Arlington, Virginia Travel Guide by a local

by grace ashi
Arlington va travel guide

Arlington, Virginia, travel guide

Are you looking for a road trip or a tour of the East Coast and South of the United States? Arlington, Virginia, is one city you don’t leave off your travel bucket list. I will cover everything you need to know about Arlington – from the best time of year to visit, where to stay, and even where to eat. Arlington is the perfect spot to learn a little bit of American history.

Where is Arlington, VA? 

Arlington is the sixth-largest county in Virginia, with just under 237,000. It’s known for its rich history and is the home of The Pentagon. If you live outside of the United States, you’ll have probably heard of Arlington National Cemetery. It’s most famous for being the burial site of President John F. Kennedy. The National Cemetery began during the Civil War on the grounds of the estate owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter.

If you’re a history nerd, paying your respects is a must-visit. Arlington has some of the most impressive monuments in the United States. The county should be on your travel list for any US road trip. As well as being a center of history, Arlington has an active nightlife and an impressive variety of restaurants. It’s the perfect add-on to a trip to Washington, and you can cover most of the county with a weekend trip. Arlington sits just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, making it easily accessible from anywhere in the United States. Another great city is Alexandria, Virginia, just a few minutes from Arlington. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Arlington, VA?


best time to visit arlington, va


You are the only person who can determine the best time to visit. You’ll want to decide what is most important for your trip. Do you like the best weather or save a few dollars by going off-peak?

The weather in Arlington changes throughout the year, although it’s pretty pleasant all year round. The hottest months are naturally June, July, and August. If you want to avoid tourists, you can still enjoy warm weather between April and June. You can experience the Cherry Blossom season from April to May.

You can save by going off-peak in September, one of Arlington’s driest months. You will want to be mindful that it does snow in Arlington. If you’re after a touch of snow, visit around December for Christmas shopping.

You’ll want to decide what weather works best for you and your planned activities. September will be the perfect all-around choice if you’re flexible with dates.

How  To Get to Arlington, Va

Airports near Arlington, VA

If you’re considering visiting Arlington, you’re probably wondering how to get there. For anyone making a multi-city trip, I recommend going straight from Washington, D.C. Arlington is one of the most accessible places on the East Coast.

You can fly into the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Once at the airport, you can jump on the Metro rail, taking either the blue or yellow lines. If you opt to stay at a hotel, you can

 Try Baltimore Washington Airport or the Washington Dulles International Airport if you can’t fly directly to Arlington. You can quickly get into Arlington via public transport from either of these airports. From Dulles Airport, you can get the Silver Line Express Bus, which takes you to one of the main metro stations.

Train and Bus

You can travel to Arlington via Amtrak stations at Alexandria and Washington D.C if you plan a multi-city trip. It’s only 5 miles to Arlington from Union Station and 7 miles from Alexandria station. If you intend to travel via Coach, you can get dropped off near the Rosslyn Metro Station.

Once you get to Arlington, getting around with public transport is easy. Arlington has eleven Metro stations on four lines with connections to the Red Line, which links to Union Station. If you’re planning to travel by foot, dozens of hotels are around the Metro line.

Where to stay In Arlington, Va

staying in Arlington


One of the best things about staying in Arlington is the ease with which you can get to Washington, D.C. All you need to do is head across the Potomac River. Most of the hotels in Arlington are within a few miles of downtown Washington D.C. You can save a few dollars by choosing to stay in Arlington instead of the city itself. Depending on your budget, various accommodations are available in Arlington.

Best Hotels In Arlington

DoubleTree by Hilton – Crystal City

If you’re flying into Arlington, this hotel is a perfect choice. They offer a free shuttle to Reagan National Airport, as well as to the Fashion Centre Mall and nearby Metro station. For foodies, this hotel offers a revolving rooftop restaurant.  This hotel is half a mile away from The Pentagon. Want to bring your furry four-legged friend along? The DoubleTree by Hilton offers pet-friendly rooms.

Hampton Inn & Suites Reagan National Airport

Are you taking a red-eye flight to Arlington? The Hampton Inn has a hotel within a five-minute drive from Reagan National Airport, and it’s only a five-minute walk to Crystal City Metro Station. You can save on transport by taking the hotel’s free shuttle to the airport and metro station. You’ll be able to enjoy having all of Crystal City’s offerings within walking distance, including its excellent selection of restaurants.

Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport

Another great hotel in Crystal City is the Hyatt Regency. It’s just ten minutes from the Capitol and offers a complimentary shuttle service to the airport. It has a five-story atrium and offers rooms with a view of the Potomac River.  This hotel is the nearest you can get to Reagan National Airport. If you want to see Arlington from the sky, you can visit their rooftop event space for stunning views.

Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel

The Sheraton Pentagon is an excellent choice for fitness pros who want an in-house gym. They offer a relaxing indoor rooftop pool with panoramic views of Washington, DC, and Arlington. With this hotel, you’ll have the National Cemetery on your doorsteps and easy access to downtown Washington. This hotel offers its restaurant, rooftop lounge, and sports bar.

