actually. There are a bunch of things about the District that I love, but I can also appreciate some things about nearby Arlington and Alexandria, and even Bethesda and Silver Spring. The National Harbor has never been my cup of tea, but I’m fairly certain that you can still see some of the monuments from there, you can also see Old Town Alexandria, and they even do fireworks on a weekly basis. Yes, I do live in the District.

      • Anonymous

        I think it’s mostly the recent transplants who perpetuate the idea that beyond some crappy wineries out in Virginia, the suburbs have absolutely nothing to offer.

  • kook47797

    I recently went to a private event at the Gaylord and it was great. The food was pretty good, the space is dramatic and spacious, folks had plenty of after-event options to grab a drink and hangout after, and the streets were fun and vibrant even on a cold night. And there were 40+ adults and families out and about.

  • Brian

    I have to say I’m surprised at the tone of some of the comments here. Why so hateful?

    I’m happy to have another attraction for the Metro area. National Harbor is quite nice, the Tanger Outlets were convenient this past Christmas and just minutes from my home here in Congress Heights, which IS technically DC. (also close to Old Town). I already visit the restaurants and with more coming with the MGM Casino, I’ll be going more often.

    The water taxi would be a fun way to access the Harbor, but I agree that it would be even better with a metro or light rail for tourists and DC residents alike.

    • DCist

      Do not let the negativity get you down. Some people are just pretentious caucasians who think anyone that crosses a river when living in this city is somehow doing it wrong. Because after living here for 10+ years, one might not possibly have the idea of going and doing something different for a change. Then again, I really do not think the developers had white, young DC residents in mind when they planned and built National Harbor. The first thing that opened out there was an enormous convention hotel and facility. It is clearly not a venue for the locals. The reality is, the city is filled with people who 10 years ago would never have crossed the Potomac from Arlington for anything other than Millie & Al’s and The Reef. So let’s not give to much weight to their voices.

      • Queen KB

        Thanks..you tell them!! I attended college in DC during the late 90s and I’ll be damned if I saw anyone walking on K St after 6pm. It was empty, blighted and nearly a prostitute row. Now we have all of these transplants “hating” on development in Maryland. I lived in VA for many years before heading back to the district and VA could give a rat’s behind about any development in DC…to be honest, many still refuse to cross the Memorial Bridge to this day. lol I am constantly puzzled as to why new DC residents are so angry when they just moved into the territory less than 10 yrs ago. Middle child syndrome, perhaps???

  • Does anyone else think it’s too close to the water. How will they reinforce the pier so that it can carry the weight of that thing. Maybe I’m just a scardy-cat but I’d be afraid it would tip over into the water.

  • Nathan

    I’ve wanted one of these on The Mall for years. At National Harbor? Pffff- whatever. Who goes there?

  • Yo ……..25

    Metrobus goes to National Harbor from Branch Avenue.


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