Since MGM National Harbor (7100 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Maryland) is the DMV's newest attraction, I couldn't wait to visit, especially since I haven't been home all year and my friends were home for the holidays. It was the perfect place for us to catch up. We spent about 6 hours eating, drinking, and gambling, so here's my take on MGM National Harbor:
1. Everything you need for a weekend staycation is right there.
It became obvious very quickly after arriving that the MGM has everything you need for a nice weekend getaway. Hotel, food, casino, shopping, and not to mention National Harbor just a short distance away, you never really have to leave the area to feel a world away from home. I'll definitely be planning a staycation here this summer.
2. There are many restaurant options.
From TAP Sports Bar to the fabulous Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and an upscale food court, everyone's taste buds can be satisfied at MGM National Harbor. Also on the property are restaurants by famed chefs Marcus Samuselsson and José Andrés, as well as an Asian fusion restaurant. Due to wait times, we chose to eat at Amos Los Tacos in the food court, or what they've termed 'National Market.' There were also burgers, pizza, crab cakes, fried chicken and donuts, a deli and a place to grab wine and beer to accompany your meal. Even if you can't afford or don't have time to eat in one of their restaurants, the National Market is a solid option when visiting.
3. It's gorgeous.
My friend Joi-Marie over at The Fab Empire said it best, "Not only does its massive heavenly presence hover over you as you ride down 495 toward it, looking like the Wizard of Oz, but it’s also new. And there’s something special about new." It was gorgeously decorated for the holiday season so I look forward to seeing how decorations change based on the time of year.
4. If you don't want to gamble, there's still something for you.
I understand that everyone may not enjoy gambling (as much I do!), but that doesn't mean you can't accompany your gambling-loving friends to MGM National Harbor. In addition to getting their drinks at the bar, you can go shopping, see a show in the 3,000-person theater, go to one of the two casino clubs or my all-time favorite, watch people as they win, lose and drink while gambling.
My overall feeling is that I loved MGM National Harbor and can't wait to spend more time there. However, in addition to the pros, of course there are some cons I can't overlook:
1. You can't make restaurant reservations online.
I mean, it's 2016/2017. You should be able to go online to make a reservation. Point blank period. You can call to make reservations but still, let's get with the times. Additionally, we tried making a reservation at Tap Sports Bar upon arrival, but we were told seating was on a first-come, first-served basis. Womp.
2. It's overcrowded.
I know it's still new since opening in early December; however, the lines in the food court were unruly. We probably waited for about 40 minutes to order and receive our tacos and frankly, the National Market area could use more seating. But overall, the whole place was overwhelmingly crowded and I don't think the powers that be accounted for the crowds when building such a massive facility, which brings me to my next point...
3. Space between slot machines and tables is tight.
If you like to gamble, then this may be a problem for you. I didn't really notice until people kept trying to squeeze by me as I was winning on the slot machine. I'm not sure what they can do about that now, but hey, I'm just the messenger.
4. Hotel rooms are too pricey.
There's no way I'm paying $279 per night for a hotel room at National Harbor. It's just not happening, especially when cheaper options like the AC Hotel Marriott across the way at National Harbor offers more affordable prices.
With all of this said, I'd definitely recommend going to MGM National Harbor at least once, whether it's for a day or a weekend. I realize it may not be everyone's cup of whiskey, but it is truly a spectacular site. Try exercising some patience and I guarantee you'll have a great time!