Though you may recognize the famous MGM label, the MGM National Harbor has its own unique character that’s different from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Nestled in Prince George’s County, only 20 minutes away from Washington D.C., the MGM National Harbor has something for everyone. With its extensive fine art collection, decadent spa, celebrity chef-owned restaurants, and brand new theater, the MGM National Harbor is truly its own must-try destination. Take a look to see all the amazing experiences you can try, all packed into one massive 23 acre property.
Where To Stay
I was lucky enough to stay in the Corner Suite, which boasts a huge bedroom, living/sitting room, and a gorgeous view of the Potomac. It is more than enough room for two people, and can essentially house a small family. The technology in these rooms is truly advanced. The mirrors have their own lighting on and off switches, which took me a while to figure out. It made me feel ancient!
We also got to tour the Chairman Suite for ballers, essentially. It has *several* bedrooms, an epic dining room and kitchen, and a truly luxurious bathroom where you can bathe with a view.
One can dream, can’t they?
Enjoy The Art Collection
I never realized this until I went to the MGM National Harbor, but they truly value art. Priceless art is scattered throughout the whole property, from the entrances to the restaurants to the private gambling rooms.
The art collection ranges from large scale sculptures to paintings to futuristic neon art. When walking around, it’s easy to look past everything, but once we stopped and paid attention, we saw unique pieces everywhere, even on the floor!
Every season, they completely revamp the atrium with a new scene. Since I was there during mid-January, they were just setting up for the Lunar New Year. It was amazing how fast they took down and set up a completely new installation.
What to Eat
Where do I even begin. The dining selection at MGM National Harbor is truly fantastic. Not only do they have three celebrity chef restaurants, they also have the fanciest dining court I’ve seen yet.
What: Celebrity chefs, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, worked together for the first time to open this steakhouse!
Price: $$$. This place is a splurge, but still competitive with other fine steakhouses. Worth it, I’d say.
Atmosphere: I truly loved the space. It was designed to feel like a house, with different rooms representing different parts of a home. The bar area was the library, and there’s also a dining room, living room, and of course, a kitchen. The menus look like photo albums, with real photos of them as children, evoking a comforting sense of nostalgia.
Food: I ate a LOT of good meals during my stay here, and this definitely was a favorite. Not only were the steaks cooked perfectly, but their side dishes and appetizers really shone. The Maine Lobster and blue crab imperial was cooked in a Tom Kha sauce, unlike anything I’ve tried. Favorite steaks were the 32 oz Porterhouse, and the NY strip Wagyu. The asparagus was a nice, light side dish to complement the heavy nature of the steak.
Lastly, I still dream about their Parker rolls. I know, I know…. Parker rolls of all things? But as a true bread lover, their Parker rolls are what still fills me with longing this day. Served in a skillet, these fluffy buns come out piping hot, with a thick pat of butter on top, that slowly melts as it sits on top of the buns. They’re also lightly salted, having just enough flavor so that you can eat the bun on its own.
Drink wise, I tried the 1670 Clarified Milk Punch (apparently Ben Franklin’s drink of choice) and it was extremely refreshing and not at all what I thought it would be.
What: Another celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, shares his spin on classic American comfort food.
Price: $$$. Elevated comfort food with large portions. A bit of a splurge, but is open 24 hours.
Atmosphere: What’s great about the MGM National Harbor is that each restaurant has its distinct look and feel. I fell in love with the little outdoor patio at Marcus, completely dolled up with string lights and even plants! The inside was nice and vibrant, with bold colors, dark accents and festive patterns.
Food: The Whole Bird Royale fried chicken is a must! Not only is it tasty, but it’s quite a show. They bring out a whole chicken with a bunch of sides, then take it back to cut it into pieces. So gramworthy. It also comes with Shells & Cheese with collard greens, which sounds weird, but ended up being one of my favorite sides. Dessert-wise, I couldn’t stop eating the Dunbar Chocolate Cake with cherries, TO DIE FOR.
