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Waterfront Weather: DC’s Riverside Neighborhoods

Photo: Courtesy of Visit National Harbor

Photo: Courtesy of Visit National Harbor

National Harbor

Inside Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center
Q&A with Public Relations Manager Rachel Dinbokowitz

The gorgeous riverfront hotel provides a getaway for locals and vacationers alike because of its central location, just steps from the buzz of National Harbor and accessible to DC and Old Town via car and water taxi. We talked to Rachel Dinbokowitz about the best ways to take advantage of your Harbor staycation this summer.

On Tap: What events is Gaylord hosting this summer?
Rachel Dinbokowitz: We’re hosting a silent disco party in our Belvedere lobby bar that is free for resort guests, and $10 for anyone else who wants to come in. We have a DJ from 9 p.m. to midnight creating special mixes for this event. This runs every Saturday night through Labor Day. We’re also doing something called Flashback Friday, where you can party like it’s the 80s, that’s happening in our rooftop lounge, Pose. It’s open for resort guests and outside guests for a $20 cover, which is new this summer.

OT: What are your favorite dining options for hotel guests or those visiting for the day?
RD: You have so many different options. Something we are doing is a $10 happy hour at Old Hickory Steakhouse. We’re also offering a stogies and scotch experience with a three-course, prix-fixe dinner and you can follow that with cigars and scotch on our outdoor terrace that overlooks the Capital Wheel and the water.

OT: What makes visiting National Harbor and staying at the Gaylord unique?
RD: You can escape the city if you’re from downtown DC. It’s a nice, quick getaway where you feel like you’re not in the city because it has a resort destination and relaxation feel to it.

201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; 301-965-4000; www.nationalharbor.com/gaylord-national

Date Night Dining

We took the guesswork out of researching the best drinking and dining options in National Harbor with this guide to date night dining.

Fiorella Pizzeria
If you and your date are foodies, look no further than Fiorella. Their menu offers classic Italian staples with shareable twists, like the two-foot-long, open-faced lasagna and the passion fruit margarita bowl.

“You can sit and watch our chefs make pizza in our open kitchen or have a private booth and share a bottle of wine,” says general manager Alexander Green.

After your Italian feast, take a romantic stroll around the Harbor to walk off the carbs – or indulge in a delicious dessert like tiramisu.

152 National Plaza, Oxon Hill, MD; www.fiorellapizzeria.com

Granite City Food & Brewery
Boasting its own in-house microbrewery and an impressive happy hour selection, Granite City is an ideal meeting spot for craft beer lovers.

“Our onsite microbrewery offers free samples of beer and brew tours,” says manager Stephanie Adams.

She suggests the Prairie Vixen Hefeweizen for beer drinkers, which contains notes of bubblegum, banana and clove. If you’re in the mood for liquor, she suggests the Sour with a Kiss, which plays off a traditional sour by adding red wine to the top of the drink.

200 American Way, Oxon Hill, MD; www.gcfb.com

Succotash
Double daters rejoice, because Succotash offers several of its signature cocktails in pitchers that are perfect for sharing on their breezy outdoor patio. And don’t let the idea of getting too stuffed on heavy Southern foods with your sweetheart scare you away, because the spot’s innovative take on Southern cuisine is as light and fresh as anything.

“The Delta rice bowl is always my go to,” says sommelier Darlin Kulla. “You get so many different flavors of vegetables, but it is filling and at the same time not heavy. The catfish is delicious, it’s very lightly breaded. Even our ribs are smoked and have a really bright apple, cider-based sauce so they’re very flavorful.”

186 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, MD; www.succotashrestaurant.com

Outdoor Activities

Fitness Classes
If you need more exercise beyond walking around the Harbor, Gold’s Gym sponsors fitness classes on the plaza almost every weeknight. Pick from dance, aerobics and Zumba classes and get your sweat on outdoors.

Outdoor Films
Venture to the plaza and catch everything from family-friendly flicks to box office hits through September. Enjoy the views of the Harbor with movies on the plaza ranging from Black Panther to Mean Girls.

Summer Festivals
Not only is National Harbor known as a dining destination for its established brick-and-mortar bars and restaurants, the waterfront area is host to an impressive lineup of food and drink festivals throughout the summer. Highlights of this year’s lineup include the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival from June 15-16 and the Maryland Vintage Wine & Jazz Festival on June 23.

Learn more at www.nationalharbor.com.

The Awakening

This iconic sculpture was purchased by the Peterson Companies to anchor the National Harbor waterfront when development of the innovative downtown area began. Depicting a 72-foot man emerging from the sand, J. Seward Johnson’s iconic piece has quickly become a must-see for all ages – kids can climb it, teens can take selfies with it and adults can admire the art.

Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar

If you want more than just a casual drink or to graduate from barside karaoke, take your musical talent to Bobby McKey’s for some fun and friendly competition. We caught up with owner Bob Hansan about his popular spot.

On Tap: What are some highlights of your summer programming?
Bob Hansan: We’ve put together a package offering businesses an indoor summer picnic experience for both June and July. We’re offering teachers Friday night show tickets from June to August at no cost. We’ll focus our monthly events around our new boozy brunch, as well as kids’ and teen shows.

OT: What sets Bobby McKey’s apart from other National Harbor spots?
BH: Bobby McKey’s offers entertainment that is unique and ever-changing. We are the only live music venue in the Harbor, providing an all-request show paired with improvisational humor. You will never experience two identical shows, as the performers rely on guests to interact and provide the musical selections. Our goal is to appeal to guests of all ages and musical tastes, which makes us unique to the DC area as a whole.

172 Fleet St. National Harbor, MD; 301-602-2209; www.bobbymckeys.com

Capital Wheel Bar

Need a little liquid courage to venture onto the Capital Wheel? The Flight Deck bar by the iconic Ferris wheel offers the “Take My Drink on the Wheel” cup to do exactly as the name suggests with wine, beer or cider. VIP gondola tickets are also available so you can ride the wheel in style with a glass bottom gondola while sitting in leather booths. Learn more at www.thecapitalwheel.com.

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