Last Saturday evening, my other half and I had a much-needed date night at the MGM National Harbor. For us, it’s a 20 minute drive from home, which makes it ideal when you don’t want just dinner, and don’t necessarily want to venture out into cold weather to wander to your next destination, either.
However, in our quest for a date night, we learned a lot about when to go, where to eat, where to get drinks, and how to navigate the enormous amount of people that are there in the evening. Below are my tips on how to make the most of your evening there.
- Make restaurant reservations far in advance. Our dinner reservation at Voltaggio Brothers Steak House was for 10:45pm because there was literally nothing left for this date, and I booked two weeks ahead for that time! Suggestion: Book a month in advance for the upscale restaurants.
- There are people everywhere. The casino is built in an oval structure with an outer ring and a center circle. All restaurants and shops are on the outer ring with the casino, bars, and lounges being on the inner circle (you have to go through security and show your ID before you can get in). Unfortunately, traffic flow gets a bit bottle-necked at the two entrances into the casino area, with most people stopping to gamble just a few feet from there. Given that it was a weekend, I expected it to be busy but not off the charts! Suggestion: Weekends (Friday – Sunday) are horribly crowded. I’d suggest going on a Wednesday or Thursday night if it’s possible.
- Lounges have dress codes. It actually made me happy because it weeded a lot of the people in the casino, out, as places like Felt expect you to be dressed up. Suggestion: Dresses and heels for women; jeans, nice shoes, button downs, and a sport coat for men.
- Felt is the place to go for a drink… or a table. Since there isn’t a club inside of MGM, this is about as close as you’re going to get to it. If you have a large party of people who are going out to celebrate something, this is the place to get dressed up and go to! Suggestion: Save the lounge for closer to the end of your evening – especially if you want to escape the large crowds
- Voltaggio Brothers Steak House is everything and more. While I’m not thrilled with how our server handled my gluten allergy, the atmosphere, the food (try the filets, broccolini, and mashed potatoes), and the drinks (try the one from 1670) were absolutely amazing. The restaurant can best be described as “Colonial Chic” – every, single, little detail was impeccable. I highly recommend! Suggestion: If you have an allergy, tell them during booking, and make sure to remind them when you come in.
- The main atrium is decorated for a different theme for every occasion! The Chinese New Year display (see below) was absolutely incredible to walk through. Suggestion: Make stop here to view whatever they put up next.
- Shopping is light but they’re still opening stores! Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe store is currently opening (and like walking into my dream shoe closet), with many more to come. Suggestion: Come back in the next few months when more of their stores open!
- Remember this isn’t Vegas. Restaurants and lounges close at 2am, per normal hours for the DMV. The casino, however, is 24 hours. Suggestion: Maximize your time there. If you can help doing dinner at 9m, followed by drinks, and gambling, it will ensure a full evening without feeling rushed!