Drinks: They top some of their drinks with Berber, an African spice, which adds a unique spin to their cocktails.
Fish by José Andrés
What: Celebrity chef José Andrés (surprise) serves up seafood with an Italian twist, in an ocean-themed space.
Atmosphere: With beautiful colors and tiles sourced from Spain, Fish is a truly stunning restaurant. Gold accents and aqua chairs give it an elevated touch, and you can watch the sun rise while you enjoy a drink at the bar.
Food: Sadly, my flight in was super delayed so I was only able to try some of the dishes. Fortunately, I had the whole porgy (one of their most popular appetizers), and it didn’t disappoint. I still don’t quite know what it is— all I know is that it was delicious. The lobster jambalaya had hearty chunks of lobster, sausage, and chicken, and was great for sharing.
Of course, I don’t know what it is about MGM National Harbor, but all of the restaurants are killing it when it comes to their chocolate cakes. Fish was no exception, their chocolate cake was a winner.
TAP Sports Bar
What: A sports bar (lol).
Atmosphere: TAP Sports Bar is an industrial modern-style sports bar that even has a small room for private dining. While it has a casual feel, its decor keeps it from being too frat bro-ey, ie no suspiciously sticky patches on the floor or beer-soaked carpets…
Food: Two words— Disco Fries. Thick cut fries, topped with short rib gravy, cheese curds, scallions and an egg. LITERALLY DIED.
Oh and gumbo. The gumbo is a recipe passed on from the Chef’s grandmother, and then perfected and served here. Unsurprisingly, their fries are also very addicting.
I also loved their strawberry angel dip. Not overly sweet, it was kind of like a strawberry cheesecake trifle. Yum!
What: Basically the classiest food court you’ll ever see.
Atmosphere: Market is an appropriate name as it felt more like an indoor food market, versus your ordinary depressing food court. Each restaurant had its own look and feel, and you know a lot of thought was put into making sure this was a luxurious experience.
Food: I was too busy gorging on all those celebrity chef restaurants so I didn’t have many opportunities to try out the food court. However, I will say Pappas Crab Cakes, which is famous in Maryland, did have one of the best crab cakes I’ve ever eaten. Thick and meaty, it wasn’t a crab cake stuffed with filler, it had legitimate, hearty chunks of crab. I also heard that the Honey’s Fried Chicken & Donuts was too die for.
The market also has sushi, a sandwich shop, and a super cute ice creamery. Oh and can’t forget, Shake Shack is right next door!
Stroll The Grounds
After you’ve stuffed your face, the MGM National Harbor has a great outdoor deck where you can enjoy even more art, and an epic view of sunset (or sunrise). Take a walk around the property, where you can see over the Potomac into Washington DC.
Afterwards, you can head to the theater, where they have a robust roster of top performers. I was fortunate enough to see Kings of Leon, and I know Bruno Mars came for their opening night.
Ladies, hold onto your wallets because Sarah Jessica Parker opened her first retail shoe store here. Picture walls and walls of shoes, and of course a few little black dresses thrown in there. Temptation! Ella Rue, a local boutique, will also be opening their doors soon, featuring contemporary fashion and my favorite, athleisure.
National Harbor Waterfront Park
Fancy a quick trip off the grounds? Head to the National Harbor Waterfront Park. Only about a 20 minute walk or 5 minute drive, this park has quaint shopping, more restaurants, and even a glittering Ferris Wheel. It’s a great place to get a breath of fresh air, enjoy a scenic view, and there’s even a CVS if you need anything.
I didn’t even touch upon the actual casino! Considering I’m not a huge gambler, it’s hard for me to really talk about it. However, it all looked very nice and people looked like they were having fun :). It just goes to show that there is SO MUCH to do at the MGM National Harbor, even if you’re not interested in the casino!
What do you think of the MGM National Harbor? What would you do first if you were there?