Gaylord National Resort – National Harbor, MD

Sponsored Post – Gaylord hosted us. All opinions are my own.

The Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center is located on the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, Maryland. The resort is just south of the District of Columbia.

Gaylord Resort Sign
Gaylord National Main Entrance

The Gaylord National is a large resort that also contains a conference center, atrium, restaurants, shops, an indoor pool and much more.

Gaylord National Atrium

One of the focal points of the Gaylord National is its atrium. This indoor space is vast, and includes full-size buildings, a stage, shops, marketplaces, and more. Some of the resort’s overnight accommodations have balconies which overlook the atrium.

Gaylord Atrium
Main Walkway in the Gaylord National Atrium

During various seasons there will be different activities and events in the atrium. We visited during the holiday season. For Christmas, there is a musical stage show and light show featuring the atrium’s 55-foot-tall Starlight Christmas Tree suspended from 19 stories.

Gaylord Christmas Tree
Gaylord National Christmas Tree Light Show

The light show happens nightly, and it’s a free event. It’s available late November through December, but as always, check the Gaylord National’s website for exact dates and times. The best views are from room balconies, inside the atrium, or the area that overlooks the atrium near hotel reception.

Gaylord Lobby Christmas
Another view of the Gaylord National Atrium during the Holidays


There are several lodging types available at the Gaylord National. Rooms can include a view of the atrium or an external view.

Gaylord Resort Room
Gaylord Resort Room – Atrium View

Gaylord National Parking

The Gaylord National has several parking options. There is valet parking available at the front of the resort. There’s also a parking garage which charges by the hour or a flat overnight fee.

Christmas on the Potomac – December 2021

During the holiday season, Gaylord National has many festive events, shows, and activities to enjoy. Some of the activities have particular show times or entry times, so it’s best to plan your day or overnight stay at the Gaylord in advance. This post includes activities from 2021, and the holiday activities can differ from year to year.

Gaylord Snow Factory
Snow Factory at Gaylord National

Snow Flow Mountain

Snow Flow Mountain is the indoor snow tubing hill located inside the Gaylord National. This is a ticketed activity. Your ticket is for the day’s operating hours. There is a height requirement of 42″ to participate.

Adult and kid-size tubes are available. There are four tubing lanes, and while shorter than a typical outdoor hill, it’s a pretty fast ride to the bottom.

Gaylord Snow Tubing
Snow Flow Mountain – Christmas on the Potomac

I Love Christmas Movies

This year, 2021, there is a special walk-thru attraction called I Love Christmas Movies. This attraction includes 13 scenes from five different Christmas movies. The movies include National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, The Polar Express, Elf, and The Year Without a Santa Claus.

This is a timed, ticketed attraction, so it’s important to purchase tickets before your trip on the Gaylord National’s website.

Gaylord Christmas Movies
A Christmas Story prop from I Love Christmas Movies

You’ll walk among the Christmas movie scenes, with narration and quiz questions to see how well you know these classic holiday favorites. There are some surprises along the way.

Gaylord Christmas National Lampoons
Car from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Ice Bumper Cars and Ice Skating

Outdoors, there are two additional attractions, ice skating and ice bumper cars. The ice bumper car line can have a wait, so be sure to dress warmly. Have young children use the restroom before getting in line, and try to avoid busy Saturdays.

Gaylord Ice Bumper Cars
Ice Bumper Cars

Ice skate rentals are available for their outdoor ice rink. There are also plastic bears that children can push around the ice for stability. Note that there are only a few bears available, and you’ll need to leave your driver’s license at the skate rental desk in order to use a bear.

The ice rink is on the banks of the Potomac River. Ice skating during the golden hour before sunset allows you to enjoy the view of the sunset over the Potomac River.

Gaylord Ice Skating
Ice Skating at Gaylord National

Capital Wheel

The capital wheel is located a short walk from the Gaylord National. Tickets for the wheel can be purchased online or at the base of the wheel.

Capital Wheel
Capital Wheel at National Harbor

The wheel has small, enclosed cabins. The full glass cabins allow for views of the Potomac River and the National Harbor area.

Capital Wheel Cabins
Capital Wheel Cabins

The National Harbor has many restaurants and places to enjoy the view throughout. Some nights, there’s even fireworks over the harbor.

Sponsored Post – Gaylord hosted us. All opinions are my own.

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Post Author: karenbeth24