National Harbor, Maryland at a Glance
Location: Maryland’s D.C. suburbs, across the Potomac River from Alexandria, Virginia
Access Baltimore: Ronald Reagan National Airport, Dulles International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Amtrak, interstates 95 and 495
Major Meeting Spaces: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, MGM National Harbor, National Harbor Waterfront District
Hotel Rooms: 3,400
Off-site Venues: TopGolf, Fleet Street, Capital Wheel at the Waterfront District
Visit National Harbor
National Harbor, on the banks of the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Maryland, is mere minutes from Washington and Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Accessible by three airports, train lines and water taxi, getting there is easy and convenient. In just a little more than a decade, National Harbor, on 300 acres of former plantation land, has transformed itself into a major tourism destination.
“National Harbor is unique in that it offers space for all meeting sizes and has the ability to customize indoor and outdoor event space,” said Josh Winston, director of tourism at Visit National Harbor.
More than 12 million people visited National Harbor in 2017, attending meetings, events and conventions. That year, it created its own convention and visitors bureau to facilitate booking propertywide experiential meetings. Visit National Harbor creates exciting and unique itineraries, working with each of the area’s eight hotels, 40 restaurants and attractions like the Capital Wheel and Fleet Street. Visitors can arrange boat rentals and water taxis to downtown Washington, Old Town Alexandria and Mount Vernon.
“We recognize that the best meetings and events are those that are memorable and experiential, and we’re happy to work with meeting and event planners to provide the perfect venue within our waterfront destination,” said Winston.
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center has almost 2,000 hotel rooms and 600,000 square feet of meeting space, including a freestanding waterfront ballroom. The MGM National Harbor, a luxury casino resort, boasts more than 50,000 square feet of upscale meeting space, a 3,000-seat state-of-the-art theater, one of the largest gaming floors outside of Las Vegas and renowned restaurants. Meeting groups will find a variety of attractions and activities to explore during their visits. National Harbor Plaza hosts waterfront morning yoga and custom workouts or team-building activities. A variety of water activities are an option for event attendees, among them paddleboards, kayaks, pedal boats and private boat excursions. The Waterfront District offers plenty of after-hours options, including boutique shops, restaurants, entertainment and galleries.
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, which debuted in 2008, was the first entity to open in newly developed National Harbor. It is the largest nongaming resort on the East Coast and has one of the region’s top and largest spas. It features 96,000 square feet of outdoor flex space and, in 2017, added the freestanding RiverView Ballroom, a 16,000-square-foot venue with a 270-degree panoramic view of the Potomac River. The resort features seven eateries, including a steakhouse, a coffee shop, a market, a rooftop lounge and a sports bar. The hotel features a 19-story glass atrium with water views and is walking distance to National Harbor’s attractions.
National Harbor Plaza
The area’s waterfront location was masterfully planned to highlight views of the river and its breathtaking sunsets, which have been voted some of the best in the nation. The iconic Capital Wheel, a 180-foot observation wheel, offers views of Alexandria and the Washington monuments. Below the wheel is Flight Deck, a covered, open-air bar and restaurant that makes for a great after-meeting gathering place; it can also be reserved for special events. The plaza features an outdoor stage and big screen where movies and sporting events are held or shown. There are two 700-foot-long piers and two adjacent 10,000-square-foot platforms.
The Waterfront District’s entertainment zone offers everything from bull riding at Cadillac Ranch to dueling pianos at Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar. The highly walkable area is directly in front of the Gaylord National. The street is an excellent venue for meetings and events; it can be shut down to host block parties and has a spectacular overhead light show. There are more than 40 restaurants and bars in National Harbor, offering wide-ranging cuisines and culinary experiences from seafood to barbecue. It is home to Succotash, a restaurant by James Beard Award nominee and television celebrity chef Edward Lee.
The Harbor Dome, a large, clear tent, is a recent addition to National Harbor that can be used for special events, receptions and meetings. The waterside dome, which can be customized with a theme: One summer event converted it into a snow globe using all white furniture, white bars, white holiday lights and a snow-blowing machine that kicked off the cool at 11 p.m. This unique space is a fantastic space for groups to host a memorable event.