Whether you’ve been living in Arlington VA for a long time or you’re just visiting for the weekend, it’s important to know all of the amazing things to do in the area. Arlington is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities on the east coast, making it a prime location for dining, shopping, and entertainment.
We want to make sure that you enjoy your time in our city as much as possible — which is why we put together a list of the top 9 things to do in Arlington VA!
#1 — Enjoy the heights of cuisine
Arlington is a paradise for foodies. All across the city, there are tons of amazing spots for dining and drinks for you to enjoy. Head to Clarendon to grab some tacos with an unbelievable view at Don Tito, or take a taste of Maryland at the Local Oyster in Ballston. Palette 22, in Shirlington, features a collection of worldly small plate dishes and one of the most unique, artistic atmospheres that you’ll find in the entire DC area. Wrap up the night by swinging over to Punch Bowl Social for arcade games, bowling, and the eponymous punch bowls — sharable vats of delicious libations.
#2 — Take the Mt. Vernon trail
Running 17 miles across Arlington, Alexandria VA, and Fairfax County, Virginia, the Mount Vernon Trail is one of the most beautiful recreational paths in the entire DMV. The trail stretches from the Rosslyn neighborhood of Arlington to Mount Vernon, the historical home of George Washington. On top of that, the trail sits along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the road stretching from Mount Vernon to the eastern edges of McLean, Virginia.
The Mt. Vernon trail is a shared-use path that is designed to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists, meaning that Virginians can enjoy the sights from the trail on foot or astride a bike.
#3 — Skate where the pros practice
During the 2017-2018 season, the Washington Capitals set the National Hockey League on fire with a passionate push into the playoffs and an outstanding Stanley Cup victory. Although the Capitals play their home games at Capital One Arena in Washington DC, the ice-bound superstars practice for their victories at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, a state-of-the-art, beautiful rink that lies in the Ballston neighborhood of Arlington VA. These practices are open to the public and cost nothing to attend, so make sure to check the schedule and swing by for a sneak peek of the Capitals’ skills.
When not being used by the Caps, MedStar also offers public skating, ice skating classes, and recreational hockey events. Due to its convenient location and easy access to the Orange Line of the DC Metro, MedStar Iceplex offers a great and unique way to spend an afternoon for those living in Arlington or any other area of the DMV.
#4 — Get a unique view of DC
The aptly named View of DC is a gorgeous observation deck that sits on top of the Central Place Tower in Rosslyn. The View of DC is one of the highest views inside the Beltway, sitting just shy of the Washington Monument as the tallest observation area with public access. This means that you can get an unobstructed view of DC’s iconic skyline from one of the most beautiful event spaces around.
For residents of Arlington county, entry to the observatory is completely free — you just have to bring a valid ID showing your residence. Then, you can bring your friends up with you, whether they are Arlingtonians or reside elsewhere in the DMV.
#5 — Take in a show
If you are entertained by unique theatrical experiences, then you’ll find no shortage of fun in Arlington. The Signature Theater, which you can find in the Shirlington neighborhood, is a Tony Award-winning company that represents a pinnacle of theatrical performance in the DC area. Though Signature specializes in producing musical theatre, they put on all manner of shows for your enjoyment. Plus, the theatre’s location is ideally situated among some of the area’s best shopping and dining, so you can make a whole evening out of it.
Another popular stage is Synetic Theater, located in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington. This production house, which focuses on avant garde theatre performances, sits in the underground city below the neighborhood where Amazon’s HQ2 project will be going up in the next few years.
If you prefer the cinema, there are no shortage of options for entertainment. One of our favorites is the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, a unique movie-going experience in Arlington. The Drafthouse has a full selection of brews and food so you can enjoy your cinematic experience even more than usual.
#6 — Work out in a unique way
Arlingtonians love fitness — in fact, the city is one of the healthiest places in the country. Although the NoVA community has plenty of traditional gyms and workout facilities, it is also home to a ton of unique fitness startups that will take your routine to a new level.
One of the iconic fitness options is Onelife Fitness, a unique gym in Ballston. Onelife is a complete fitness experience with a world-class cardio center, platforms for Olympic lifting, and even an indoor turf track to train with plyometric exercises. On top of this, Onelife has a robust set of classes each day, so you can jump into a brand new exercise routine no matter how much prior experience you have!
Another of Arlington’s hottest fitness centers is BASH Boxing, a revolutionary startup with locations in Ballston and Rosslyn. BASH brings the strength-building and fat-burning power of boxing to a safer, beginner-friendly environment — so you can meet your fitness goals while taking out some stress on the heavy bag! Like Onelife, BASH also has a full list of fitness classes and training programs, making it ideal for people of all levels of skill and experience.
#7 — Partake in world-class shopping
Arlington, like nearby Alexandria and Fairfax County, VA, is home to tons of great options for shopping. In Shirlington, you can find the aforementioned Village at Shirlington, which houses a total of 58 retail spaces including the Signature Theatre and Palette 22. This amazing shopping center opened in 1944, making it the oldest large-scale retail center in the DC suburbs — and one of the oldest in the country.
Along the Orange Line of the DC metro, you can find another full-service shopping experience at Ballston Quarter. Nearly as historic as the Village at Shirlington, Ballston Quarter first opened under the name Parkington Shopping Center in the early 1950s, though it was renovated and reopened just last year. With tons of options for dining and plenty of shopping to be had, Ballston Quarter is a cornerstone of the Arlington shopping scene.
#8 — Breathe in the great outdoors
Not everything to do in Arlington is relegated to the city itself — that would be neglecting the natural beauty of Northern Virginia! Within Arlington, there are a ton of wonderful green spaces to explore such as Rocky Run Park, the gorgeous wilderness of Theodore Roosevelt Island, and the ‘urban forest’ that is Hillside Park.
Stepping away from Arlington’s main thoroughfare, there are some amazing wilderness views at nearby nature centers. Make sure to check out Gulf Branch, Long Branch, and Potomac Overlook to get an unadulterated experience of Northern Virginia’s stunning wildlife and flora.
#9 — See the nation’s great memorials
One of the most convenient aspects of being in Arlington (or of living in Alexandria or other nearby cities, for that matter) is the close proximity to the most amazing sights of the DC area. Residents and visitors can easily head into the District to take in all that the National Mall has to offer — but there are plenty of memorials to visit in Arlington itself!
Pay your respects to the nation’s fallen service members at Arlington National Cemetery, visit the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial — which depicts the famous image of Marines triumphantly hoisting a flag over the island of Iwo Jima — or go to the beautiful Memorial for Women in America’s Military Services.
Arlington, like all the other areas of the DMV, bears a rich and memorable history — make sure to learn more at some of the nation’s greatest monuments.
No matter what you decide to do while living in Arlington, it’s important to make sure that you are living in the right home. At the Keri Shull Team, we specialize in helping people find and win their dream homes — in fact, we guarantee that we will find your dream home…and if you aren’t satisfied, we’ll buy it back from you!
If you want to learn more about how our team can help you buy or sell your home in Arlington, any of DC’s hottest neighborhoods, or anywhere else in the DMV, then contact the Keri Shull Team today! We have our local experts standing by to help you with all your real estate needs — click here to schedule a time to meet with us for a free, no-pressure consultation!