National Harbor is located along the Potomac River, in Prince George’s County, just south of Washington, D.C.
The waterfront development opened in 2008. The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center and several other hotels, waterfront condos, offices, retail stores, restaurants and a marina are located there.
Although the area is not accessible by the subway system, it is easy to get to by car, right off Interstate 295 and Interstate 95/495. There is a water taxi that will take you to Alexandria, Virginia, where you can catch the metro station. MGM Resorts was just recently approved to begin building MGM National Harbor which will house a casino and more hotel rooms. It is slated to open in July 2016.
We have never been to the area before. I had a certificate for a free night stay at any Hampton Inn and we choose to use it for the Hampton Inn at the National Harbor. Since we were to early for check in, we stopped off at the Tanger Outlets, which had just opened in November 2013.
All the stores had their summer sales going on and of course I had to shop. My husband is a good sport and there were plenty of couches, chairs, and benches spread throughout the outlets for him to sit and people watch. The outlet is mostly open to the outdoors, with some overhead cover. Since it was cloudy that day this was not an issue, but if the sun would have been out, it would have been to hot to sit.
There is no food court, but there is a Starbucks, Johnny Rockets, and Auntie Annie’s. If you are looking for more, you will need to head to the National Harbor. There is suppose to be a shuttle that takes you to and from the National Harbor, but we did not use it since we drove our car.
My daughter recently had a baby and as a new grandmother, I am always looking for cute outfits. Buying for a boy is harder than buying for a girl. Boys don’t have the selection that girls have. The Carter’s baby store had a good selection of clothes for boy and was having a fantastic summer sale. I spent quite some time texting her pics of outfits that I was going to buy. What did we do before cell phones? By the time I left the store, he had enough outfits for the next summer season.
We left the outlets and made our way to the Hampton Inn. After J dropped me off at the hotel, he parked the car in the garage behind the hotel (St George garage). The hotel allowed in and out privileges for this garage for $13 for 24 hours.
The hotel was hosting reunions that weekend and it was very busy. The first room I was given was an adjoining room. I have had bad experiences with adjoining rooms and now request “no adjoining room”. I went back downstairs and told the front desk that it was adjoining room and needed another room. She quickly found another room and off I went again. Opening the door, I knew this was another adjoining room. Back down I went again. I was not very happy, because at this point, I did not understand what she did not comprehend of “NO ADJOINING ROOM”. She made some excuses when all of a sudden she found me an end room. This was an upgrade to what I booked. The room was large with two windows that looked out on the Gaylord Hotel.
Once we unpacked, we decided to grab a bite to eat. I looked at trip advisor before arriving and knew I wanted to try Nando’s. They were only about 2 blocks from the hotel. They sit you at a table, and when you are ready, you get up and place your order at the counter. They bring the food to the table on real plates. We both had the chicken and two sides. The chicken tasted good, but we thought the portion was too small for what we paid.
After eating, we headed down to the National Harbor in search of the Peeps store. We could not find it at first and walked down the steps in front of the golf style putting green lawn. In front of the lawn is a huge screen where they show movies on Sunday evening. There are chairs to sit and enjoy the view. (The picture below was taken on Sunday morning)
As you get close to the bottom of the steps, you see a bright yellow Volkswagen bug which has a peep mounted on the roof with the Peep logo on the side of the car.
Of course I had to go inside. They were handing out chocolate samples. The store was very crowded, so I left. We walked down to the Ferris wheel and found the beach with the sculpture. This beach is behind the big movie screen.
When we walked back to the open grass area, there were several chairs available. So we decided to sit and enjoy the view for a while.
In talking to some people that were sitting around us, they told us there would be fireworks that night by the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on the waterfront. Since we wanted to see the hotel, we went early so we could check it out. Everything is perfectly manicured with the prettiest flowers.
Inside the hotel, we rode the glass elevator and captured this stunning view overlooking the Potomac river.
We were walking by when this water show started.
There is a nice walking path with benches to sit and enjoy the view. The ferris wheel is vey colorful at night.
We had no problems finding a bench to watch the fireworks. It was a perfect way to end the day.