June 28, 2010

National Harbor -- Jonesmag.com -- June 2010

Aside from the monuments and museums, the Nation’s Capital now has even more to offer Chocolate City visitors. National Harbor is a shining new waterfront destination located in Prince George’s County, MD—just fifteen minutes outside of D.C.

If you’re looking at National Harbor from across the scenic Potomac River, it has an ethereal glow, like it might not even be real. But it is indeed real, and offers plenty to eat, play and love.


For lunch, head to Ketchup, another fabulous restaurant brought to Maryland by the people behind Geisha House in L.A. and Dolce in ATL. Taking American classics and updating them with an upscale twist, Ketchup’s Southern Spiced “Shake & Bake” consisting ofcountry spiced pecan crusted chicken with barbecue baked scarlet runner beans and sugar snap peas, is a must taste.

You can then head over to Cake Love. D.C. locals flock to the various Cake Love locations in the area and this one is no different. Using only natural ingredients, Darren Brown, D.C. local and host of Food Network’s “Sugar Rush” offers decadent goodies, like the 44 Cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream and caramel, named for our awesome President.

For dinner, Grace’s Mandarin offers a stunning view of the Potomac River and generous portions of delicious Pan Asian cuisine. The ambiance and décor make you feel as though you are visiting Asia for the evening (the waitresses are actually dressed in authentic-looking garb).


At the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center—really a city within a city—stop by Relache Spa for an ultra-pampering experience. In addition to a pool and fitness area, Relache has spa and salons services, like The Ensemble, 120 minutes of attention for your face, hands and body. Treatment rooms offer tranquility and Potomac scenery.

When evening hits, there are a couple of different spots to chill out. You can hang at the bar or play a little pool at the W XYZ Lounge at the Aloft Hotel Or you can head to Pose Ultra Lounge on the 18th floor of the Gaylord. Take in gorgeous nighttime scenery on the wraparound terrace with an exotic drink in hand. If you like to get a little rowdy, Cadillac Ranch restaurant has a mechanical bull with your name on it.


Art is big at National Harbor, as it is home to several different galleries, like Art Whino and The Art League, that range in works from street/graffiti art to classic landscape pieces. At the Amber Tree Gallery, you can purchase authentic African artifacts from various countries in the Western African region.

Although National Harbor plays host to many different festivals and events throughout the year, a definite highlight is the highly-acclaimed Cirque du Soleil’s OVO premiering Thursday, September 9 at the Plateau.

When you visit the D.C. area, consider staying at one of National Harbor’s six hotels. It’s only eight miles away from Reagan National Airport and is a hop, skip and a jump from the city. To get to D.C., just hop on a water taxi to Georgetown and enjoy the ride or water taxi tour.

Visit www.nationalharbor.com and check out the full calendar of events to see what you can get into the next time you visit the Obamas.

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