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Arlington VA Travel guide 2021 by a local

by grace ashi
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Are you looking to go on a road trip? Considering doing a tour of the United States? Arlington, Virginia is one city that you don’t leave off your travel bucket list. I’m going to cover everything you need to know about Arlington – from the best time of year to visit, through to where to stay and even where to eat. Arlington is the perfect spot to learn a little bit of American history.

About Arlington, VA

Arlington is the sixth-largest county in Virginia, with a population of 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 that had been owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter.

If you’re a history nerd, it’s a must-visit to pay your respects. Arlington has some of the most impressive monuments in the United States. The county should be top of your travel list for any US road trip. As well as being a centre 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.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Arlington, VA?

best time to visit arlington, va

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

The weather in Arlington changes throughout the year, although it’s fairly 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, which is one of the driest months in Arlington. You will want to mindful of the fact that it does snow in Arlington. If you’re after a touch of snow, visit around December time for some Christmas shopping.

You’ll want to decide what kind of weather works best for you and the activities you have planned. I think September would be the perfect all-round choice if you’re flexible with dates.

How To Get to Arlington, VA

If you’re thinking of visiting Arlington, you’re probably wondering how to get there. For anyone doing a multi-city trip, I would recommend going straight from Washington D.C. Arlington is one of the easiest places to get to on the east coast.

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

 If you can’t fly directly to Arlington, try Baltimore Washington Airport or the Washington Dulles International Airport. You can easily 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.

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

Once you get to Arlington, it’s easy to get around with public transport. 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 around by foot, there’s dozens of hotels around the Metro line.

Where to Stay

staying in Arlington

One of the best things about staying in Arlington is the ease of 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 city itself.

Depending on your budget, there’s a variety of accommodation opens at Arlington.

Hotels

DoubleTree by Hilton – Crystal City

If you’re flying into Arlington, this is 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 service to the airport and metro station. You’ll be able to enjoy having all of Crystal City’s offerings within walking distance, including their 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

For fitness pros that want an in-house gym, the Sheraton Pentagon is a great choice. 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 own 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 Resturant and Lounge, which offers cuisine that uses locally sourced ingredients. They offer a state-of-the-art fitness centre, complete with its own sauna and steam room. You have indoor access to the local metro station, which is 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 special dining options and room add-ons.

Airbnb

If you’re looking to save money, then staying at an Airbnb might be the best choice for you. 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 even a private room.

Where To Eat

where to eat arlington

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

For outdoor eating, visiting the Clarendon neighbourhood, 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 a taste of Ireland in Arlington? You can visit O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub. It’s thought of as a local bar and offers over 130 types of whiskeys. You don’t want to miss a happy hour or trivia night.

If you’re looking 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 neighbour restaurant that you can relax and watch a game. Jump on the metro and head up to Crystal City to visit this pub.

The Must-Visit Places

Visit Places Arlington

Arlington boosts two malls that you can visit to get a whistle stop tour of American stores. Add the Crystal City Shops and the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City to your itinerary. Crystal City Shops has over 75 stores, including a selection of restaurants if you want to grab something on the go.

If you’re looking to load up your suitcase, visit the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. They offer all the top department stores including Nordstrom and Macy’s. For fans of American brands, you can stop in at Coach, Kate Spade, and Stuart Weitzman. The Fashion Centre offers stores at every price point and is worth a visit during your trip.

Are you a fan of the outdoors? Arlington has a self-guided 23-mile cycling tour that has 12 stops along the way where you can 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 with the bank of the Potomac River, giving you perfect views of Arlington and Washington D.C.

For anyone interested in the inner-workings of government, you 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 that takes you on a 1.49 mile walk of the building. If you’re a fan of shows like NCIS and 24, then it should be top of your itinerary.

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 that was opened to victims of the 9/11 attacks. The memorial sits just outside the Pentagon and is easily accessible by the Metro. You can pay your respects by reading the names of the victims on Flight 77, as well as those who were inside the Pentagon.

No trip to Arlington is complete without a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery and Arlington House. The house was previously owned by Robert E. Lee before being turned into the grounds for the National Cemetery. Arlington House is also known as the Robert E. Lee Memorial in recognition of his role in promoting reunion after the Civil War. If you’re interested in the American Civil War, then it is a must-visit.

At the Arlington National Cemetery, you can pay tribute to the country’s heroes.  You can also watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. This is a ceremony that 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.

Arlington is the perfect add-on to any Washington D.C trip. It makes a great two- or three-day trip, especially if you want to take a long weekend away. There is something for everyone, from the history nerd through to the food connoisseur. If you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay city prices, then Arlington is a cheaper alternative. Arlington is easy to get to either through the airports or the Metro system, which links up with the Amtrak.

If you’re planning a road trip of the United States or just want a weekend away, Arlington is worth putting on your travel bucket list.

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