One of the best perks of paying large sums for college tuition is the privilege of visiting those esteemed campuses from time to time. Seriously, we have been more than blessed by our many visits to the Washington, D.C. area. Gratefully, our son stayed in the area after graduation to work on Capitol Hill. Lucky us! Now DC this is our second home. From Maryland to the Capitol area to Virginia, we never tire of the local one-of-a-kind experiences. Every December we venture to National Harbor for an exceptional seasonal treat. Our newest family holiday tradition is Gaylord National’s Christmas on the Potomac.
|Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center|
Gaylord National’s Christmas
In late November through early January, Christmas is king on the Potomac River.
(*Updated December 2019)
With decoration from more than 2 million brilliant lights, nightly indoor snow flurries, and dozens of holiday activities for kids of all ages, Christmas on the Potomac is sure to get you in the spirit of the season. And it gets more dazzling every year!
A visit to the North Pole is free and does not require a sleigh! This fully decorated shopping experience is such a novelty. Additional seasonal activities are offered for a fee:
Gingerbread Decorating Corner
Prices for your own cookie creation start at $30. We watched families gather and spend up to an hour together decorating, smiling, and making these houses their own.
ICE! featuring Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
A Gaylord National’s Christmas highlight, this winter wonderland is chiseled out of 2 million pounds of ice. Inspired by the ancient Chinese Ice Lantern Festival, 40 Chinese artisans create a new theme each year. Don a Big Blue Parka and get ready for 9 degrees. Of winter fun! Enjoy 4 ice slides, a life-sized carving of the Nativity, and walk through rooms depicting everyone’s childhood favorite stories. The year we attended, it Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. In 2019, the Grinch moved into “Whoville!” (Pricing starts at Adult $33 Child $25)
Village Express Train Ride
This classic children’s train in the center of Christmas Village costs $4.99 per ride. All aboard kiddies!
Santa Souvenir Photo
(Photos start at $03) Santa is ready and waiting to hear your wish list. He sits in the big chair daily until Christmas Eve.
Reindeer Rush Tubing
New for 2019! Slip and slide down their 15-foot-high, four-lane indoor ice tubing hill. (Priced at $20.99.)
You know what to do! Though there is a year-round location right down the street, this Christmas-themed version is adorable.
Also new in 2019 is a tented outdoor ice skating rink alongside the Potomac. ($16.99 per person) Perfect your moves, and then warm up with some hot chocolate or adult beverage at the Tinsel Tavern.
In the Atrium areas, there are more treats to be had, including, in my mind, the number one reason to visit Gaylord National this Christmas.
Christmas Miracles Light Show
Three times nightly, this FREE tree lighting, snow flurry, and Christmas Fountain Show in the Lower Atrium is not to be missed!! Set to your favorite carols, synchronized lights, strobes, and lighted fountains will make your heart ring-ding-a-ling. I captured the lighting of their spectacular 65-foot suspended Christmas tree for you. (Sounds & Songs of Christmas Show in 2015)
This year’s version is also a stunner.
Cirque Dreams Unwrapped Atrium Show
Acrobatics and theatrics set against the gorgeous holiday backdrop. Though stage and fountain stage seating is available ($19.99 and $17.99 respectively), there are many, many free vantage points in the hotel.
The Grinch’s Wonderful Awful Idea Scavenger Hunt
($9.9p) Solve puzzles and scour the resort to find the scout elves so that they may fly together to the North Pole. And claim your prize!
Sounds of the Season Concert Series
Set on the Atrium stage
Trust me, all this merriment gives you an appetite, and Gaylord National has several holiday dining specials to keep you satiated. Feast with the Grinch at Pienza for an interactive breakfast buffet with Max and The Grinch himself. Reserve a meal another favorite- the Old Hickory Steakhouse. We sure enjoyed the munchies (and libations) at Belvedere Lobby Bar. This venue comes with a side of with a side of ho ho ho- a bird’s eye view of the atrium light shows!!
Though we first visited as day guests, we never made that mistake again. Not only is Gaylord National’s Christmas is a yearly tradition, we now stay here throughout the year when we vacation!
Gaylord National offers several stay and play packages for the holidays; the ICE! is Nice Package starts at $249 and includes one-night stay and unlimited entry to ICE!, and the Christmas on the Potomac Package (starts at $299) which includes one-night room accomodations, unlimited entry to ICE!, $100 resort credit, and a souvenir photo. Marriott Bonvoy and AAA members have access to other exclusive rates.
** This is not a sponsored post. I was simply impressed and inspired by Christmas on the Potomac and wanted to share it as my holiday gift to you!