It’s finally here! The highly anticipated opening of the MGM is set for Dec 8, 2016. It was not too long ago that the Prince George’s County approved the MGM National Harbor casino project. Expected to generate 2,000 jobs, the county council voted almost unanimously to approve the project, but it wasn’t that easy to get to that point. Prior to getting approved by the county council, the project had to go through legislation. In 2012, then Maryland governor, Martin O’Malley signed a gambling expansion bill that would allow for the inclusion of table games like blackjack, poker, and roulette at existing Maryland casinos. The bill also included a permit for the construction of a new casino with the National Harbor as the proposed location, but county voters would have to approve the proposed project. There was a huge debate on the impact a casino would have on the county. Although there were positives on the revenue it would generate for the county, there were concerns about the negatives of having a large casino in the county. Ultimately, the voters voted for the new site, and shortly after MGM stepped in.
Fast-forward to 2016, and $1.4 billion spent, the DC area’s latest attraction and first casino is set to launch to much fanfare. Although touted as a large casino, the MGM National Harbor includes a boutique-style hotel, 3000-seat theater, multiple dining options, a conference center, and much more. So, the MGM National Harbor is an attraction for everyone. The DC area is in for something special. Think Vegas in DC. A look at its upcoming entertainment schedule shows a bevy of entertainment acts already booked from December 2016 to March 2017. Music superstar, Bruno Mars is set to open the 3000-seat theater on Dec 27th. Prices for tickets to the concert range from $403 to $1,062, and there are not that many tickets left. 80s pop star band Duran Duran ring in the New Year with shows on Dec 31st and Jan 1st. If you are a lover of comedy shows, funny man Jim Gaffigan is set to perform four shows between January 6th and 7th. Music legend Cher is scheduled to start her spring residency at the MGM National Harbor on March 17th.
For food connoisseurs, the MGM boasts some pretty impressive celebrity chef restaurants. Spanish American renowned celebrity chef Jose Andres will helm his first seafood restaurant, Fish. Ethiopian-born chef Marcus Samuelsson, known for his New York City restaurants, will oversee a restaurant known as Marcus, a restaurant with a menu of comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Voltaggio brothers, Bryan and Michal Voltaggio will be launching their first restaurant at the MGM National Harbor called Voltaggio Brothers Steak House. Fans of Top Chef will probably remember the brothers from their time on the sixth season of the Bravo cooking competition, Top Chef. Besides the celebrity chef restaurants, the National Harbor offers a casual food market known as National Market, which houses a ten unique dining options including Bento, District Deli, Honey’s Fried Chicken & Donuts, Zizi’s Pizza, and more. If you are trying to catch a game and enjoy sports bar food, the MGM offers a sports bar known as TAP Sports Bar.
Although the National Harbor is located in Prince George’s county, the great thing about the area is that it is easily accessible from other areas in the DC area. The MGM is located right across the river from Alexandria. In an effort to accommodate Alexandria commuters to the casino, a new bus service connecting Alexandria with the National Harbor just started running, including from the King Street metro.