The Ritz Carlton Pentagon City

Do you want to treat yourself to a luxury hotel? The Ritz Carlton is one of the best places to stay in Arlington. You can dine at their Fyve Restaurant and Lounge, which offers cuisine that uses locally sourced ingredients. They provide a state-of-the-art fitness center with a sauna and steam room. You have indoor access to the local metro station, just two stops from Reagan National Airport and downtown Washington D.C. If you’re traveling with kids, you can use the Ritz Kids program to access unique dining options and room add-ons.


If you want to save money, staying at an Airbnb might be your best choice. For anyone planning a long-term trip, it’ll give you extra space as you rent out an entire apartment or easily share with friends. A quick visit to the site will give you an idea of different price points. You can book everything from an entire guest house to an apartment or private room.

Where To Eat

where to eat arlington


In Arlington, you can experience everything from live Irish music to rooftop dining and wine tasting. There’s something to work for everyone’s palette.   

For outdoor eating, visit the Clarendon neighborhood, which has rooftop bars, Mexican restaurants, and sports bars. Clarendon is an urban village within Arlington with its own craft brewery and continental cuisine. Clarendon is known as ‘Little Saigon’ as it served as a settlement for Vietnamese refugees coming to the US. You can still find Vietnamese restaurants in the area today.

Do you want to have a taste of Ireland in Arlington? You can visit O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub. It’s considered a local bar and offers over 130 types of whiskeys. You don’t want to miss a happy hour or trivia night.

If you want to treat yourself in Arlington, why not try a wine tasting? Virginia is famous for its wine. You can sample everything from European-style wine to Asian tapas.

Sports fans can never miss a game. Crystal City Sports Pub is open all year round and is a wholesome neighboring restaurant where you can relax and watch a game. Jump on the metro and head to Crystal City to visit this pub. Read the Arlington Restaurant article to learn more about the best Arlington restaurant. 

Best Things to Do in Arlington, VA

Visit Places Arlington


 Shop at Pentagon City

 Suppose you’re in Arlington and looking for the best shopping experience American stores offer. In that case, Crystal City Shops and Fashion Centre at Pentagon City should be on your itinerary. At Crystal City Shops, explore a variety of over 75 shops – including restaurants – while the Fashion Centre has department stores like Nordstrom & Macy’s as well designer brands such as Coach, Kate Spade & Stuart Weitzman. Both malls cater to shoppers with any budget, so leave some room empty in those suitcases!

Explore the outdoors

Are you a fan of the outdoors? Arlington has a self-guided 23-mile cycling tour with 12 stops to learn about the county’s history. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to undertake a 45-mile trail, check out the Washington & Old Dominion Trail. You can also cycle or hike the Mount Vernon Trail, which is 17 miles of a paved path from George Washington’s home of Mount Vernon through to Rosslyn. This trail runs parallel to the bank of the Potomac River, giving you perfect views of Arlington and Washington, D.C.

Visit the pentagon

Anyone interested in the inner workings of government can visit the Pentagon. The Pentagon Tour program welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually. During the tour, you’ll get a 60-minute presentation on a 1.49-mile walk of the building. It should be at the top of your itinerary if you’re a fan of shows like NCIS and 24.

National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

While Arlington is full of Civil War history, it is also full of contemporary history. You can visit the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, the first national memorial opened to victims of the 9/11 attacks. The monument is just outside the Pentagon and easily accessible by the Metro. You can pay your respects by reading the names of the victims on Flight 77 and those inside the Pentagon.

Visit Arlington Cemetery 

No trip to Arlington is complete without a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery and Arlington House.  It is a must-visit if you’re interested in the American Civil War. You can pay tribute to the country’s heroes at the Arlington National Cemetery.  You can also watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. This ceremony happens every hour, on the hour, between October 1st and March 31st. It happens every half hour during the summer months from April 1st through to October 30th.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is located in Triangle, Virginia, and is dedicated to preserving the history of the United States Marine Corps. The museum features a variety of exhibits that chronicle the Marines’ role in American history, from the Revolutionary War to the present day. The museum also has a memorial garden that pays tribute to the Marines who have lost their lives in service to their country.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

George Washington’s Mount Vernon is a historic plantation in Mount Vernon, Virginia. The plantation was home to George Washington for over 40 years and is operated as a museum. Visitors to Mount Vernon can tour the mansion, outbuildings, gardens, and grounds and learn about 18th-century plantation life.

Visit Arlington’s Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre is a historic theatre located in Washington, DC, where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 by John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance of Our American Cousin. Today, Ford’s Theatre is a museum where visitors can learn about Lincoln’s life and legacy and see live performances of plays and musicals.

Trips from Arlington to Washington, DC

Arlington is the perfect add-on to any Washington, D.C. trip. It makes a lavish two- or three-day trip, especially if you want to take a long weekend away. There is something for everyone, from history nerds to food connoisseurs. Arlington is a cheaper alternative if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay city prices. Arlington is easy to get to through the airports or the Metro system, which links with Amtrak. Arlington is worth putting on your travel bucket list if you’re planning a road trip to the United States or want a weekend away.



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