National Harbor: Capitalize on Convenience

The newest destination for commanding meetings

Looking for a fresh take on a conference with easy access to the U.S. Capital but more open space inside and out? National Harbor is a hospitality hub tucked on the Potomac riverfront.

This Maryland enclave of full-service resorts, shopping and entertainment was born a decade ago and has grown to become a draw for more than 12 million visitors a year.

Arrive

Three major airports, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), are all within 40 miles.

The destination is a short drive over Woodrow Wilson Bridge from Washington, D.C. But a 25-minute water taxi to Alexandria, Virginia, might be the most entertaining way to arrive.

Meet and Stay

Six premium hotels and more than 3,000 guest rooms offer a variety of experiences. Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center recently completed a $64 million renovation that included all 1,996 guest rooms and 546,889 sq. ft. of meeting space, including the easy-access expo hall, which transforms into Christmas central for the holidays.

The signature atrium looks out onto the river and new dining options, including a coffee bar with firepits tucked under soaring windows, will open by year’s end.

Ask to see the modern Concept Suites designed with an eye to cocktail receptions with a view. Or take the party to the pop-up rooftop bar Pose, a lounge that has been sporting a retro-‘80s vibe as Replay at Pose.

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

Next door, MGM National Harbor houses 308 guest rooms, 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, one of the East Coast’s largest casinos and seven restaurants, including Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and Ginger, which specializes in pan-Asian delights.

When the meeting is over, the property boasts three nightclubs and a bespoke mixology program that turns the history of cocktails and the basics of crafting them into an interactive experience.

Nearby, The Westin Washington National Harbor is a pet-friendly property focused on health and harmony. It features 195 guest rooms, 12,496 sq. ft. of meeting space and a prefunction area with sweeping riverfront views.

Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and Ginger

Eat

National Harbor is a mecca for fun, experiential dining and sipping. From Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar and Cadillac Ranch (yep, that’s an actual classic car on the front of the building) to Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside and Messy Treatz’s ooey- gooey, sticky, chewy favorites, there are more than 40 options. Do your attendees a favor and suggest they save room for the Oreo Overload jars.

Do

If you didn’t at least get a photo in front of The Capital Wheel, did you even go to National Harbor? Squeeze some time into the agenda for these climate-controlled gondolas, from where the views 180 feet above the Potomac include the Washington Monument, city of Alexandria, Masonic Temple and Georgetown. The Flight Deck at the base of the wheel is a fun reception area with more down-to-earth river backgrounds.

End the night swinging at Topgolf National Harbor for winning team building that everyone can enjoy.

Need to Know

42: Gondolas circle The Capital Wheel, for up to four people each

15: Group venues overlook the Potomac

270 degrees: Gaylord National’s RiverView Ballroom boasts floor-to-ceiling glass windows with wraparound vistas

 

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