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Apr 20, 2011 11:48 AM

National Harbor conference

So, I am going to a conference at the Gaylord National Harbor in May and am trying to decide where to book my hotel room, either in National Harbor or across the bridge in Alexandria. National Harbor looks like one giant convention center, and I would expect everything, especially the food, to be overpriced and at least a little boring. I am driving so will have a car either way.

Ideally, I would love to stay at a place in Alexandria where great restaurants and shops, and the Saturday farmers market, are all within walking distance. That way, after driving to and from the conference, I could just park my car and leave it. I don't need fancy, but good food, and I tend to like more eclectic things than I would expect the convention area to have. But maybe I'm wrong?!

I'm also a little worried about traffic if I don't stay in the convention area. If I drive in each day from Alexandria, will I be fighting rush hour traffic, or going in the opposite direction?

Any suggestions welcome - I won't have a lot of free time while I'm there unfortunately, and want to make the most of it.

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  1. Yup food at National Harbor is kind of boring and overpriced,a although they do have a stonewall kitchen which is overpriced but has some tasty jams, sauces and such, and is worth a trip. other than that I'd skip it and stay in Alexandria.

    if you want to avoid traffic during rush hour, I'd consider taking the water taxi from Arlington to the national harbor.

    1 Reply
    1. re: msjess

      Well, disappointed, but after looking at a LOT of hotels, I just couldn't justify the extra cost for staying in Alexandria. Parking would have added a big expense over so many days. Unfortunately, I would have to drive back and forth because the ferry doesn't start running until about 11am and my conference starts much earlier each day.

      But, I do plan to go to Alexandria for the farmers market on Saturday, at least one dinner and maybe brunch on Sunday. Any favorite recommendations? Nothing too formal or extremely expensive, otherwise all options are open.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Just thought I would report back in on some food options in NH - Grace's Mandarin in was really good. They served some of the best/freshest sushi I have ever had. Yes, it's expensive, but if you can make it during happy hour the prices are half off and VERY reasonable for what they serve. Their other food was ok, but the sushi was was great!! Bond45 looked good, but I didn't eat there as it was basically an outrageously overpriced italian/steak house, which I generally don't go for when eating out because it's so easy to do well at home. There was also an upscale mexican place, Rosa's something, that we did try and was good, especially their scratch margeritas, but was also way overpriced for the food. Overall, the food choices were better than expected for basically a large convention center, but other than Grace's Manderin at happy hour, was nothing worth seeking out; and they were all over-priced as expected. There were a few less expensive options that I have to admit not trying - Baja Fresh, Ketchup, Potbelly's.

        Grace's Mandarin
        188 Waterfront Street, Oxon Hill, MD 20745