How to navigate around MGM this weekend

WASHINGTON — While MGM National Harbor is asking visitors to consider delaying their visit to the resort and casino, Prince George’s County police say they don’t expect further backups at the venue this weekend.

MGM reached its 35,000 guest capacity Friday afternoon for the second time since its opening, after being forced to stop welcoming in new guests within an hour of its official grand opening Thursday night.

“The challenge with a large venue was the start time,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said of Friday night’s backups.

He doesn’t expect similar backups Saturday because there will be no set start time for visitors to meet.

However, because this weekend is also historically a busy time for holiday shopping at the nearby Tanger Outlets, his department is also actively managing traffic in and around the mall as well as Oxon Hill Road, Stawinski said.

Visitors can check National Harbor Travel’s Twitter feed, managed by Stawinski’s department, to learn whether the resort is still welcoming guests or if it has reached capacity. Stawinski said casino-goers might be able to find a spot in a parking garage only to have to wait several hours before they could be let into the complex.

For those looking for alternative options, the Capital Waterfront area of National Harbor is open for business along with the Capital Wheel, which is heated. Executive Director Bruce Gudenberg said the district, home to shops and restaurants, has plenty of parking.

National Harbor downtown parking

In the downtown National Harbor area, there are multiple parking garages and an 800-space surface lot.

Circulator Bus service has stops in downtown National Harbor on St. George Boulevard, Gaylord National, Tanger Outlets and MGM.

A $5 all-day pass allows unlimited service between 11 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Visitors can buy passes at the Mariner Garage Circulator Shuttle Management Office, at some National Harbor retailers or online.

Self-park option at MGM

MGM National Harbor’s 5,000-space parking facility is located beneath the resort, with five separate access points that allows drivers to enter the facility from the north and south sides.

MGM parking is free during the opening period but will eventually be “paid parking.”

Valet parking at MGM

Valet parking is available 24 hours per day, with rates at $25 for up to 12 hours and $45 for 12 to 24 hours.

Public transportation

MGM National Harbor has a “dedicated public transportation area” located on the north side of resort.

The closest Metrobus service to the resort includes NH2 from King Street Metro Station on the Yellow Line and NH1 from Southern Avenue Metro Station on the Green Line.

Routes 35 and 35S of The Bus, operated by Prince George’s County Transit, also service the resort.

You also can access the area by boat, with the Potomac Riverboat Company providing shuttles between National Harbor and Alexandria, Virginia.

Road tips

For northbound travelers looking for the best route to avoid another potential traffic crush, take I-395 north past the Pentagon to I-295, or continue around the Inner Loop of the Beltway and head north on I-495 over the American Legion Bridge, said Jim Battagliese, WTOP’s Director of Traffic and Transit Operations.

For those coming from southbound I-95, Battagliese recommended taking the Outer Loop of the Beltway around the American Legion Bridge.

Visit WTOP’s traffic page for the latest updates, follow us on Twitter @WTOPtraffic, and listen to live traffic reports every 10 minutes on 103.5 FM or via our online stream.

WTOP’s Hanna Choi to this article. 

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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