DC Date Night: National Habor

“Never stop dating…”


Someone once told me the best couples never stop dating; even after they get married they treat their significant other like a crush, or someone they’re still trying to impress! I know that’ hard to do, especially after years and years of being with the same person, but Aaron and I try to having running date nights to reinforce this theory. To highlight some date night spots, I’m starting a new series on the blog: dc date night!

I love living in near the Nation’s capital and having so many awesome places to go, whether it’s in the District, Northern Virginia or in Maryland. Since I’m from this area and know it fairly well, I figured it might be helpful to those of you visiting or new to the area to read about some of my favorite places around the DMV (a common reference for DC, Maryland, and VA).

First up, the place where we had our rehearsal dinner and wedding weekend: The National Harbor!

I used to work at the Gaylord National Resort & Conventional Center when it first opened and was the first big attraction at the Harbor. The area has grown and changed so much since then, but in the best kind of way! The Harbor offers a relaxed, luxurious and convenient escape just across the Woodrow Wilson bridge that feels miles from the hustle and bustle of DC! There’s actually a lot more than 8 things to there, but these are my favorites!

1. Visit the farmer’s market. It was such a nice surprise this past weekend to see that the Harbor started a farmer’s market in the city center. Even if you’re just going for a night (like we were) the market makes it easy to pick-up a healthy snack, like cherries or grapes to take back to your room for guiltless late-night munching.


We bought a mango and some fresh roasted peanuts! Cutting the mango in the room was a bit of a challenge (I used a plastic knife), but it well worth the hassle! Mm mangos!


2. Go to the coffee shop. Mayorga Coffee shop is so cute! It’s right by the farmer’s market and they sell only organic, non-gmo certified coffees! I got an iced americano (my new favorite drink) and added a splash of half and half. It was the perfect pick-me-up before a long night out on the town!


3. Watch a movie on the Potomac. Or, watch the World Cup! Even though there is a ton to do around the harbor, it’s really night to sit and enjoy a movie (or the game) with the Woodrow Wilson bridge and water in the distance! The movie on the potomac schedule is on the website and this Sunday it’s Princess Diaries – who doesn’t love that movie?!


4. Take the Water Taxi. This is by far my very favorite thing to do at the National Harbor! The water taxi will take you across the Potomac over to Old Town Alexandria, where, personally, I love to eat at the Chart House, and then bring you back – all for $15 roundtrip! The water taxi also travels to the National Mall and Mount Vernon. (If you do happen to go to the Chart House, be sure to ask for a table by one of the many windows that overlooks the water!)


5. Check out the Capital Wheel! The Capital Wheel is a new attraction at the Harbor but you can’t miss it! It’s a bit pricey at $15 per ride but if you’re brave enough to get on it, I say go for it! This is seriously the perfect date night adventure!


(The Capital Wheel looks spectacular at night too!)


6. Stay at Aloft boutique hotel. Even bring your pet! I’ve stayed at Aloft and the Gaylord, and my husband, the night before our wedding stayed at the Hampton Inn. All the hotels at the Harbor are great so it’s tough to pick a favorite, but I will say we really enjoy the fact that we can bring our dog to Aloft! They give us a doggy bag with treats and even a dog bed, and it’s super convenient for us since we don’t always have a dog sitter!



7. Check out the Gaylord: Even if you don’t stay at the Gaylord, you have to go check it out! Inside there’s a beautiful atrium and the views through the full-glass front wall are gorgeous! The area outside, just beyond the glass doors is lovely too (I’ve even seen people taking engagement photos there!)

I also can’t move on without mentioning the atrium view rooms at the Gaylord. They are truly unique! You can not only see the full atrium within the Gaylord but if you have a room in the center, high enough up, you also get an amazing view of the Woodrow Wilson bridge and water. It’s seriously gorgeous! (I miss the perks of working there and getting these rooms at a discount!)


8. Go Shopping. Even though I haven’t been to the Tanger Outlets, I hear they’re fabulous! You can take a shuttle from the Harbor right to them and back, which means no driving necessary for the full weekend! What’s there not to love?

Other things to do: 


Whether you’re into dueling piano bars (Bobby McKEYS), rooftop clubs (Pose) or bull simulations (Cadillac Ranch) there’s no shortage of fun nightlife opportunities at the Harbor!

Children’s Museum, the Great Awakening, and a Carousel:

If you have kids and date night needs to accommodate them, the Harbor has you covered! There’s the National Children’s Museum and the Great Awakening statue which serves as an awesome playground for kids! There’s also a carousel wheel!

Good Eats:

There’s so many amazing restaurants. We love Grace’s Mandarian and if you’re willing to fork the bill, Old Hickory Steakhouse! Ben & Jerry’s, Peeps, CakeLove, and Pinkberry – the Harbor has all the best dessert stops in town, too! But, my favorite comes from McCormick & Schmick’s – their apple pie dessert is to die for!

You can see why I love this little location so much, right? It’s full of fun stuff to do and close enough to Virginia and DC to where residents who want a getaway but may not be able to afford plane tickets, or have limited time off, can go!

If you make it to the Harbor soon be sure to let me know!!

Have you ever been to the National Harbor? What’s your favorite thing to do there? 

Do you have a favorite date night location? 

Images of Aloft photographed by Meredith Perdue.

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  1. Sarah @ Licorice & olives wrote:

    Favourite thing would be dinner with our favourite DC couple!

    Posted 6.29.14 Reply
    • Sara wrote:

      Aww!! You’re so sweet! Being there last weekend reminded me of our dinner!! Wish we were doing that again soon!

      Posted 6.30.14 Reply
  2. Kristie W wrote:

    Way cool to find a hotel where you can bring your dog! I’d like to find some in our area where we can bring ours but she’s a bit bigger than your wee pup!

    I am not a fan of heights and the thought of being in that wheel near the open water is terrifying LOL!

    Great series and I hope to use it someday. DC is on our list of places to visit 🙂

    Posted 7.3.14 Reply
  3. […] guys remember my DC date night series, right? I blogged about the National Harbor – one of my favorite local destinations for date […]

    Posted 12.5.14 Reply